I’ve hated sports for as long as I can remember — until I watched my first Lister dodgeball game. There’s something particularly enticing about 18+ year olds throwing balls at each other as hard as they can. If that sounds too much like the dodgeball of elementary school on steroids, it’s important to acknowledge that there is sophisticated strategy in the way Listerites play.
The teams alternate between offence (taking the line) and defence (dodging and shagging) in a sort of mystical and perfectly timed dance until all hell breaks loose in the last minute. The games are nonstop action with no breaks, so Lister dodgeball isn’t brain-explodingly boring like other sports. Teams play five games, a combination of classic, doctor, double doctor, and sometimes assassins, each with their own rules. The noise level in the Tuckey gymnasium is always a dull roar of remixed pop songs punctuated by screams to “throw together!” and “stay alive!” Sure, sometimes you risk your life when you watch a game with some really good arms, but a ball to the face is always amusing when it’s not your face.
What I really love about dodgeball and the effect that it has on Lister culture is the team building, respect, and sportsmanship in the league. You can complain about the people on your team but in the end they’re the ones shagging you that ball so you can make a heroic throw, or letting you use their body to block an onslaught of balls, and no matter who your teammates are, they’re cheering you on from the sidelines.
In dodgeball the ref’s rule is law, and everyone knows and respects it. When the ref says you’re out there’s no talking back. Even when playing without a ref, Listerites have a respect for the game and its rules that makes me proud to watch them play. And in the end, win or lose, spirits are always high enough for a post game Booster Juice.
Finally there’s one thing that sets dodgeball apart and makes it a superior viewing experience: the outfits. Picture shirts in colours as fun as “sandy vagina” or “mouldy bread” emblazoned with nicknames that keep you guessing. If that fails to turn you on one can always admire the sexy knee high socks in an array of colours. It’s no wonder dodgeball crushes can make or break the reputation of a team.
Though dodgeball isn’t amazing enough to actually make me do physical activity, it at least brings me to the Tuckey to watch a game or two, and I can’t overemphasize what a feat that is. I can understand why people stay in Lister for their whole degrees, just to experience dodgeball culture again and again.