By Najib Aminy
With a number of balls being thrown at one’s face, dodgeball is a recreational sport that would even make the gayest person become nervous. Made popular by the 2004 film, Dodgeball A True Underdog Story, there have been thousands of leagues and organizations dedicated to hoisting balls and hurling them at the bodies of their opponents. Since its conception around 1892, the simple game has enthused the proud, helped the brave, and point out the weak, just as it continues to do so here at Stony Brook.
For juniors Peter Langone from Floral Park, NY and Paul Interval from Hudson Valley, NY, the sanctuary from their stressful college life is in Pritchard Gym, where six balls are laid in the middle of the court separating their team from their adversary. Prior to the commencement of the game, both Interval’s team and their adversary appeared jittery, loosening out their bodies, ready for the battle that would set the mood of their night. Utter silence surrounded the gym just before the whistle was to be blown, both teams frozen, anticipating the call of the referee, “Dodgeball.” Soon after, the balls were soon flying.
The rules of the game allow for six players to be on a team with the priority to get the other team out by hitting them with a dodgeball or knocking off the ball on the cone. With that, come the additional rules of violations, such as throwing one’s ball to deflect another or crossing the “equatorial” line that divides the two teams. As the game continued, it appeared both Langone and Interval’s team, called Pigs on a Plane after a running joke in Interval’s floor, were to wipe out the other team winning the first three matches with the game being best out of seven. But as fate would have it, Pigs on a Plane would be short of fuel as they were swept the next four games, losing the series 4-3.
Interval’s expression of disbelief was marred by Langone’s disappointment marked the end of their Cinderella season. Regardless, both Langone and Interval said they played for the thrill and fun of the game. Interval, who has been playing since his freshman year, got into dodgeball as something that he could do together with his hall mates. Langone joined the dodgeball circuit after a call by Interval and as Langone said, quickly fell in love with the game. Langone continued saying, “I was extremely committed, it was crazy and hyper, we all had a good time.”
Just like any other sport, there was the sizing up of competition involved as well as pre-game preparation. “I would go for the guy that I thought would be their best player on the team,” said Interval. Langone was on the opposite end as he was smaller then the average player. “I think a lot of kids underestimated me, I am not a big kid, but I think it was a favor on my part.” In terms of preparation, it all came down to stretching and loosening up, which was evident in the ten minutes leading up to the game.
When asked if they could dodge a wrench, both Interval and Langone responded saying it would depend on how close, but said they never have dodged a wrench. In terms of traffic, Langone has an experience of jay-walking in the city as well as Interval who had to watch for cars going by on a road, which they say did not really help their game in dodge ball.
As the balls laid there motionless, it occurred that regardless of the outcome, it was the enjoyment that Langone and Interval liked the most: the balls of enjoyment.