By Thomas Garcia
QCS Senior Writer
Duck, jump and sidestep.
Whichever way will work. Just as long as you dodge.
That was the mindset of the members of six teams of local residents engaging in the time-honored sport of dodgeball.
The teams participated in Mesalands Community College’s third annual Community Dodgeball Tournament Thursday at the Tucumcari Elementary School gym. The six teams, each composed of six or more players, competed in six rounds of random draw competition.
“You want to be loose when you are out there on the court,” said Isabel Herrera, a member of the Balls and Dolls team, as she stretched with her teammates before the first game. “It’s important to stretch before you play. You don’t want to be stiff as a board out there.”
Herrera said she did not want to take the chance of pulling something while out on the court. She said the only thing worse than being a target in dodgeball is being a stationary target.
“This is going to be so much fun, I have not played dodgeball since elementary school,” said Anastacia Moralez, a member of Balls and Dolls.
Moralez said she was nervous about playing this game from her childhood, recalling that being hit by the ball not only meant you were out, it was also accompanied by varying degrees of pain. She said she would just have to remember to keep moving and when throwing the ball, aim low, “they can’t catch it if you hit their feet.”
The rules: Players line up on the baseline, run to half-court, pick up the balls and try to eliminate their opponents by striking them with the ball or catching their throws.
Refereeing the game was Tim Abbott, Mesalands rodeo coach, and Staci Stanbrough, Mesalands assistant rodeo coach.
The team with the most wins would be declared the 2014 dodgeball champion and each member would receive a medal and T-shirt as their reward.
“We had a great turnout tonight, it is good to see so many students and residents participate in our local event,” said Aaron Kennedy, Mesalands’ vice president of student affairs.
There was no shortage of excitement once the tournament began. The players scrambled for loose balls all while trying to keep from being eliminated. Many of the dodges on display were impressive; some even resembled the rhythmic movements of hurdle jumpers and bullfighters, as competitors narrowly avoided the sting of the dodgeball.
“We did not have any form of preparation coming into this tournament, we just had the simple idea of try not to get hit,” said Anthony Edgerton, Mesalands student.
Edgerton said trying not to get hit sounds good when you are on the sidelines, but when you are on the court exercising, it’s easier said than done.
“You’re not just not just trying to avoid getting hit,” he said, “you are also trying to catch the ball to bring your teammate back in or throw the ball for the out and the win.”
However, like many sports, dodgeball has some rules that make for an interesting game. In this particular tournament, a player also stood a chance of being eliminated if a throw struck someone above the shoulders or if a deflected ball that had not yet touched the ground hit them.
“Its best to be eliminated by a good solid throw,” said Michael Fazekas, a member of the Shockers. “You don’t want to be counted out because of a glancing or ricocheting ball.”
The Shockers would go on to win the tournament, and team captain Adrian Jones attributed the win to teamwork.
Jones said everyone was in at the right time. The team had the right people on the court when facing off against the different teams. He said he is happy with how the team played and looks forward to next year’s tournament and to Mesalands’ upcoming 3-on-3-basketball tournament.