Matt Creamer, in the foreground, and Shayne Solbert, who both played with the team representing the Vancouver Dodgeball League, during the provincial dodgeball championships and national try outs at Elgin Park Secondary on Saturday, Jan. 26. (Photo: Lauren Collins)

Surrey hosts dodgeball provincials, national tryouts

Team representing Vancouver Dodgeball League includes players from Surrey

A team representing the Vancouver Dodgeball League got to learn “on the fly” during Dodgeball BC’s provincial championships and the national tryouts Saturday (Jan. 26).

Dodgeball BC hosted the provincial championships and the national tryouts at Elgin Park Secondary on Saturday (Jan. 26). Of the teams that competed, one team as a whole would get to move on to the nationals in Prince Edward Island this spring, while another team made up people hand picked by members of Dodgeball BC would create an alternate team for nationals.

The Vancouver Dodgeball League, which includes players from Surrey, will be moving on to nationals after winning in the provincial championship finals, according to Dodgeball BC.

Matt Creamer, a Cloverdale resident who was playing with VDL, said the Vancouver/Surrey leagues and Dodgeball BC play a slightly different game. One of the difference is the size of the ball, Dodgeball BC and other leagues across the country, Creamer said, play with a 8.5-inch ball, while the Vancouver-area leagues play with a seven-inch ball.

“We have a completely different mentality where when you pick up a ball in those leagues, you have 10 seconds to throw as an individual,” said Creamer, adding that in the Dodgeball BC games, the team as a whole has 10 seconds to throw a ball.

“Anyone on the team can throw a ball and the 10 seconds starts over, but in our league, the refs count each player individually.”

And with that, Creamer said, teamwork is something they were able to take advantage of during Saturday’s games.

“You see a lot of the teams here, they’ll huddle together and they’ll talk about who’s going to throw. We don’t do that in our leagues at all, so we’re trying to learn that on the fly. That’s pretty much our biggest hurdle,” Creamer said.

Because of the differences in the game, he said, the games in the provincials and tryouts seemed more “slow and methodical.”

“We’re kind of like this weird oddball group that plays a really high-paced version of dodgeball, like a lot of people find it very hectic.”

Creamer said this was the first time the two leagues were “intermingling.”

Creamer and the VDL were one of four full teams participating in the provincial championship and national tryouts, said Torry Slater, the head of selections for Dodgeball BC. The games were played at Elgin Park Secondary.

“The winner of today — of the four teams — gets to go and then of the three ‘losing teams,’ we would then get to pick individuals from any of those losing teams and give them the option to join our individuals team.”

The winner and the individual team then get to travel to Prince Edward Island in April for the nationals for a shot at Team Canada.

Slater said he believes it was in the mid-2000s that dodgeball “really started to ramp up here in Canada.”

“We in B.C. have more just taken on the provincial style in the last two years here, and partaking in the WDBF (World Dodgeball Federation) style of dodgeball.”

Slater said Dodgeball BC, which is based on Vancouver Island, decided to hosts the championship and tryouts in Surrey because of all the players in the Vancouver area. He said Dodgeball BC wanted to open it up to other areas that may not be able to take the ferry over to play.

Slater said the style game played by Dodgeball BC has a bit more structure than what people might remember from playing in school.

“In school, quite frequently, it was used with the rubber balls back in the day that really hurt when you got hit. We use a foam ball, so a lot less painful when you get hit. However, the velocity of the throws is very similar,” he said.

“Besides that, as for the movie goes, it honestly isn’t too far off in the grand theme of what dodgeball is. They’ve just obviously put a little bit of a twist on things and tried to, obviously, make it a bit comedic.”

Asked how dodgeball leagues feel about the movie, Slater said, “It’s not that we don’t like it, but it’s definitely something that we want to take it a little more seriously.”

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