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    Dodgeball makes a comeback among Philly's young adults

    By: Zach Falk for WHYY Online

    Just a reminder, social networking still takes place outside the computer screen. Young adults looking to shake loose the weekday stiffness acquired in their cubicles often turn to the recreational sports leagues at their disposal year-round in Philadelphia. As it happens, underdog, gym-class throwbacks like kickball and dodgeball have experienced a resurgence in this world of co-ed competition, currently offered alongside the likes of basketball, football and soccer.

    By: Zach Falk
    for WHYY Online

    zfalk@whyy.org

    Just a reminder, social networking still takes place outside the computer screen. Young adults looking to shake loose the weekday stiffness acquired in their cubicles often turn to the recreational sports leagues at their disposal year-round in Philadelphia. As it happens, underdog, gym-class throwbacks like kickball and dodgeball have experienced a resurgence in this world of co-ed competition, currently offered alongside the likes of basketball, football and soccer.

    Dodgeball at rest
    Dodgeball at rest. Photo by Flickr user thaiqn. Creative Commons License.

    Philadelphia Sport and Social Club and Manayunk Sport and Social are local administrators of the post-collegiate, organized sport concept that has taken off in cities nationwide.  Their leagues provide a place for twentysomethings to satisfy urges that Facebook just can’t provide for: exercising, competing, and interacting face-to-face with people their own age.  Dodgeball provides one additional outlet that many participants say they can’t find anywhere else, a place to take out their aggression by hurling a ball at high speed at their peers.

    Like all pastimes that have been around for decades, dodgeball has seen its share of controversy. The glorification of aggression and bullying of the weaker tykes are elements that led to the sport’s disappearance from many school gyms over the years.

    In 2004, the Ben Stiller/Vince Vaughn Hollywood movie took “great strides-and much screen time-to mock the game’s obscurity and lack of logic” as noted by its review in Philadelphia Weekly. But in a twist as funny as an ill-placed shot to sensitive parts of the anatomy, the film helped popularize the game among adults, who are once again flinging those familiar balls around school gyms. Now grown ups, both skinny nerds and jocks alike, have together revived the game that was perhaps meant for them all along.

    Take a listen to some of the action of the game and stories of today’s Philadelphia dodgeball scene as told by its stars.  Click on the play button below:

    [audio: reports20090323dodgeball.mp3]

    You can also download this piece for your iPod or .mp3 player by right clicking on this link (CTRL Click for Mac users) and choosing “Save Link As.”

    Additional Info:
    Philadelphia Sport and Social Club is wrapping up their winter season of dodgeball but stay tuned to the dodgeball page on their website for the spring season.  You can also find information about kickball and other sports.

    Dodgeball Season for Manayunk Sport and Social gets under way on April 28.  Deadline to register for the season is April 12.  More information at their website.

    More media:
    Dodgeball has a bit of an “underground” history in Philadelphia with pick-up games having long been a fixture in certain neighborhoods. This Youtube video from 2004 provides highlights from one such game that was a regular occurrence in South Philadelphia:

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EMcQnW0XFic[/youtube]
    Note: Video by Henry Jose and located at Youtube channel goosegoose. Not made by WHYY, used under Creative Commons.

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