View Full Version : Marines have a ball throwing them

02-23-06, 08:11 AM
Marines have a ball throwing them
February 23,2006

Patches O’Hoolihan, the drunk, wheelchair-bound coach in the hit 2004 movie, “Dodgeball,” incessantly preached to his team of miscreants the Five D’s of dodgeball: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge. Master the Five D’s, and no one can deny dodgeball supremacy.

If Patches had been real, and if he had found himself at Camp Lejeune Wednesday night, he would have been proud.

Because the practitioners of the Five D’s were no Vince Vaughn-led cabal of losers. Instead, they were more than 100 battle-hardened Marines fighting it out for one thing, and one thing only: ultimate dodgeball glory.

Sponsored by the Single Marine Program and held at the French Creek Recreation Center, the base’s first dodgeball tournament pitted 18 teams against each other in a double-elimination competition.

The program, which was established to improve the quality of life for single Marines, is run by and for the single Marines. They pick the kinds of events they want to participate in, said coordinator Susan Goodrich.

And what did they want?

“Dodgeball, dodgeball, dodgeball,” Goodrich said. “Dodgeball was one of the first things to come our way. We’re giving them something they have asked for, something so they can have fun and at the same time compete.”

The frenzy to sign up was amazing, said Sgt. Juan Vargas, the SMP president. They were going to close entry at 20 teams with a deadline of Feb. 15. But the spots were filled before Groundhog Day.

“It’s getting really, really big,” he said. “It’s already really big over at Camp Pendleton (Calif.).”

Made infamous by gym-class bullies who whipped rubber balls at the smaller kids with ruthless efficiency, dodgeball involves two teams on opposite sides of a gym striving to eliminate their opponents by striking them with balls or catching their opponents’ throws.

A buzz vibrated through the gymnasium before the competition began. The first match, pitting “The Cleveland Steamers” versus “Dodge This,” got under way before a roaring crowd and flashing cameras. Balls flew everywhere, bouncing off legs and backs. The referees — young ladies in tight black uniforms — kept the contest under control with balanced officiating and physical allure.

“I’m trying to watch the game,” said one Marine in the crowd. “But the refs are distracting me.”

During the matches, some teams huddled in little groups, plotting strategy. Others loosened their throwing arms. All were 100 percent positive of total victory.

Especially team “Don Vito,” which became emboldened by its win over “Spicy Meatballs” in the opening round.

The team, named for the fat uncle in the MTV show “Viva La Bam,” was made up of seven Marines from Alpha Battery, 1st Battalion, 10th Marines. They modeled their uniforms — a white undershirt with hastily scribbled marker — for a picture after their first win.

“This is for Don Vito,” said Lance Cpl. Evan McDonough. “He’s awesome.”

The Marines said they appreciated the event, which allowed them to break up the work week with some stress relief and fun.

“Marines need entertainment,” said Cpl. Joshua Brown, 22, from Ontario, Canada. “We went to the combat zone. We need to let go of some steam. We’re Marines, but we need to play like everyone.”