This past weekend, I found myself exhibiting a strange reaction. For the first time in a long time, I was genuinely excited to be spending a Saturday night indoors. Why, you ask? Because this Saturday night marked my first event with Pass it Along, and from what I had heard during the week leading up to the event, this year was on track to be an outstanding showing. Saturday, January 19th was the annual Pass it Along Dodgeball Fundraiser at the Sparta Fieldhouse.
When I got to the Fieldhouse in the late afternoon, there was already a strong presence of PIA student members and program associates buzzing around, setting up at the soon-to-be registration tables, snack stand, and publicity booths. Then the game referees started trickling in, in their striped shirts that belied their identities as the makers—or breakers—of teams’ spirits for the evening. Things were getting serious.
Pretty soon, I found myself at the registration table. As a newcomer to Pass it Along (my first day was on Monday), I loved that the group trusted me enough to throw me into the center of the action…well, the center of action for the moment, at least. The next hour passed in the blink of an eye as excited teams finished filling out waiver forms, made last-minute additions to their rosters, and received their raffle tickets for the door prizes donated by some very generous local organizations.
Thankfully, we made it through all of the approximately 300 registrants without a hitch, and by 6 pm, the tournament was ready to get underway. The center of the action was now squarely placed upon the three dodgeball courts, and I was relieved that the spotlight was off of my limited abilities as a registrar and on to the teams and players, especially since lots of spectators and fans had showed up during the registration hour, and they were clearly eager for some action.
During the hours that followed, hopes were elevated, just to be dashed by the next round; calls of different degrees of merit were levied; and players ducked, dodged, and dove to varying degrees of glory. For me, it was just great to see everyone who participated come out to support a great cause and have a great time while they were at it. For others, like the Prestige Worldwide crew, it was more serious. Through the concerted efforts of their well-orchestrated team, the crowd looked on as they took on the bracket, team by team, eventually claiming the title of 2013 Pass it Along Dodgeball Champions. Also notable were the Average Joe’s, whose rip-off of the blockbuster film seemed to give them an edge on the court for “Most Spirited,” while the Sitting Ducks’ catchy “Quack” motto and robust fan base won them “Crowd Favorite” and “Best Uniform” categories. And, thanks to the bracketeering prowess of the illustrious Miss Kathy and the expert emceeing of PIA board member Tim, the continuous bouts of dodgeballing ran smoothly, and no one in attendance missed even a moment of the high-stakes action.
Special thanks to event sponsors and in-kind donors: Orthopedic Institute of NJ, Sparta Athletic, The Fieldhouse, Velocity Sports Performance, Krogh’s Restaurant & Brew Pub, Stryker Airsoft, Mount Freedom Printing, Stop & Shop, Regatta Girl, Sparta Classic Diner, Villa Capri and Rita’s. Photos to soon follow
-Written by Maren Morsch, AmeriCorps Program Associate.