At UVU’s recent Intramural Dodgeball Tournament, winning the match almost appeared to be a secondary motive for the team dubbed the Hood Rats. These brobdingnagian, burly men were intent on inflicting rubber induced injuries in addition to merely prevailing over their foe.
They were dressed head to toe in trendy fashions circa 1984, goofy fake facial hair and David Bowie mullets. Most notable was the gentleman who donned a bright blue luchador mask accompanied with neoprene skin tight metallic-blue pants, making it debatable whether or not he had them spray painted on before the match. A member of the opposing team, the Wet Noodles, had this to say concerning the Rats.
“We’ve played these guys before and really they aren’t that good,” Steen Hatch said prior to the match. “They dress and act pretty crazy but we’ve beat them a few times before this.”
In this statement, Hatch echoed the sentiment of his team, who were decidedly all business. They were in stark contrast in appearance from the team slated to battle across the court from them. Rather than being physically imposing, these average Joe’s spent 30 minutes prior to the match doing drills stressing agility and finesse. The Wet Noodles were as subdued as the Rats were flamboyant; they showed up with their white t-shirts, gym shorts and skills in winning dodgeball.
“We have a set of balls and we do drills the night before,” Hatch said. “We practice a lot of three versus one situations and how to dodge or catch effectively.”
After a lengthy rules discussion, the match began and balls began flying around the room at striking velocities and physical appearances took a backseat to the onslaught of rubber spheres. Players from the Wet Noodles hurdled, dodged and avoided physics-defying throws from the Rats, who aimed to dismember and intimidate. The Rats were boisterous and celebrated every Noodle who hit the floor; every player out was accompanied by a roar of jubilance and the occasional cartwheel.
The fact that a mere journalist was the only eyes watching other than a player didn’t seem to affect the players on either side, who were putting on a spectacle of sporting madness. It was wit against pure force. The match was hard fought and closely contested, coming down to the ninth and final match of a best of 9 series. With all of the graceful jukes and artful dodges, the championship was won fittingly when a Rat player mistakenly stepped over the line, granting the Wet Noodles as victors.
“It feels pretty good to win,” Hatch said. “But it’s back to practice for us. We are never satisfied.”
By Travis Leavitt