Kenai residents played dodgeball in two separate fundraising dodgeball tournaments last Saturday: the Young Life Christian youth group in the gymnasium of the Kenai Middle School and the Kenai Young Professionals at Kenai High School.
The Young Life Tournament was the latest in a six-year run of annual dodgeball tournaments the group has held to raise money to send its members to a summer camp in Oregon. By contrast, the Kenai Young Professionals — a recently-formed business networking group organized by the Kenai Chamber of Commerce — held its first dodgeball tournament, raising funds for a similar business group, Future Professionals, aimed at Kenai Central High School juniors and seniors.
“We thought it would be fun,” said Pamela Parker, the Kenai Chamber’s program manager and dodgeball tournament organizer. “A social event and a good fundraiser. I think people miss playing dodgeball, because you don’t get to play it much as an adult. Just bringing back that childhood game, we thought it would be a fun experience for everyone.”
Parker said some players in the Young Professionals tournament were members of the group, as well as “some folks who were a little outside the ‘young professionals’ age-range — experienced professionals, we’d call them.”
The winning team was one such group: a team from Soldotna’s Magnum Motors used car dealership. At ages between 37 and late 40’s, they were the oldest players in the tournament. They won hockey tickets, gift cards and a trophy made and donated by the Metal Magic welding company, which they will have to defend in next year’s tournament.
The Young Life competitors were a similar mix. Some teams had come from churches, while others were simply people who had gotten together to play. Several teams mixed children and adults. Some had more dodgeball experience than others.
“I played dodgeball once in gym class, but other than that, that’s it,” said Nate Olena of Abusement Park, a dodgeball team that played in a uniform of shorts and sleeveless plaid shirts.
Oleana’s teammates, however, pointed out that all of them had played high school baseball.
“We have the highest velocity, per capita, but hit percentage is definitely mediocre,” said Abusement park member Jordan Brown. “But we have the highest amount of pride. It’s borderline cocky and confident… We’re those guys that are going to wear letterman jackets until we’re 45.”