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Brawl for a cause

Brawl for a cause

Dodgeball tournament combines athletics, fundraising

April 11th, 2019 by Aaron Brand in Features

Many of us played some variation on dodgeball during our younger years, including gym class, taking aim at opponents and scurrying away from the rubber ball beamed our way.

Depending on a player's skill level, it could be a fun way to exercise and unleash some energy or a rough outing.

Well, a Greater Texarkana Young Professionals event April 27 takes a cue from dodgeball of yore with DodgeBrawl Texarkana 2019, a tournament that's part athletic event fun and part fundraiser for team-chosen charities.

From 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., teams ranging from six to 10 players will compete at 5aside Fitness in a double-elimination, bracket-style tournament. The top three teams will win money for their chosen charity: $1,000 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place.

Caleb Pittman of GTYP says the idea they've promoted is that DodgeBrawl can be a team-building exercise for co-workers. "It's like a company picnic or softball day or family kind of thing," he said. "That's been really well received."

If co-workers want to get together and hang out, how about a day of dodgeball?

Pittman said six people from a team can be on the field at once with up to four on the bench. The entry fee brings admission, food and more. Each team is really playing for something greater than themselves, namely a charity.

"You're playing on behalf of whatever your favorite charity is," Pittman said.

The venue's indoor soccer field has two courts, so two matches will be played at the same time. "You're guaranteed three games, so a warm up game and you're guaranteed at least two games during the tournament. Of course if you're good and you keep moving up you'll get a lot more games than that," Pittman said.

A sponsor's lounge will be set up with booths, seating and refreshments. Or folks can hang out and watch the matches court-side. A lemonade stand vendor will attend, Pittman said. Each "dodgebrawler" will receive a swag bag, T-shirt and a food truck meal ticket. Players must be 18 or older.

Pittman cautions that this isn't gladiator-style dodgeball. It's a fun style of dodgeball, even if you're trying to hit opponents. They use foam balls that tend to turn "every which way" when thrown, he said. Games may only last four or five minutes.

"Unless you hurt yourself, it would be kind of hard to get hurt out there, at least not by a dodgeball. Just watch out for your own feet and you'll be fine," Pittman said.

The indoor soccer field at 5aside is used for indoor soccer tournaments and youth athletic training, Pittman said, adding, "We're hoping that this dodgeball tournament promotes more dodgeball going on up there."

After money is awarded to charities, remaining proceeds will be dedicated to the GTYP's scholarship program, which awards scholarships to high school seniors, typically two per year.

GTYP's aim, according to its Facebook page, is "to promote the retention, education, and growth of diverse young professionals in the Texarkana region through professional and social immersion."

(Tickets: $35 per person. Registration and sponsorship forms are available at the Texarkana Chamber of Commerce, Greater Texarkana Young Professionals page on Facebook or by request from calebmudford@mtgengineers.com. There is also a DodgeBrawl Texarkana 2019 event page on Facebook.)

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