Duck! Dunster Nabs Dodgeball Tourney

Unnamed photo
Andrea V Haas

Students square off in the second-annual dodgeball tournament. Dunster House emerged victorious for the second year in a row.

“1, 2, 3, DODGEBALL!”

And with that phrase, the Malkin Athletic Center was transformed into a rowdy elementary school gym, ready to play host to the second-ever Harvard Dodgeball Tournament.

Light-hearted invective and lewd witticisms flew across the basketball court with as much charge as the seven-inch rubber-covered foam Nerf balls. Tempers rose and egos clashed—but for the second year in a row, athletic prowess and strategy won the day for Dunster House.

The tournament, well on its way to becoming a beloved Harvard tradition, offered the chance for each upperclass House, as well as University Hall, to form teams and duke it out for the title of Dodgeball champion.

The tournament made its debut last December as a joint effort between the Undergraduate Council, the Dean’s office, Harvard Christian Impact’s Athletes in Action, and the Intramurals Program.

Dane J. Skillrud ’06, a Dunster resident and member of the winning team, described their overtime victory over Winthrop as “absolutely fantastic.” He attributes the win to having “no drop off” from last year’s powerhouse team and the confidence that comes with being the reigning champs.

But the competitive air in the gym was offset by the constant sideline commentary of the tournament’s announcers, John P. Blickstead ’06 and Trey Kollmer ’07.

The two hurled more insults than game announcements, focusing in particular on competitors’ sex lives and physical appearances.

But Kevin J. Wecht ’07 of Cabot House said the game was so “intense,” the comments were not distracting. “Your mind goes numb, your eyes blank out, and you are only in the moment,” he said.

Early in the tournament, a team of College administrators squared off against Kirkland House residents. Most deans, sporting button-up shirts, ties, and sneakers, were quickly picked off by the Kirkland squadron.

Assistant Dean of the College Paul J. McLoughlin II, the last person standing for his team, admitted that being alone on the court was “a little scary.”

His fearful situation didn’t last long, as he was quickly bombarded with balls from the opposing team.

Special Assistant to the Dean for Social Programming Zachary A. Corker ’04—who found himself the butt of most of Kollmer and Blickstead’s tomfoolery—said after the deans’ loss that “an Ad Board is not out of the question” when it comes to teams that are victorious over the Deans.

Corker also dubbed Kirkland’s success a “pity win.”

Hundreds of students turned out for the event, which got particularly heated toward the end.

Charles “Chip” W. Schellhorn ’06, also of Cabot House, said that he and his friends participated in the tournament for the “love for the game, and love for each other.”

Despite the wide publicity on House lists, the teams were very male-dominated. The official rules require at least four females to compete for each team, leaving several teams scrapping to find female players at the last minute. Jaqueline M. Rooney ’07 was one of just four women on her Lowell team.

As a first time intramural player, Rooney said she was “glad to participate,” although she noted that the gender disparity and testosterone-charged atmosphere put the female participants in a decidedly back-court role.

The dodgeballers also got creative with costuming—while many opted for House shirts and athletic shorts, some donned spandex unitards and war paint.

Allegations of questionable calls resulted mostly in extensions of game time, or “restarts,” and errant students were quickly corrected by Kollmer and Blickstead’s harsh rejoinders over the microphone.

After all, what would an outlet for the Harvard competitive spirit be without due complaints of injustice and cheating, to the tune of Europe’s “The Final Countdown”?