A growing tradition takes flight in Breckenridge | SummitDaily.com

A growing tradition takes flight in Breckenridge

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

BRECKENRIDGE – After just two years in existence, the Breckenridge Rec Center’s St. Patty’s Adult Dodgeball Tournament is already looking like an established tradition. Nearly 100 people filled 11 teams at Thursday’s second annual tournament. The large number of participants in this relatively new event demonstrates Summit County’s ripeness for structured competition. It seems like every sport has its place in these parts and there is no dearth of able athletes to lock horns with one another. From the gridiron to the gym to the snowy rugby pitch, rec league participation is booming.Some locals can’t get enough.”I think these (dodgeball tournaments) could fly once a month,” spectator Noah Applebaum said. “Everyone’s really into it.”

Applebaum didn’t reside on the court’s sidelines by choice. Much to his chagrin, the last-minute team that Applebaum assembled was denied entrance into the tournament because it was full.The St. Patty’s tournament field was a diverse mixture of new and old teams. Team International, the tournament’s runner-up to Five D’s, was a spontaneous concoction of mostly Breckenridge Ski and Ride School instructors. Five members of TI hailed from overseas, hence the name.”Tonight was the first time I ever played,” said Michael Tully of Australia, who played for TI. “I’ve seen it in the movie more than anywhere else.”Thursday’s championship game proved to be an intriguing matchup. Like TI, Five D’s was largely comprised of Breck instructors, thus obvious bragging rights were staked on the best-two-out-of-three-game showdown.”Having two ski school teams (in the finals) makes it more intense,” said Applebaum, who is a Breck instructor himself. “All the locker room banter tomorrow will be about the dodgeball tournament.”Team Rado was on the opposite end of the experience spectrum compared to TI. After winning the 2005 tournament, Rado’s entire six-person nucleus returned to defend their title (they went by Dirty’s last year).”Everybody returned plus we added one girl,” Rado’s Adam Pino said. “It was just so much fun last year.”

This year’s tournament format was changed to require at least two females per team. “We may cut it back to one next year,” tournament director Stacey Todd said. “Some of these teams had a hard time finding girls to join them. They were recruiting them from the gym just before we started.”By requiring two gals per team, Todd conformed to official dodgeball rules as dictated by the National Amateur Dodgeball Association (NADA). Each of the tournament’s participants received a two-page excerpt from NADA’s rule book. Members of the Five D’s squad were rewarded with a plaque and free drinks at Burke and Riley’s Irish Pub in Breck.Perhaps one reason dodgeball has found a niche in Breck is that it draws all walks of life. The sport seems to make for an interesting blend of elementary school reminiscence and unbridled adult competition.”It’s fun to have childhood stuff as well as competition,” Pino said.

The St. Patty’s tournament teams took various approaches to strategy. Some squads came out with a game plan, while others opted to leave tactics in the dust and just play randomly.Breck dodgeball regular Eric Ebarb is one competitor who favors a game plan.”You always have to aim low; if you aim high the other team is gonna catch the ball,” Ebarb said. “You don’t necessarily have to wing it, just try to get ’em when they’re not looking. If you do have a winger, give them the ball and let them throw it. At the start, there’s a race to the front line to get as many balls as you can, I usually try to get one or two and then kick a couple out of the way.”Despite his interest in dodgeball strategy, Ebarb hasn’t lost sight of what many would call the true nature of the sport.”It’s fun to get out here and act like your’re a kid again,” he said. “That seems to be the best attribute.”Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13631, or at aboffey@summitdaily.com.

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