YWAM Harpenden has a dodgeball team.
That’s right. The game that you played in primary school is now making a hit with adults and children alike, and YWAM Harpenden has caught the bug.
Derek Hermann, who works with Oval Sports United and organizes dodgeball on Thursday nights in The Factory, said the appeal of dodgeball is its simplicity.
“It’s a fun, universal sport,” he said. “It doesn’t take much equipment to play, and if you are reasonably athletic, you can get good quite quickly.”
Dodgeball creates an open door to reach out to the local community, and teaches the importance of being active, fair play and community. And it brings out the competitive side in all age groups.
“There’s a group called Harpenden Roundtable, which is an over-40 men’s group. The other night we had them all in The Factory throwing dodgeballs at each other,” Derek said laughing. “They thought it was great. They said they normally would just sit around at the pub drinking beer.”
Oval Sports has also found an open door teaching dodgeball in schools and with Scout groups.
“Dodgeball has really become popular in schools because it is cost-effective and inclusive,” Derek said. “It’s great for kids who might not be involved in the major school sports.”Derek, Paul Baker and Mark Pearce are qualified as dodgeball coaches. Like most good things, it kind of landed in their lap. Paul took a class several years ago when it was being offered for £15. At that price, why not? he thought.
As for Derek, “The Hertfordshire Sports Partnership was offering a week of discounted coaching in February. The Level 2 dodgeball course was £100.
“My wife Angela said if the money was provided, I could take the course. That was Monday. On Thursday night, Angela’s sister sent us an e-mail saying she got some extra money and she wanted to send us £100.”
Derek thought he would use his new dodgeball skills for outreach, but as Oval Sports United, the YWAM Harpenden sports team, started to develop, it was natural to start using his newly acquired skills to run the dodgeball club.
But the club is not just reaching Scout groups and men’s clubs. As they got more involved, the Oval Sports team came across a new level: competitive dodgeball.
“It’s incredibly popular with a pocket of people,” Derek said. “Usually the people who find it are already competitive in another sport, and they try it out to stay active out of season.”
Oval sports formed Dodge Factory, a team of YWAMers and locals who host and play in tournaments across England, with the help of an ex-national dodgeball coach. The team is currently ranked second in the Division 2 club league. They even helped start a team at the University of Hertfordshire last autumn which competes in university league with more than 20 schools across the United Kingdom.
Dodge Factory has their eye on a championship as the season nears its close.
“We have the South tournament coming up soon, a tournament on May 5th, and playoffs in June before the end of the season,” Derek said. “This is only our first year, but it’s been great. We are hoping as we keep playing together, we will get even better.”
Interested in playing dodgeball with YWAM Harpenden? The Factory is open for play on Thursday nights from 7:30 to 9 p.m. The cost is £1.