“I never thought something like this could be pulled off… leave it to Chris Luke to come with a massive dodgeball event, get it approved, and pull it off perfectly.” – Jace Kasteler, participant.
In the small northern town of Rexburg, ID. there are very few sporting activities one might consider playing mid-blizzard. Football is benched, Frisbee is postponed, and golf most certainly takes a rain check. As such, many students are left yearning for an outlet to play. Sure, basketball, racquetball, and studying are still around, but as a whole many students are left wanting. As such, I found myself in a position where students and faculty alike would come to me, wanting me to create an activity which would appeal to most of the campus population, and satisfy that yearning for competitive play.
I sat down, and cooked up a massive dodgeball event. Sure, we had small games already in place. Often times though, these were very competitive and the more recreational players shied away from the intensity.
This was to be one massive game, something which could appeal to a large spectrum of the student body. While the idea in itself seemed simple enough, getting approval for such an event was staggering. Initially rejected by campus administration, I went back to the drawing board to try to solve what I perceived might have been their problems with the idea.
- Safety – with hundreds of dodgeballs flying about, someone is bound to get hurt.
- Cost – The school only had at most 30-40 dodgeballs, how were we to fund buying 400!?
- Logistics – How do you arrange teams, officiate the game, or clarify the rules?
- Marketing – how can you make sure enough students will come to validate the cost?
I took these concerns, remade my proposal, and presented it again:
- Safety – A team of trained EMT’s would be available at the event, with a special safety zone shielded from the dodgeball court with which to administer aid if the need arises. 70 volunteers would officiate the game, and observe from multiple vantage points. Both on all sides, above, and on the court. If anyone noticed a potential injury, they would sound a court buzzer, which would cause all action to stop; at which point the EMT’s would assist in attending to the injury. Finally, every participant would be required to sign a safety waiver, removing the liability from the university should such an injury arise.
- Cost – Participation would cost $1, which collectively would be able to pay for the cost of the dodgeballs. Also, official dodgeball shirts would be sold at the event, to help mitigate costs.
- Logistics – Teams would be assigned through a ticketing system. One could choose either the blue or grey team when buying their ticket. If one team starting gaining significant number advantage in presales, said team’s ticket availability would be locked until an even number was achieved. Rules would be agreed to upon ticket purchase as well as announced before the game.
- Marketing – Social media would be the primary tool of marketing. I played off my previous successes in campus attended events to guarantee a largely attended event.
With new proposal in hand, I presented the idea before the Presidents council. With their concerns addressed, approval was received. Unfortunately, because of the many revisions and rejections we received, it left us with a short four weeks of time before the due date, instead of the anticipated two months. I formed a team of fifteen my most trusted volunteer leaders and we went to work. What you see above is the final result of our efforts.
Still the most largely attended sporting event to date, we exceeded even our expectations. Here is one student’s video response to the event: