When Mike Wines and his wife Michelle, a student attending Tuskegee’s veterinary school, moved to Auburn last year, they did not let the lack of an existing dodgeball league stop them from playing the sport they had enjoyed previously in Memphis, Tenn.
“We played in Memphis for five seasons, and I loved it there so much that I had to start a league here,” Wines said.
Free-play dodgeball games are being held every Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Frank Brown Recreation Center.
“Right now the teams are really not organized; you just jump on a side and start playing,” Wines said. “It’s like herding cats trying to get people to play here.”
The games have been held every Friday since April 3.
The only requirement for players is that they must be over the age of 18 to participate.
“It’s free, so anyone who wants to play can just come play,” Wines said.
Wines had originally planned to start a league and hold a tournament, but for now the dodgeball games are open to the public.
“I’ll probably start an actual league in the fall,” Wines said.
The game is played with six people on a side.
Six balls are placed in the center of the court, and when the game begins each side rushes to the center to grab a ball.
The object is to eliminate players on the opposing side either by hitting them with a ball or catching a ball thrown by the other team.
“It’s a blast,” said Auburn resident Todd Butler. “I played in school, but not like this. It’s something to do outside of the house. It doesn’t cost a lot of money, and it’s somewhat of a good exercise.”
Butler said it was his first time to participate in the free-play games at the center.
Shannon Beaird, a junior in kinesiology, also showed up for the first time April 24.
“It’s fun,” Beaird said. “It’s something to do, something active.”
Wines said attendance for the game has been different every week.
Sixty people (six teams) signed up to play the first week, but only 14 people actually showed up.
“At the beginning, a lot of people came just to watch,” Wines said. “When they saw that it wasn’t nearly as scary as they thought, they decided they’d give it a try.”
Wines said most people who come to play have expectations from the 2004 Vince Vaughn film “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” but the game isn’t as painful as it is in the movie.
“The balls we use aren’t the big red rubber balls that hurt,” Wines said. “They’re actually cloth-covered balls.”
Halfway through the night Beaird said she’d already been hit by the ball at least 10 times.
“It really doesn’t hurt at all,” Beaird said.