Locals battle it out in dodgeball compeitition for charity

| 22 Jan 2014 | 01:21

"The five D's of dodgeball are: dodge, duck, dip, dive and dodge," according to the 2004 movie, "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story." And that they did in Sparta on Saturday night, Jan. 18.

While the object of a typical dodgeball game may be to vigorously exclude opponents by hitting them with large rubber dodge balls, more than 32 teams came together for a night of friendly competition. PassItAlong hosted their 6th Annual Dodge the Ball Battle inside The Fieldhouse at Sparta.

Local residents formed teams from family, friends and co-workers to take part in the fundraising event. Each team averaged eight players and had two chances to advance through the elimination rounds. The battles were waged between teams comprised of men and women, teenagers and adults, who all jumped high or hit-the-floor trying to avoid the bombardment of balls when catching it wasn't an option.

The Ballers team were made up of coaches from Byram's Hobb Engler and Patriots youth sports. Captain of the team, Shawn Hillenbrand, laughed about being "challenged" that night by kids they used to coach. As if that wasn't enough, the men also had to compete against their sons, who had formed their own dodgeball team called The Panthers.

The Fieldhouse at Sparta donated the facility where the competition took place while Speciality Surgical Center and Orthopedic Institute of NJ were the main sponsors, both of whom support every program on the PassItAlong schedule throughout the year.

CEO/President of PassItAlong, Diane Taylor, stated, "They enable us to run the programs, and, they believe in our programs."

Other local businesses donated passes and gift cards for winners of several contests.

The 1st place winners of the competition were called Not In The Face, and received one month passes to the Sparta Athletic Club. After several hours of elimination rounds, the group from Franklin, Vernon and Jefferson were happy to be taking the title home with them.

Team Ambassador, Michael Sudol, said, "We didn't even know what we were getting into tonight."

Dressed in blue T-shirts, The Brute Squad placed second, winning lift tickets to Mountain Creek. Team Victory Chug, whose members all wore bandanas, finished in third place, winning passes to Laser One. There were also prizes awarded for Best Team Name, going to the Lumber Jack You Up's, Best Individual Costume was awarded to Josh Schultz of The Grape Ape's who wore a gorilla suit and mask, and Best Team Costume going to the brightly accessorized Zumba Mamas.

The award for Most Spirited Team during the opening ceremonies went to The Hipster Heroes, a group of Newton High School students who displayed their enthusiasm proudly and loudly, grabbing the attention of the audience and opposing teams when they were introduced. This group of young men are also volunteers for PassItAlong.

With part of the nights fundraising proceeds being used for immediate action, they were scheduled to participate in the annual 'Martin Luther King Day of Service', when volunteers from PassItAlong will travel to Newark to paint and revitalize a school.