Balls fly during annual dodgeball tournament

By Gwenn Barney

It’s not a dodgeball tournament until someone strips to his underwear. At least that was the… It’s not a dodgeball tournament until someone strips to his underwear. At least that was the strategy for Team We’re Here Because We Hate Frats, or Frats for short.

Competing in nothing more than compression shorts and shirts, Frats was the team to beat during the fourth annual Save Your Balls Dodgeball Tournament last night. The event was organized by Pitt’s chapter of Colleges Against Cancer. CAC organizes events throughout the year on campus to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

“It’s aerodynamic,” Frats member John Bobak said of the revealing uniform choice. “If you’re lighter, you move faster.”

But the clingy fabric offered more benefits than agility.

“They look intense,” said David Linz, a member of two-time tournament champions Team Delta Sigma Pi. Linz said Frats, composed of muscular ROTC students, seemed to be the toughest obstacle impeding Delta Sigma’s path to the three-peat.

The event’s organizer, senior Rachel Strittmatter, said that the dodgeball tournament is one of CAC’s most popular events.

“The tournament is something people look forward to and ask us about,” Strittmatter said, adding that one great aspect of the tournament is its ability to bring groups from all across campus together for a charitable cause.  The night raised $420 for the American Cancer Society.

This year’s tournament marked the largest participation in its four year, with more than 100 people gathered in the Bellefield Hall gym.

Although the Frats team brought spandex and intimidation, it wasn’t enough to nab the gold trophy and pizza party. That prize went to Team USA, a group of relative strangers, who prevailed over the 14 teams who participated in the tournament.

“Most of us didn’t really know each other before this month,” Team USA member Laura Straub said. She said the team members came together when they were introduced by mutual friends.

After an hour of dodging, ducking, dipping, diving … and dodging, Team USA stood victorious. They shared the prize of a pizza party at center court with runner-ups Team Sex Panthers.

There was an air of intensity in the gym throughout the tournament. The basketball court was packed as participants acted as both competitors and spectators. The participants encircled the main area, alternatively cheering or taunting as two teams took center stage for five-minute dodgeball battles.

The tournament was structured in a double-elimination format with two brackets. If a team lost a match, it was moved to the losers bracket. At the end of three rounds, the winner from the winners bracket, Team USA, competed against the winner from the losers bracket, the Sex Panthers.

Frats blamed its loss in part on the tournament rules. The rules stipulated that two teams of six would meet on the Bellefield basketball court to throw it out.

Members of Frats were disappointed that teams could not throw from just behind the center court line, like in “professional volleyball.”

“I want it down, gritty and raw,” Bobak said.

The tournament was heavy on the testosterone, with male competitors far outnumbering the women.

Amber Malloy of Team Blue Balls was a little apprehensive when she found herself in the line of an athletic man’s fire.

“It’s intimidating playing against guys,” she said.

But Team USA’s Straub saw her gender as an advantage in the matches.

“All the guys overlook the girls,” she said. “It’s kinda like I’m a secret weapon.”