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No Dodging This Fundraiser

The students and faculty at Thurston High School in Springfield, Oregon have instituted a Dodgeball fundraiser, now in its fifth year, that provides a night of laughs, fun, and boosts school morale while generating income for an array of worthy causes.


By James Underwood
ASB Adviser/Head Cheerleading Coach/Tournament Coordinator, Thurston High School, Springfield, Oregon


The 5th Annual THS Dodgeball tournament will be held April 21 and it promises to be a great night once again.


The tournament was the idea of former Thurston High quarterback Chance Hendrickson, during his freshman year, as a way to raise money for his class. He was inspired by the 2004 Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn comedy, “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story.”


Sixteen teams participated that first year with the number climbing to 25 last year. Our goal this year is to have a 32-team, full-on bracket. We’re trying to provide an incentive by telling the teams that the earlier they hand in their entry forms, the higher they will be seeded. Then about two weeks before the tournament, we will post the brackets on a display board to create a buzz leading up to the tournament itself.


The six-player teams are comprised of Thurston students and faculty and games are played in our gymnasium. Some teams are total faculty. Some are all football players or wrestlers. We’ve had a team of girls’ varsity soccer players. We also get teams from the various student clubs and from sophomore and junior classes. It’s a mixed bag. We have also extended an invitation to neighboring Springfield High to participate this season and are waiting to hear from the student body.


Entry forms and roster packets are available in our school’s main office and have to be returned in order to participate. The students create their own uniforms and come up with some clever team names. Everyone has a lot of fun with the tournament.


Teams pay a $30 entry fee and spectators pay $2 to watch, and we have full concessions. We get upwards of 300 people in the stands. The spectators are really in on the action. You have to pay attention because the ball can come whizzing by you at any time. We had an incident last year where a girl was walking into the gym with a cup of Starbucks and a ball nailed the cup of coffee right out of her hand.


Each game in the double-elimination tournament lasts five minutes with a two-minute sudden death overtime. Players have to leave the court when struck by an opponent’s ball or when an opponent catches a thrown ball. When the buzzer sounds, the team with the most players on the court wins.


We’ve raised close to $1,000 or more each year. Last year we raised $1,150. The money typically goes to the senior class’s homecoming, prom, and graduation events. This year the money is going to be distributed amongst the classes represented. We are also discussing donating some of the proceeds to the South Eugene High School Memorial Fund. Two of their students, including a popular basketball player, drowned during a student retreat.


While dodgeball is not the popular physical education activity it used to be, with some school administrations across the country banning it due to the dangers of being hit with a rubber ball, it has become a yearly rage at Thurston.



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