Extreme sports to play
by: Beth Koehler/Copy Editor
Remember gym class in middle school? Was there a favorite game to play in gym each year? In school, most students looked forward to dodgeball the most, and indeed, many people across the nation look forward to playing this incredibly straightforward game. It does not get much simpler than dodgeball- the game is literally “dodge ball, throw ball at someone else.” However, people are always looking to make things bigger and better, so how does one improve basic dodgeball? How does one take a game that is enjoyed primarily by children and turn it into a national sport?
Created by Rick Platt, Ultimate Trampoline Dodgeball is a real thing. It is played indoors, in specially designed courts that have trampolines covering the floor and walls. Initially, in 2004, Platt spent $2 million to find athletes and build a trampoline park in Las Vegas, calling it the SkyZone. It did not work out. However, skateboarders from the area enjoyed using the SkyZone to bounce around, which inspired Platt’s son, Jeff Platt, to attempt building another SkyZone in 2006 at St. Louis. This adventure was far more successful, and resulted in the creation of over 30 more SkyZones across the US and Canada, where people can practice playing Ultimate Trampoline Dodgeball, among other things.
Do not think this sport is unpopular! In Nov. 2012, the first Ultimate Trampoline Dodgeball tournament was held in Los Angeles with 21 competing teams of five players each. Due to the sport’s increasing popularity, this year’s tournament is planned to be broadcasted on television. The tournament rules are like regular dodgeball, but with a few restrictions- a game is four minutes long, or until a team loses all of its players; if both teams have the same number of players after the four minute time limit, then the players go into sudden death and whichever team has a player knocked out first loses; and the team that wins two out of three games goes into the next round of the tournament.
This sport is ridiculously fun. Dodgeball is fun. Trampolines are fun. Putting them together sounds redundant, but it makes the game much more intense, it is difficult to put into words. “This game is 75 percent mental,” Phillip Middleton, leader of team HAM, told HuffPost. “Most of the time, we’re trying to figure out if the other team is afraid; if they move left or right or if they hesitate.”