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Reliving Those Dodgeball Days

Amir Muhammad

Nothing brings people together quite like sports. And the Kalamazoo Sport and Social Club founded five years ago gives people a chance to play games they love and to connect with each other. That includes what might seem like an unlikely sport: dodgeball.

Dodgeball is usually reserved for high school and elementary school gym classes. But grown-ups play it every Monday night in the gym at Washington Writer's Academy on Portage Street in Kalamazoo. Dodgeball is just one of the games offered by the Kalamazoo Sport and Social Club. It started in 2013 as a way for people to connect and participate in some healthy competition, according to General manager Sara Seelman.

“The number one thing that I really like about this league is that it promotes so much connection and networking. It involves a lot of young professionals from companies like Stryker, Pfizer, and MPI Research. Those players come and then they can network and they get into bigger companies or they can get bigger jobs from it.”

The Sport and Social Club accepts members who are 21 or older. And Seelman says they’re a diverse bunch.

“Our demographic is 23 to 37. But I've a 62-year-old who plays kickball. I've got a lot of people in their 40's and 50's. It's just really to cool to see when you go out to the bar afterwards, it's like so many different kinds of people.”

But why dodgeball? Many people remember it without much nostalgia from their school days. People like Joe Starr.

"Yeah, dodgeball kind of sucked a little bit when I was growing up. But the people that I’m with now, we’re all a bunch of really good friends. And so I thought, you know, what the heck. And it is a lot more fun now as an adult. Maybe it’s because you kind of have to when you’re a kid."

But fellow dodgeball enthusiasts Ben Wilson, Rob Smith, and Ryan Pringnitz have a different take. Smith says, “I like throwing balls at people’s faces; it’s awesome.” For Ben Wilson it's, "Friends, good times, cheap beer.” And Pringnitz goes for the health benefits: "You definitely get a work out and stretch a few things you haven’t in quite a while."

Kalamazoo Sport and Social Club Manager Sarah Seelman says the program gives people a chance to re-ignite their competitive drive with games that make them feel like kids again. And she says new games are being added all the time. They a new co-ed basketball league recently joined dodgeball, kickball, and beach volleyball in the line-up.

The Kalamazoo Sport and Social Club's seasons run for seven weeks and fees to play vary. The earlier players sign up, the cheaper it is. The dodgeball league plays every Monday.

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