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"If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball."
In the (awesome) movie from 2004, Patches doesn’t make it to the end. But Saturday at the still-nameless outdoor rink/court adjacent to City Hall, the specter of Patches was alive and well at the Penticton Fire Dept's second annual Outdoor Dodgeball Classic.
Was it silly? Oh, yes. Was it a total throwback to a time when guys and gals both wore clothing a little too tight and a little too short? Absolutely.
I mean, we're talking dodgeball, man. The whole thing is a throwback.
As for the level of skill, it was as expected -- all over the map. The futility of some teams was certainly as fun to watch as the hard-throwing expertise of certain players on other teams.
Regardless, all 14 teams paid to be there, and for a very good purpose. The proceeds go to the Penticton Firefighters Charitable Society (PFCS).
And firefighter Trevor Tougas of the PFD, who spent much of the day mixing it up on the court but also happens to be president of the PFCS, was clearly having a great time, as was most everyone we saw.
But he's also hoping more teams will get involved in the future.
"Our first tournament last year happened right here in the same spot," he said, "and we've had a lot of support from the community and from local business owners since, which helped us put this one on."
In 2022, the Dodgeball Classic raised an impressive $15,000 -- some though entry fees, some through sponsorship, and some through the on-site beer garden.
This year, that number stayed the same, at $15,000. Not bad considering the current economic climate.
"More than anything," said Tougas, "it’s just a great community event. It's spirited and it's competitive, but nobody really cares if they win or lose.
"This year we have lots of sponsors, but we also have six teams who are sponsored and contributed sponsorship as well. A lot of people use this as a corporate team-building event."
As for the big question -- why dodgeball? -- Tougas said they ideally wanted an activity where the likelihood of a team of ringers would be relatively low.
"We wanted to do something where a pro team couldn’t come in and dominate," he said. "Not many people play dodgeball. It's not a very common sport. Yet it's easy to learn. So it seemed ideal."
Entering a team for 2024 will cost the same is it did this year -- $400. To do that or to sponsor the event (or do both), message the PFD through their Facebook or Instagram accounts. And get ready to dodge that ball.