Thursday, November 15, 2007

Big Apple Dodgeball Makes Headlines

Well...Chelsea headlines.

Dodgeball has long been considered a controversial childhood game, favored by bullies and dreaded by less athletic children everywhere. But ever since the 2004 blockbuster comedy “Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story,” starring Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller, adults have increasingly been reclaiming the sport for themselves.

However, the only adult dodgeball leagues in New York City cater mainly to heterosexuals, and those in the gay community may feel understandably apprehensive about the possibility of being pelted with rubber balls thrown by homophobic players. With this in mind, Mark Marraccini founded Big Apple Dodgeball, a new LGBT-friendly dodgeball league in Manhattan founded on the principles of tolerance, acceptance and diversity.

“You hear about dodgeball and think about the horrors of public school,” said Arnold Plotnick, a veterinarian who owns Manhattan Cat Specialists, on the Upper West Side. “It’s seen as a juvenile, humiliating sport, but now it’s empowering,” he added.

The league, which kicked off on Oct. 15, was specifically designed as a place where members of the gay community could play a fun team sport in a safe, tolerant environment. The rules expressly forbid “slurs against race, religion, ethnicity or gender,” and any trash-talking is purely in jest.

“We’re sending the Big Booty Ballers home in body bags!” joked Jason Saft, a member of the Spread Eagles team, playfully taunting the opposition. (When the Ballers later won the game, Equinox trainer Shaun Bradley rebutted with an enthusiastic “Bodybags, what?!”) Saft, whose team uniform consists of denim cutoffs, leather cuffs and a black T-shirt with the logo of S&M-themed gay bar The Eagle, is also the secretary of the league.

“I’m the secretary, so I show up to everything with two sharpened No. 2 pencils,” Saft laughed.
....Many players in the league feel grateful that they have a safe place to have fun and meet new people without going to a bar or club.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the gay community to get together outside of bars without any stigma,” said Eric Leven, a 26-year-old TV producer from the East Village who also writes a blog called KnuckleCrack. “I probably wouldn’t have hung out with half of these people if it weren’t for this.”

Although Leven is on the Spread Eagles team, he heard about the league from his best friend, Eyal Feldman, the sponsor of the Butter Balls team, on which he also plays. Feldman, a statuesque 29-year-old, founded Boy Butter, a personal lubricant popular in the gay community.

“I thought Boy Butter and the league would be a great combination,” Feldman said of his decision to sponsor a team.

I've been lackluster in my dodgeball updates for the past two weeks for two reasons. 1) I still haven't purchased a new digital camera and without pics the reporting seems to be a bit stale and 2) my team, my wonderful Spread Eagles haven't been playing up to our potential. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a sore loser, I'm just one who doesn't like to report losing.

Two weeks ago The Spread Eagles showed up cocky and boastful in our second place standings. We took the court against the OB-GYMS thinking we could flick them off like a crumb from a table, instead, they kicked our ass, winning two games out of three. Our team coach, Jason Saft, said if we lost to the OB-GYMS he'd have an aneurysm. Well, we did. However, on the plus side, Mr. Saft did not end up having an aneurysm.

This past week The Spread Eagles had the same record. Not only had our second place standing moved down to third, we only won two games out of the total six. We played the top two of dodgeball's reigning terror teams. The undefeated Boy Butter Butter Balls and the throw-hard bullies of Big Booty Bread Booty Ballers. Boy Butter spread us out, fair and square, winning all three games and Booty Bread walloped us with a two-one win.

It's ok. I mean, despite the fact we haven't been playing up to our potential The Spreads did receive a nice compliment from The Splashtastic's fierce lesbian player, Michelle, who said, "You guys are the hottest team out there with the best attitude."

That's worth something, right?


Mark said...

Hotness ALWAYS matters!

Jessica said...

When I told a friend about BAD, she was horrified: she thought y'all were chucking large apples at each other.