By Lindsey Ziliak Kokomo Tribune
---- — The FOP Slinging Bullets will be slinging rubber balls Saturday to defend their title in Bona Vista’s Last One Standing Dodgeball Challenge.
More than 30 other teams stand in the way of victory, though.
The game of dodging and throwing will get heated at times. Some teams take it very seriously.
“It’s so intense,” said Britnee Burton with Bona Vista.
That intensity keeps crowds enthralled from beginning to end. Burton said more than 500 people will pass through the Maple Crest Middle School gymnasiums throughout the day to get a peek at the action.
Some will stand on the sidelines and cheer on their favorites. Their sounds, though, mix with all of the other sounds to create a sort of mayhem, Burton said.
“There are whistles blowing and people cheering,” she said. “Team members are coaching from the sidelines. It’s a fun chaos.”
And it’s chaos for a cause.
Money raised throughout the competition will support all 14 of Bona Vista’s programs for adults and children of all abilities. This year’s goal is $10,000. Last year the organization fell just a few dollars short of that.
Burton said she is counting on the immunity bracelets to pull them through. For every $50 a team raises, it gets one immunity bracelet. The bracelets can be used at any time to bring a player who has been knocked out back into the game.
“You can use it in your first game, or you can use it in your last game,” she said.
The bracelets can play an important role in a team’s strategy. Some are good enough that they don’t raise money for many bracelets. Others try to stockpile as many as they can – especially the newer teams who don’t have a lot of experience.
“Some people will come with bracelets from their elbows to their wrists,” she said.
Teams will have more opportunities to use those bracelets this year, too. The game’s format has been changed so teams will compete in the best two out of three games in every round.
Burton said that will make the day a little bit longer, but judges will try to keep the games moving.
For spectators, admission to the games is free. There is a charge for food and drinks. There will be Jimmy John’s subs and Little Caesars pizza. Blondie’s will also be on hand with cookies.
Burton said she is sure the competitors will work up an appetite.
“It’s a good workout,” she said. “You’re doing something fun and burning calories.”
Lindsey Ziliak, Tribune Life & Style editor, can be reached at 765-454-8585, at email@example.com or via Twitter @LindseyZiliak.
WANT TO GO? WHAT: Bona Vista's Last One Standing Dodgeball Challenge WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday WHERE: Maple Crest Middle School gymnasiums COST: Admission for spectators is free. Teams can still register until noon today. The entry fee is $15 per player