There was only one thing unusual about the thrilling conclusion to the Ardmore Parks and Recreation Department’s dodgeball tournament on Monday: The sheer number of teams who’d signed up in the first place.
The winning team, the Dirty Dodgers, dominated during the final showdown with The Lafleurs, who took second. The two teams were the last of 16 teams in the tournament, about double the usual number for a league like this. Recreation Supervisor Tes Stewart said while about half of the teams had played the year before, many of the teams were entirely new.
“That’s a really high number, we’ve never had more than seven,” Stewart said.
Team sports leagues for adults are nothing new for the department, but Stewart said interest in them seems to be growing.
“Nine teams were all new,” Stewart said. “We had people from all over the community who got a team together and played, so it was nice.”
Registration is $150 per team. Stewart said the fee money goes back into Parks and Recreation programming for the year.
“We just got the word out,” Stewart said. “We got it on Facebook and people got to talking. This year, it seems like it just took off and everybody had a good time.”
Stewart said the jump in participation numbers has carried over into the next group sport, which begins next week. Indoor volleyball registration wrapped up this week with more players than usual.
“We’ve got 15 teams in that as well, and we usually only have around 10,” Stewart said. “It seems like those team sports are becoming more popular here. Some other things may be dying off, but I think it’s just a cycle. It’s been great.”
Before dodgeball, the department ran a pickle ball league. She said the sport brought in younger players who’d never played, as well as older people who were familiar with the game.
“People are already asking for another league, so I feel like that will grow,” Stewart said.
Next up on the docket is kickball, which begins April 16. Registration for the league is still open.
“It kind of brings back childhood in a way,” Stewart said. “You can relive those days, come out and play again.”