SALT LAKE CITY — A sport most people played in grade school is gaining popularity in Utah among young adults. Dodgeball, or the art of not getting hit in the face, has found a home at the Beehive Sport and Social Club.
The new dodgeball season starts Wednesday, Oct. 23, and runs through mid-December. The group’s founder, David Marquardt, said the sport is by far their most popular.
“Dodgeball is the mainstay of winter,” Marquardt said. “For people who haven’t played since the fourth grade, it’s still basically the same game.”
The dodgeball league meets every Wednesday night. Marquardt said the league follows basic rules of the game, but group organizers also try to make things unique.
“We let one player wear a special crown or hat during each game,” Marquardt said. “When that player hits an opposing teammate with the ball, two of that team’s members are out.”
Marquardt, who also goes by the moniker “the commissioner of fun,” came to Salt Lake City in 2011 after working what he describes as a boring 9-5 job on the East Coast. He decided to start the sports groups as a way to meet new people in the area.
“We’re a niche for people who just move to SLC as a venue to meet people,” Marquardt said. “These casual social sports are a great way for people to meet friends and get to know the area.”
He said most of the group’s 5,000 members are between ages 21 and 35. While the group isn’t geared as a singles' dating organization, Marquardt said sometimes the romance just happens.
“We’ve had one wedding from our group, and we keep a sort of unofficial couples tally of people who have met playing sports in our leagues,” Marquardt said. “It’s up to about 40 couples right now.”
At the end of each season, the dodgeball league holds playoffs, but Marquardt said the final games aren’t as cutthroat as some of the other organized sports out there.
“Every team makes the playoffs,” Marquardt said. “We give the losing and the winning teams special trophies, usually ones we find at the D.I. from old soccer tournaments.”
For those who may be more trepidatious about joining up with a social sports league, Marquardt said the club offers full refunds for anyone who doesn’t have a good time after a few games.
So far, he said, they have never had to hand anyone’s money back.
Registration is between $50 and $75 per league, depending on when you sign up. For more information, visit the Beehive Sport and Social Club website.