By Tom Morris
The Athletic Union’s Dodgeball tournament went down a storm on Thursday 13th, with more than a dozen teams of five or more students gathering at the Great Hall for what was supposed to be friendly competition to win a couple of VKs and promote Coppafeel breast awareness, the Cardiff Hornets dodgeball club and the mental health themed Mind Your Head Week. This turned out to be sorely mistaken, as friendly tussles between Airsoft Society’s camouflaged We Go Commando team and the Welfare Exec’s brave entry (headed up by Gair Rhydd’s own George Watkins) later turned to deadly showdowns between bitter enemies.
These were not, however, the showdowns expected. After being beaten to second place by the unstoppable force of Lacrosse last year, Dodgeball (now rebranded as Cardiff Hornets UDC) was hopeful for victory. However, as many of their most experienced players (including, in the interests of transparency, me) had to referee the tournament, their team consisted of mostly freshers and as such didn’t manage the victory they had hoped for. Perhaps also the lack of free Red Bull changed peoples’ fortunes.
The unexpected brute force of Do You VK, a team of Students Union staffers, did well but perhaps They Shouldn’t Have VKed because some members of the group got a little testy with the refereeing team. Sudden death rematches were arranged, catching kings faced each other down and the crowd went wild, their chants heard from the media office two floors up.
The tournament adjourned for a short break before quarter finals, myself and other refs hitting the bar and the balls pretty hard to let off some steam. Having to watch our own team get beaten to the top place and be unable to help them was no fun experience, despite what the protestations of those surrounding the court seemed to think.
Amongst the wrath and the dashed hopes however, there were several success stories. The undoubted man of the match was Matt of Lacrosse, who played the entire tournament on a crutch. He regularly dropped the crutch and suicidally dived for a ball, catching it but most likely sending himself into further pain. Whilst many players would say they were shattered after the event, no doubt Matt was the only one who could say so literally.
Elin and the AU exec held a presentation ceremony at the end to much applause. The refs were presented with a £5 Taf food voucher, and Lacrosse a crate of VKs. Second place team, “Decks out for Harambe,” their words not mine, got a bottle of Corky’s. Perhaps they should have been presented with the last pint of Gaymers in the SU?
Despite the lack of Red Bull, the electrifying energy filling the room beat any other event I’ve been to in the Great Hall, from concerts to awards. There really is nothing in the world quite like the annual AU dodgeball tournament.[If you are interested in regular dodgeball, join the aforementioned Freshers in their training to become world class players, with coaching from international level Welsh dodgeball players every Thursday, 9pm at Talybont sports hall.]