We Can Dodge A Wrench!
The Youth Media Alliance promotes quality Canadian content aimed at children (so most of our content other than LICD and LFG). Speaking of aiming, they also host fundraising dodgeball tournaments. Yes, even though they work with artists and writers, they know better than to assume we’re all pasty nerds with the athleticism of a sausage pizza. Some of us have the athleticism of a Hawaiian pizza.
Per the rules, we needed 6 players and 2 subs to sign a team up. Within a day of the request for players, we had a full roster! So we had a team, we had the hunger, and we had a name befitting the Laughing Dragon animation studios: Dragonballerz!
But then, we had drama!
A Roster In Flux
After a month of stability within the roster, Paige expressed concern with her ability to attend. Unfortunate, but that’s why we have two subs, right?
Day of the tournament, team captain Guillaume came down with a migraine, and player Kathleen said “MY FACE IS LEAKING”. Three players down, we called in our subs and got recruiting!
Old guard Will stepped in as the new captain. Newbie David was peer pressured into joining the team. And not-super-old-but-not-that-new either Remi agreed to be a backup sub.
We had a team! Again! But did we have uniforms?
Sohmer decided to surprise us all with team shirts, featuring Laughing Dragon mascot Isaac absolutely failing at dodgeball. It’s a great design, and we would have looked great in it.
Day of the tournament, there was no sign of our new shirts. They didn’t arrive until the day after the event.
Luckily, Sohmer didn’t tell us to expect shirts, so in the days leading up to the tournament the team took the initiative to decide on a uniform: Plain black shirts. Being an office full of artists, there were plans to put stickers with our logos and characters on them. Just in case, I cooked up a backup plan.
During the old convention days, we worked the booths wearing our merch. Because of that, and because cons are sweaty business, I had six sweat wicking scale mail shirts from Looking For Group. The team approved. The shirts were all my size, unlike my teammates, but we made them work.
The drama didn’t end there.
Fortunately, the rest of the drama was on the court.
Seven teams from six local animation and entertainment companies (one company fielded two teams) came to play in a double elimination tournament.
That meant after each round, the winners would move on in the winner bracket, and the losers would be moved to the next round of the loser bracket. Losing a second game eliminated a team. In the end, the winner of the winner bracket faced the winner of the loser bracket. If the loser bracket winner won, they played the winner bracket winner again, because this was the winner bracket winner’s first loss.
(checks math and grammar)
As you might expect based on how the day went, the tournament ended in the most dramatic fashion possible.
Semi-Finals, Finals, and More Finals!
We had no frame of reference for how well any of these teams played dodgeball. We didn’t even know how well we played dodgeball, especially considering that half our team found out they would be playing only a few hours earlier. So winning in the first round felt great.
And winning in the second round felt even better.
And the third round? We felt invincible.
Then, we suffered our first loss.
To come so far and then to lose? Unacceptable! We hit the brackets and started doing the math. We’d need to win three matches in a row to win the entire tournament. Two of them had to be against the only team who beat us!
We won the loser bracket finals. This came as no surprise, since we played a a rematch against a team we sent to the loser bracket. Maybe we shouldn’t have been so confident. Sometimes losers win the rematch.
In the next round, the finals, we losers won the rematch!
So we entered the secret second finals, the 21st match of the tournament and our third match in a row.
A few things to point out:
Team manager Sohmer never recovered from the number of times the referee referenced handling balls during the reading of the rules.
One team only had five players, so our own Pierre-Luc played double duty as their sixth player. And he helped them win, a lot. Pierre-Luc on his own played in more than half of the 21 games in the tournament.
David ended up being one of our best players. But, he couldn’t wear his glasses when he played. He still managed a lot of eliminations, and had the catch of the night, but he operated at less than 20/20.
Marie-Anne proved to be the team MVP, at one point overcoming a 3-on-1 deficit to win. However, during one of Pierre-Luc’s games for the other team, he whipped a ball out of bounds that hit Marie-Anne (who was sitting against a brick wall) in the face. It scrambled her brain and she hasn’t been the same since.
Will drank three Red Bulls before the first match, so he could die at any moment.
Some funny observations about me and Abigail to round out the team.
It’s The Final Finals
No, unlike the unused original ending of 2004 comedy Dodgeball, our story doesn’t end there. Our story sends you home happy, like the ending of the theatrical release of 2004 comedy Dodgeball. We quoted 2004 comedy Dodgeball so much around the office since the dodgeball tournament first came up.
We did lose the rubber match, and so we missed out on the trophy and the glory of winning the tournament. Being the only team to beat the tournament winners just made getting to the final finals and losing sting a little more.
However, this tournament brought us together like never before. We were the only company with fans, as staff that wasn’t playing showed up to support the team.
The staff’s been abuzz about the highs and lows of the game. Pictures from the night have been memeified, and talk of next time have already started.
After The Last Two Years
I haven’t taken part in a team building work event since before the Laughing Dragon Studios were established. There’s working with people, and talking with coworkers, but then there’s a shared competitive experience. We played together, and we won and lost together. And now, we laugh together. Like the audience during the post-credit scene of the theatrical release of 2004 comedy Dodgeball.