Duck, dodge, dip, duck, and fly
In high school, I was picked last. I was a fat, unwieldy kid incapable of understanding how to “sport.” Yet, in the despair of undesirability for my uncouth approach to physical activity (specifically in the “how to” department), I yearned to be good at one thing: dodgeball.
Dodgeball captures everything awesome about being a kid. Literally taking a round thing (otherwise known as a ball) and throwing it as hard and as fast at someone else with zero consequences. In fact, that’s the point. I mean, come on! Who wouldn’t want to be good at that? Even aspiring to be one of the best, to be able to jump and throw at the same time, or flip like an American Ninja Warrior, and in the middle of the flip, like…whoosh – straight into some kid’s gut.
I’m actually quite jealous of kids that play in high school now because of all the cool Internet lingo you could scream after eliminating someone.
“Rekt! Git gud scrub! Welcome to clown town!” (I don’t know about that last one.)
When my editor and I went to Skyzone in Lewis Center, one of the first Trampoline Parks in the nation, we weren’t sure we were going to capture the high octane, in-your-face feeling of high school dodgeball. First walking into Skyzone, we were immediately overwhelmed with the size. It is a huge building, separated into three activities:
You’ve got your basic jumping zone. The trampolines are firm and bouncy – I was able to get an absurd amount of height, and the more seasoned jumpers were flipping off the wall trampolines like they were auditioning for Spider-Man. They don’t hurt, and that encourages adventurousness. I tried some flips and didn’t regret it.
After that, there is a foam pit—this is where you perfect your tricks by bouncing off a trampoline into a giant pit of foam. It’s as fun as it sounds which, depending on your love of problem solving your way out of a foam pit, is either real high or real low.
Finally, there is Ultimate Dodgeball. It’s dodgeball on trampolines. Everything your parents said should never happen for fear of your limbs and spinal column. It happens at Skyzone, and holy hell is it fun. Our team of two played against some local ringers, and in some clutch teamwork, Team Journalist won our first game, professionally retiring with a 100 percent win record.
Skyzone is awesome for many reasons. First, it is a f*cking workout. I can not stress this enough. According to owner of two locations, Laura Knipfer, speaking about their fitness program, “You can burn over 1,000 calories in an hour of jumping.” I believe it. We jumped for around 30 minutes, and in that time period I regretted every food decision I’d ever made.
Second, Skyzone lives and breathes Dodgeball. There are local tournaments for upcoming teams leading up to the annual UDC qualifiers. “The Ulitmate Dodgeball Championships happens once a year. Basically, you have a regional tournament for every single park in the United States and we handle everything, brackets, refs, the games–all that. The winning team of the regionals has the option to go on and play in Las Vegas for $50,000 to the Grand Champion,” Knipfer said.
She is especially passionate about the dodgeball scene, playing frequently with her team after hours.
“The best thing for me is watching the growth of the employees. Their professional athletic growth. They come in and they want a job. They’ve never played before, and when they join and start playing—especially on Saturday—watching that camaraderie happen, them teaching each other the rules and suddenly they’re really good and before you know it you have a really good team put together. That’s really exciting for me to watch.”
Third and finally, “Skyzone is cheap, and it’s a fun thing to do for college kids. You get half off your jump time with D-Tix. It’s like barely eight bucks,” David Clark said, an OSU graduate who we #clobbered during our dodgeball game. It’s true too; frats and sororities can schedule lock-ins, groups of 10 can schedule their own time, and more. Skyzone is pretty flexible, which turns out is pretty cool. They have all kinds of events, from a 16-and-older Skyjam on Saturdays to fitness during the week, as well as doing local charity work in the area.
The UDCs take place on August 4th, so you’ll have time to perfect your team and ready your champions for next year’s tournament. They also air on ESPN. Skyzone hosts local bi-monthly tournaments, so if you’re hankering to obliterate some #scrubs, check the schedule and sign up–you could win big…or go home with some ball-shaped welts on your legs.•