Can Harvard Remember the Five D’s?


IM Dodgeball Tournament put students to the test.

Dodgeball is the marijuana of sports. Sure, it may look bad from an outsider’s perspective to repeatedly traumatize your head with cantaloupe-sized objects. But come on – it is relatively harmless, and the perceived danger does not justify the huge deal people are making out of it. In spite of dodgeball’s abolition from many school gyms nationwide, Harvard remains a safe haven for repeated trauma to the head. Saturday, February 20th marked the annual celebration of that fact.

Several hundred students awaited the start of the double-elimination intramural dodgeball tournament in the MAC gymnasium. For some, this was a momentous occasion. A proud father of one athlete looked on in anticipation from the baseline of center court.

“Son!” he cried, voice quivering. A tall, ginger-haired boy looked back conscientiously, as if this were the last time he would ever see the man who begat him.

“Father,” he replied. “Kill them, son,” the father said gently, with a smile on his face.

“Kill them” is a suitable slogan to summarize the day. Teams pulled out all the stops to bring home a W. For several teams, these efforts were in vain. Cabot showed up with a ragged squad of six, already fatigued upon arrival by their odyssey from the Radcliffe Quadrangle. Adams, without distance as an excuse, arrived with three people. Neither team stood a chance against the dominance of teams such as Kirkland and Leverett, who each showed up in numbers exceeding fifty, garbed in matching attire.

Despite their ultimate defeat, the effort exerted by these undermanned teams was the stuff of legend. Adams pulled off an incredible come-from-behind victory against a Dunster squad that featured three times the number of players. Needless to say, Dunster did not win a single match in the tournament. Cabot held their ground against an overconfident Lowell team, blasting their captain in the back on upon his return from a “time-out.” It should be noted that there are no “time-outs” in an intramural dodgeball tournament, yet the victimized Lowellian approached the Cabot Cod after the match to warn them. “You know what you did,” he said. And indeed, they knew.

The day was dominated by the teams that managed to meet or exceed the twenty participants that are allowed on the court at a time. A rivalry between powerhouse Winthrop and Leverett crystalized early on, with Winthrop winning the first matchup. Several rounds later, Winthrop and Leverett found themselves matched up once again as the only teams left standing, with Winthrop needing just one victory to knock off Leverett and take home the crown. Without a single loss up to that point, Winthrop would need to lose twice in a row to head home empty-handed. They did just that.

For the defeated houses, there is little consolation or hope moving forward. Currier, Pforzheimer, and Cabot are left wondering how to relocate their houses closer to the MAC. Mather does not and will not care about IM’s anytime soon. Lowell is still confused and angry as to why anyone would do something as abhorrent as throw a dodgeball at somebody’s back. These teams need to live with the reality that in intramural dodgeball, you win if you bring a mob. There’s no winning by brains or skill. You win with your balls, the more the better.


James Zatsiorsky ’17 ( can dodge wrenches.