Balls were flying this past Thursday as 23 teams battled it out in a blacklight dodgeball tournament at the Rec Center gymnasium kicking off Color Me Rowan Weekend.
Blacklight Dodgeball is the concept of Vinny Colantuoni, a senior communication studies major and director of special events for Student University Programmers (SUP). He first brought the event to Rowan during the 2016 spring semester and since then has made adjustments to better the experience for students.
The single-elimination tournament, co-sponsored by SUP and the Rec Center, had two teams of six students square off at a time. The team that won two out of three games of dodgeball moved on to the next round.
Students of all ages came out to play the game that reminded them of their childhood days in gym class.
“I’ve loved dodgeball ever since middle school so I signed up,” said Steven McGown, a junior mechanical engineering major. “It was pretty dark and hard to see, but it was really fun. The glow-in-the-dark concept was pretty cool and it gave another dynamic element to the game.”
While many were familiar with dodgeball, for some, blacklight dodgeball was their first experience with the sport. This was the case for the team “International House.” Many of the players were students from different cultures who had never played dodgeball before.
“It was a little crazy,” said Christina Terry, the team captain and resident assistant in International House. “I’m super proud of my team. It was their first time playing dodgeball and I think everyone did a great job. We lost, but we all had fun.”
For players who already knew the ropes, the biggest struggle was being able to see the balls during the game, according to senior sociology major Richard Westphal.
“The balls did not glow as well as one would hope,” Westhal said. “Practice beforehand, have a plan and be aware that the balls are going to be significantly less visible than you would expect.”
Those who did not wish to play could stand along the walls of the gym and watch, though upon check-in, students were warned they entered at their own risk. While the purpose was to hit the opposing team with the dodge balls, many missed and instead smacked bystanders. Despite the danger, many spectators were intrigued by the sight of the blacklights.
“I’m not a big fan of dodgeball,” sophomore chemical engineering major Tanner Geueke said, “but I love things in blacklight, so it was really cool to see them both together.”
The final round brought teams “Brown Popsicles” and “The Untouchables” head to head. Though both teams had proved themselves worthy of the title, “The Untouchables” were crowned victorious, earning them bragging rights as well as Rowan Intramural Champion shirts.
Ultimately, however, the purpose of events like this is to bring the Rowan community together for some fun, according to Colantuoni.
“As far as athletic events offered not only by [SUP] but by the Rec Center, this is definitely one that stands out,” Colantuoni said. “I hope people get that unique experience from this.”
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