Thursday, January 19, 2012

Seattle Street Dodgeball

Claire Mueller and Tim Lehman

Seattle Street Dodgeball formed in mid to late 2007 in Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park. The Dodgeballers used one of the two tennis courts available in the park, and brought their own balls to play twice a week. Around the same time, Seattle Bike Polo began meeting in the same place, and tennis players began complaining to the Parks Department that the courts were being destroyed and tennis players could no longer use them. The Dodgeball Crew moved for a short time to a local community center, but quickly realized that the vibrant spirit of dodgeball came from the eclectic group of ever changing people and the convienence of Cal Anderson Park. Despite being told by the Parks Department that they were not allowed to play in the tennis courts and orders from the Seattle Police Department that any dodgeball activities seen by officers must be immediately stopped, the games continued twice a week for 2 more years.

The Seattle Street Dodgeball group became friends with the local police, encouraged kids to play dodgeball instead of drinking or drugs, and they provided a welcoming space to meet neighbors and friends for free on Capitol Hill. They appeared before the Parks Department and led a highly successful campaign to provide a space for dodgeball in Cal Anderson Park. After years of conflict with tennis players, just last year the city designated one of the Cal Anderson tennis courts a Seattle Dodgeball Court. Now, on Wednesdays, Sundays, and occasionally other days too, Dodgeball meets attracting hundreds of people in Cal Anderson Park.

View Seattle Street Dodgeball in a larger map

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