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Playground game taking teacher places

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East Hardin’s Sobczyk hopes to earn spot in ultimate dodgeball competition

By Kelly Cantrall

His seventh-grade students know him as Mr. Sobczyk. But the social studies teacher would like to add another title: ultimate dodgeball champion.

Benjamin Sobczyk, a teacher at East Hardin Middle School, could have the chance to travel to Las Vegas in September to compete in the 2013 Ultimate Dodgeball Championship with his team, the Bourbon Ballers. The team won a regional tournament in Louisville and need online votes to help their chances of earning a spot in Vegas.

Voting for Sobczyk’s team takes place at www.votebourbon.com and runs until 3 p.m. Monday, he said. Of the 30 winners of the regional tournaments, eight are chosen to attend the national championship. The Bourbon Ballers might already be selected, Sobczyk said, but voting will help ensure their success.

Sobczyk started playing dodgeball while attending Western Kentucky University. He and his roommate saw a flier for the college’s intramural team “and thought it would be a fun, interesting thing to do for an afternoon.” He made the team and traveled to competitions.

After college, he continued to search for opportunities to play. The Bourbon Ballers formed once he and others learned of a Louisville tournament. They had never played ultimate dodgeball, which is dodgeball played on a trampoline surface. But this was a way still to play, he said.

Ultimate dodgeball rules are similar to traditional dodgeball’s, but the surface makes the game “exhausting, absolutely exhausting,” Sobczyk said. Without the stability of a hard floor, he said it’s much harder to throw.

“You don’t realize how tired you’re going to be after every point,” he said.

The Bourbon Ballers played and won seven matches at a regional tournament at the University of Louisville. They had more dodgeball experience than many other teams, Sobczyk said, so they would have been disappointed if they didn’t won.

“Our mindset was, ‘we want to get to Vegas,’” he said.

If the team makes it to the national tournament, they will win at least $2,000 and have an opportunity to win as much as $20,000.

If they learn Monday they aren’t heading west, Sobczyk expects he and others will gather a team  next year to try again. For now, he and his teammates are waiting to learn their fate.

“We’re still on the edge of our seats,” he said.

Kelly Cantrall can be reached at 270-505-1747 or kcantrall@thenewsenterprise.com.