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Dodge for a Cause

Dodge for a CauseDental students raise funds for a classmate by letting loose and playing a competitive game of dodgeball.

Boston [04.13.09] On Mar. 31 the Tufts School of Dental Medicine Class of 2012 went from drilling teeth to drilling each other, dodgeball style.

The popular team sport that many grew up playing in gym class became an outlet for stress that night with 16 teams of six coming together at the Wang YMCA in Chinatown.

"I felt the event was more of a friendly gathering of the whole D'12 class when you see pictures being taking and everyone socializing with one another," says Kevin Duong, one of the tournament referees. "Classmates who didn't play in the tournament came out to support the class as cheerleaders, photographers, referees and scorer."

Game organizer, Katherine Dubois says she got the idea after she spent the night before an exam watching the movie Dodgeball, a 2004 comedy about two rival gym owners competing in a championship dodgeball tournament.

After watching the film, Dubois says the idea of throwing dodgeballs at her classmates stuck in her mind, so she decided to seek a more humanitarian route to "fulfill this fantasy in the least selfish of ways, while still getting to throw dodgeballs at classmates."

Since the event was already about the camaraderie of the 2012 class, Dubois found it only fitting to organize it as a fundraiser for fellow classmate Catherine Dahl, who ever since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in December 2008 has received overwhelming support from her classmates.

"They give freely of time and money, both of which I know they often do not have enough of," Dahl says. "My classmates have held fundraisers in the form of movies and book sales, as well as cooked and delivered food to my house. One of my classmates even wrote letters to family and friends explaining my situation and raised a substantial sum."

 


Through the help of these monetary contributions, Dahl has been able to afford amenities that have helped make her life easier, such as hiring a cleaning service and getting food deliveries. The $175 raised through team dues for the tournament was added to the past support.

The tournament was single elimination, each team attempting to hit members of the opposite team with a ball and thereby strike them out. The team with no members remaining loses. Following the rules of the movie, crossing the middle line was prohibited and a caught ball allowed an eliminated teammate to return to play.

Participants of the sixteen teams wore coordinating uniforms, which Dubois says "ranged from simple sweatbands and high socks to elaborate professional-looking t-shirts or even costumed wigs." Dentistry even made it to the court, as one enterprising team planned their shirts to read "Amalgamators" (amalgam is used in tooth fillings) with the numbers of different dental burs, which are used in dental drills, on the back.

"It was so fun, I'm sure I hadn't laughed so much in a long time," says Dahl. "Observers, myself included, were equally as likely to get hit by a ball as contestants. I am hoping that our class makes it an annual event so that I can play next year."

Everyone who participated or watched the spectacle was excited to make the tournament a tradition.The outrageous costumes, raucous laughter and cheering and competitive spirit of the D'12 class made the tournament a runaway success.

"After the event we donated our dodgeball supplies to the YMCA, so they can be used year round and also just in case we want to make this a yearly event we'll have some stuff ready for us," Dubois says. "Whatever money we raise in the future will be distributed among charities of interest to the class."

For Dahl, the fun of the tournament was surpassed by the unwavering compassion and support of her classmates.

"I am continually overwhelmed and amazed at my classmates at Tufts Dental School. These young men and women are phenomenal," Dahl says. "When I make it through my treatment this year I will owe much of it to the wonderful people I am privileged enough to call my classmates and friends at Tufts. Words can not even begin to express my gratitude."

Story by Kelsey Anderson (A'11). Photos by Alonso Nichols, Tufts University Photography.

 

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