October 5, 2010 Temperature: -17°C 1.4°F WindChill: -24°C -11°F
If I hadn’t decided to do something different, I would never have been able to participate in fantastic events.
Meal times at McMurdo is a lot like school cafeterias. As we enter the galley, we pick up a tray, go down the buffet line, scoop what we like onto our plate and then proceed out into the dining hall to find a table and enjoy our meal. And like school, there are certain tables that are always populated with certain cliques. The cool kids are at this table. The nerds/scientists sit at that table. The jocks/firefighters sit at that table. The outcasts are over there. The cheerleaders are over there. I looked for my own clique-y table. As one of the popular kids, I found it to be overly crowded and there wasn’t possibly a chance that I could wedge into any spot. I continued to look around and saw some acquaintances that I had spoken to in the hallways before (it really is like school around here), but never really hung out with. I sat down and made polite conversation.
Blah blah blah. How’s work. Blah blah blah. What are you doing tonight? I’m going to the Outdoor Safety Lecture so I can go out on hikes later in the season. What are you doing tonight? He says that he’s in the Dodgeball tournament tonight starting at 7:00. I went to the Dodgeball Tourney last year. It was awesome. The excitement, the adrenaline, the laughter … it is true McMurdo entertainment. I was sad I was going to miss it, but I had to go to the Safety Lecture, so I wished my acquaintance good luck.
The lecture, as all lectures go, was mind numbingly boring. It was done at about 7:30pm and I thought I’d check out the last bit of Dodgeball. Luckily, they were running late!!!
I managed to get there just as they were starting. The Big Gym, where the event was held, is contradictory to its name. It’s the size of a basketball court, which is a good sized playing field for the Dodgeballers, but there is only the smidgeonist bit of space for the fans. There is a staircase of the far side of the basketball court which is where I set up my cheerleading spot. I looked around to see the various teams. As with all McMurdo sports events, the teams were themed with costumes. There was a superhero team (Mr. Incredible, Batman, Sailor Moon and a few others who wore their underpants over the tights), two teams of Janos (which is short for Janitors, but were well dressed in bright, obnoxious colors and patterns nonetheless), the Fleet Ops group who all wore black sweatbands (boring!!!), and the Kiwis with their boring black shirts. This was owning up to an event that would not disappoint.
A head to head competition between the two Jano teams led the event. There were some veteran dodgeballers on the Jano team. I recognized them from last year. They play with skill and style. They can catch the ball, throw the ball, dodge the ball and do it all with flair. The first game was exciting. A Jano threw the ball at a speed so fast that it would have received a ticket from the State Patrol. He threw it so hard that it zipped past the other team, beyond the court and passed the waiting teams standing in the doorway. Amazingly, they all dodged the ball. It was like a scene from a comedy movie. The ball whizzed down to hit a straight line of spectators and each body ducked to one side or the other to dodge the ball.
There was another episode where all but one of the janitors were out and four strong members remained on the other team. It looked dismal for the jano. But in an amazing feat, the other team through their balls, the single jano caught them, brought his teammates back into the game and quickly took out the other team. The Superhero team was slaughtered in a shut out from the Janos. They went down as if paper dolls being hammered by a rock.
There was beer in the bleachers and we were cheering up a storm, mostly for the janos. I had to dodge three balls even though I wasn’t playing. They sure do make a sound as they are smacked onto a back wall. We pounded against the stairway banister, we whooped and yelled for our team. We booed the cheaters. We laughed at the fancy moves the dodgeballers played. We giggled as the only player left standing on the losing team was the token girl. We awed in amazement as we watched contortionists twist their bodies in unnatural ways to dodge a ball. I wasn’t playing, but I had such a fantastic time! I am so glad I went to the Dodgeball Tournament. I could have gone to the bar, I could have watched a movie in a friend’s room, I could have worked on my craft projects. I could have gone to bed early.
I am so glad that I tried something different or I wouldn’t have had such a fantastic time!!!