Dodgeball and mustache aficionados will unite this weekend in Silverlake, when the World Dodgeball Society will host its 10-year anniversary tournament, called “The Burt — Dodgeball + Mustache Expo”.
The event will draw several participants from the local area. In fact, the society’s roots can be traced back to the Hollywood Recreation Center on Cole Avenue, which was the first gym to let the society indulge in the elementary school pastime, president and founder Michael “Handsome” Costanza said.
“That’s where it all began,” he said.
Costanza said he’s been playing dodgeball “as a way of therapy” for several years. It is reminiscent of a more carefree time, when people’s only worries were an upcoming spelling test and whether the boy or girl they had a crush on liked them back, he said. If a person failed, they could relieve their stress on the dodgeball court.
“Not a lot has changed, except a lot of people have gone through puberty,” Costanza said. “A lot of people have jobs.”
With dodgeball still being therapeutic in that regard, the society complements the games with music and fun events. Costanza said the most memorable moments on the court are not hard-fought victories or stunning athletic plays, but when something funny happens.
“That’s why we always encourage good and bad dancers to join us,” he said, referencing the Chicken Dance, the Robot and the Moonwalk. “Those translate very well on the dodgeball court.”
Costanza said the game is “kind of an alternative activity” for people who aren’t really into sports, but still enjoy being social and active. Whereas sports such as soccer and basketball can have some down time, seven balls are in play at all times in dodgeball, offering participants more opportunities to find their “moment to shine,” he said.
“We incorporate music, so you’re always kind of in a groove, even if the ball isn’t coming at you,” Costanza added.
He expects more than 300 people to participate in this weekend’s tournament. Although two divisions are already sold out, the society does have slots available for its newbie division, which competes on Sunday. Individuals looking to participate can find teammates by posting on the society’s Facebook page, or send them an e-mail at email@example.com.
“We want to get as many fun-loving people playing dodgeball [as possible],” Costanza said, adding that competitions are not “too intense.”
However, for those who are not interested in dodgeball, the anniversary celebration will likely appeal to fans of facial hair.
On Friday, the society will host its “Mustache Ball”, which will include bands, DJs and “all sorts of tomfoolery that involves mustaches,” such as slow-dancing, Costanza said.
“At the end of the day, we are about spreading mustache awareness,” he said, adding that the event is named after Burt Reynolds. “He’s the patron saint of mustaches.”
Costanza said the event will provide a safe haven for participants to embrace upper lip hair. He said mustaches often get a bum rap for no good reason, as they are frequently associated with villains in movies.
“It’s just something that’s become taboo,” said Costanza, who is biased in this regard. “We’re here to tell people good guys and good girls can wear moustaches and be proud.” He reluctantly added that those with beards and goatees can also attend.
For baby-faced dodgeball players, the World Dodgeball Society offers several events throughout the year, such as “Belles of the Balls”, an all-girls tournament; the “Halloween Spooktacular”; and charity comedy shows, which benefit the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.
“We like to pride ourselves on being active in the community we play in,” Costanza said.
Additionally, the society has 18 different leagues in the greater Los Angeles area, including some in West Hollywood and Hollywood. The organization has also spread out to other cities, such as Chicago and San Francisco.
“We’ve been fortunate to be able to help kind of grow community dodgeball,” Costanza said.
For information, visit www.dodgeball4ever.com.
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