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Eagle Rock Yacht Club gives gift of dodgeball to local kids

Kids playing dodgeball at the Eagle Rock Yacht Club
Kids playing dodgeball at the Eagle Rock Yacht Club
Rainbeau Tharp/Eagle Rock Yacht Club

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And now, Dodgeball: the 600 year old sport so loved by elementary and middle schoolers has become not only an ironic trend for adults, but a way to do good here in Los Angeles.

Formed in 2008, The Eagle Rock Yacht Club organizes competitive Dodgeball games in Glassell Park, Venice and North Hollywood for neighborhood kids. According to yacht club co-founder Craig Fowler, the games started out with only a turnout of 10. He said that many kids, mostly from lower income families, now gladly give up their Friday nights to play.

"It's a very safe, fun atmosphere on a Friday night, which is something that I don't think that’s very prevalent around here, so we really try and foster that kind of thing," he said.

Ellie Schob, 12, said she looks forward to dodgeball because it's a fun way to exercise. "There are a lot of things on TV that promote kids to sit on the couch all day, but this group really helps us stay active," she said. Schob added that if she wasn't at the yacht club playing Dodgeball, she would either be watching television or doing homework.

"My dad always tells me, 'Do your homework and then you can go to Dodgeball.' So, he's kind of bribing me sometimes," Schob said.

Jesus Ramirez, 13, echoes Schob’s enthusiasm for the game even though he sometimes gets hit by a ball. “It hurts, because if you don’t catch it then you're out, and it kind of gives you a bruise after a day," he said. According to Ramirez, Dodgeball is a healthy alternative to what he would usually be doing – playing video games.

The two young kids seem to grasp the club's goal for providing the sport: getting kids active. "Every kid loves Dodgeball. I think we can all remember when we were kids, how excited we would get on rainy days, and that was an opportunity to play dodgeball," said the Yacht Club’s Chris Alves. "We're definitely trying to use that and spin that off into leadership programs, and getting the kids involved in either photography, or screen printing, or nutrition and cooking classes."