Earlier this summer, friends of a fallen Waterloo High School classmate created a dodgeball league to honor their friend and raise money for the Max Paul Memorial Scholarship.
In February, shortly after Paul died due to complications from muscular dystrophy, his friends held a dodgeball tournament. The tournament was planned before Paul died, but its success provided the germ of an idea.
“When it came around summer time we thought people would like a dodgeball league, so we put one together and thought we should donate some of the proceeds to the scholarship,” WHS graduate Dallas Morrow said.
The league’s games were played at Grand Slam Sports Academy in Columbia from June 12 to July 1. Morrow’s father, Tony, owns the business.
The entry fee was $25 per player. As many as 16 teams of five to seven players participated.
In addition to Morrow, fellow WHS graduates Justin Kohler and Quinten Albrecht helped organize the league.
Morrow said the group decided to create a league instead of a tournament both to raise more money and help participants feel like they were getting their money’s worth.
“We wanted to do the league because we thought we could ask for more money that way to put more money in the scholarship fund,” Dallas Morrow said. “We asked for $25 a person, and it seemed kind of wrong to ask for $25 for only a one day thing. So we thought if we did a three-week league it would make that $25 seem a little more worth it.”
Players in the league ranged from ages 14-20. The teams could be coed. Each team played nine games.
Morrow said contacting people to play in the league was the most stressful part of organizing the effort.
He used word of mouth to get the necessary players.
“I was asking anybody and everybody if they wanted to play,” he said. “I told them if they knew anybody who wanted to play to get a team together. I probably contacted 200 people asking them to play.”
When the league began, more than 66 people made up the teams.
Although as many as 16 teams played in the regular season, only 12 teams played in the playoff tournament on the last day of the league because four could not make it.
The teams came from across the area, including Freeburg, Red Bud and Valmeyer.
The winning team, called Where We Dropping, Boys?, earned a cash prize, as did the second and third place teams.
During the playoff tournament, the league also hosted a 50/50 raffle that raised $120.
“The playoff tournament actually went really well,” said Morrow, who will be attending Missouri S&T in the fall. “Just about every single day we played there was one or two teams telling me they couldn’t make it, which got pretty frustrating, but everyone was there the last day. We had a really good turnout. A lot of people showed up to watch.”
In addition to money raised from league fees and the raffle, others made donations. That brought the total to $5,000.
“It was a lot of support. It was nice,” Morrow said.
The Max Paul Memorial Scholarship is for seniors at WHS and was founded by Paul’s parents, Chuck and Monica.
A final benefit of the league was that it gave Morrow and his friends a way to honor and remember their friend without unpleasant emotions resurfacing.
“It’s not like when we’re just sitting around talking because sometimes it can just make the mood a little somber,” Morrow said. “We just wanted to have something where his name’s there, he’s involved and we just feel like we’re doing something with him.”
To combat uneven participation in the league, Morrow said in the future they will revert to single-day tournaments. He said he plans to make these an annual event during Christmas time.
No date has been set for the Christmas tournament. For updates, visit gsdodgeball.weebly.com or follow @GSMarchMayhem on Twitter.