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Dodgeball For Fun, Charity

Adults in Naugatuck will do their best Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) impressions from the 2004 film "Dodgeball" this weekend.

"Ready. Set...Dodgeball!" 

Few can forget the action packed sequences of the 2004 comedy "Dodgeball" starring Vince Vaughn, Ben Stiller and Connecticut's own Rip Torn (that's Patches O'Houlihan to you).

I remember sitting in the theater with my fellow over-aged and under-matured grad school buddies thinking, "How fun does that look?" and "Maybe this game isn't just for kids." And apparently, so did everyone else. 

Soon, adult dodgeball games, and even some leagues, started popping up all over the country. And members of the Naugatuck Fire Fighters Union Local 1219 decided they could turn America's obsession with pelting other adults into a fun fundraiser. So in 2010, the union held its first dodgeball tournament, raising thousands of dollars for the charities it supports, including local youth sports leagues, the YMCA and several other nonprofit organizations.

"It's just a great time," said union President Todd Gallino, event organizer. "Everybody has a lot of fun."

The third-annual tournament will be held on Saturday at Naugatuck High School. It starts at 10 a.m. and is scheduled to end around 2 p.m., when everyone will leave and head to Jesse Camille's Restaurant for an after-party. 

As of recently, there were 18 teams signed up and Gallino had hoped to cap it at 20. He plans to give each team two practice games and let them play in a double-elimination tournament. For information, contact Gallino at tgallino@gmail.com and/or visit the event's Facebook page.

This year, the tournment has a special cause it is raising money for. While funds will still be collected for various local nonprofits, all door admission will be donated to The Dawn Lafferty Hochsprung Memorial Scholarship Fund.

I will be playing on a team with some family and friends of Dawn, a Naugatuck native who was principal at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She died trying to protect students on Dec. 14.

And I know that if Dawn were here, she'd say sarcastically, "You're playing what? Dodgeball? When are you going to grow up?" And of course I'd say, "Haven't you heard? It's not just for kids anymore."

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