Posted by: Jimmy Bragg on September 22nd, 2010The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of the Utah Jazz.
I was one of the lucky winners of the 1320 KFAN dodge barrage contest. I never win anything (just like everyone else), so when Scotty G called me I was pretty much in shock. All I had to do was text “dodge” to the KFAN station and the cell phone gods smiled on me.
The following post will hopefully give a good description of what happened at the dodgeball tournament and how last Saturday was one of the craziest days I have experienced in a long time.
We arrived and the Salt Palace and checked in at 7:45 a.m. as we were directed to do via the email from KFAN. The lady at the table said that our team name was “Jazz” and that our first game was at noon. My head was still a little foggy from waking up at the crack of dawn so I had to ask her again what time we were to play.
My friend and I drove up from Orem, so we weren’t about to jump back in the car and drive back home. It was cool though; we saw some people we knew and mingled and whatnot.
While watching the morning round robin session, we tried in vain to find the other members of the 1320 team. Unlike all the other teams, we had no t-shirts or uniforms to identify our 1320 KFAN team.
It was around 12:30, which was 15 minutes before our first game, that we were able to find the rest of our team. We were all average, semi-athletic-looking and one of the ”guys” on our team looked exactly like Smalls from the movie The Sandlot. My buddy and I resorted to the fact that this might be a one-and-done type of thing and decided to just relax and enjoy the moment.
The players on the first team we were supposed to play said that they were disappointed because the schedule said they were going to be playing the “Jazz” and a Smalls and a bunch of other nobodies showed up. That didn’t get things off to a great start as we were about to begin our first dodgeball game. Our feelings changed however when we came from behind to win.
The next team was comprised of a bunch of grown men from Harley Davidson. We figured that the first game was a fluke and prepared ourselves for what was sure to be a bum-whooping. So, I guess you could imagine our surprise when we beat them two games to one.
For some crazy reason, we just kept winning. We finished the round robin series with a 4-0 record, which gave us a high seed in the tournament. Remember, this barrage was full of teams that had coordinated their efforts, whether it was making uniforms/matching t-shirts, actually practicing, etc. We were a girl (not that that’s bad or anything…she played GREAT!), Smalls from Sandlot, and six other guys that had just met and were matching only in that we were all wearing shoes.
We miraculously won the first couple of games in the tournament (which was single elimination) and before we knew it, we found ourselves in the sweet sixteen.
REMEMBER: From what I heard, there were a total of 96 teams in the whole Dodge Barrage contest.
By this time, the real Jazz team (which consisted of DWill, Ronnie Price, Kyle Korver, Big Al and others) had already begun playing other teams. We found out by looking at the big brackets posted on the fence that we had to only beat one more team to make it to the final eight and play the Jazz players team (Ghostbusters). We all talked about how cool that would have been to play the Jazz, and I say “would have been” because the team we were about to face were the guys from Excel fitness. These guys were like The Beast to our Scott Smalls. They all made sure that everyone could see that they had all excelled at fitness.
They started the first set on fire and we quickly lost. The second set we came from behind and won. It all came down to one set; our only chance to play against DWill and the boys. The final set lasted for what seemed like eternity and as the buzzer sounded, signaling the end of the game, we somehow had 4 guys on the court and they had 3…which meant that we were the winner.
You would really have to see a picture of our team and most of the other teams (sadly no one had a camera) to get the full picture of really how miraculous this run was. We literally were the Average Joe’s and we had somehow made it to the final eight teams left and were now going to play against the Jazz players.
Needless to say, we had our Cinderella story handed to us against the Jazz players. Personally, I did get Korver and Jefferson out. (I mean, how many people can really say that?)
I had the honor of being the last player standing against 4+ NBA players…and I had to smile as the ball slammed against my chest for the final out. It was pretty much the perfect ending to what I thought was going to be a long and uneventful day. These players that I spend hours and hours watching every single year, were now solely focused on me. The experience was surreal and I am glad that I was lucky enough to be on the 1320 team.
The opportunity was one that I will never forget both because of the Hoosiers-like way we kept winning and for the chance to play against the Jazz and be a part of a great charitable day.
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