Year 8 teams from schools around Thanet competed for the honour of being crowned ‘Thanet Secondary Dodgeball Champions’. The annual tournament took place at the impressive facilities of Ramsgate’s Royal Harbour Academy and featured schools from across the Isle.

I have been involved in school Sport for nearly twenty years and, in all that time, Dodgeball was a constant favourite amongst students of all ages and playing abilities. It has always been a great ‘leveller’, with the more sporty players often taking the biggest risks, often leaving those less keen on sport as unlikely heroes in their team. The ruthless nature of the sport – one mistake and you’re out of the game – also means that the result of a one-off game can never be a foregone conclusion.

Each school fielded two teams which played in separate Round Robins in order to qualify for the finals. The games were quickly underway and from the first match you could feel the excitement and tension building. Every school playing was out to win … there was no ‘making up the numbers’  today. The spectators and resting teams played their part as well. Their cheers were only occasionally interrupted by laughter at an unfortunate head shot, or a momentary silence as the game’s umpires deliberated a close decision.

Eventually, as the whistle signalled the end of the Round Robin games, the students were given a well-deserved break (we had cakes and drinks) while the scores were calculated.

This seemed the perfect opportunity for the PE staff from all of the competing schools to show these youngsters how the game should be played as they took to the court for an impromptu ‘Exhibition Game’. The Year 8 students loved it. I thought they would be cheering their own staff on but they all seemed united in wanting to see their own teachers struck by a flying dodgeball. Luckily, the noise from the crowd drowned out any creaking joints as each ‘hit’ was greeted with laughter. I had one particular group of girls (who will remain anonymous) asking me to make sure I could get the ‘perfect photo’ of their poor teacher if he received a head shot.

After the teachers game (I couldn’t even tell you who won as I was laughing too much) the hall fell silent as the top four teams were announced. St George’s A Team were to play Dane Court B Team for third place and Dane Court A Team were to compete with CCGS A Team for the prestigious title.

Both games were tense affairs but eventually Dane Court A Team were crowned Thanet Secondary Dodgeball Champions 2018, with CCGS A Team coming second and St George’s A Team winning their game to come third.

I really enjoyed my visit to the school where I’d worked for seventeen years and it was lovely to see some former colleagues again. I won’t leave it so long next time. I would like to thank Mr Capeling and his fantastic team at Royal Harbour Academy for being such great hosts (that cake really was lush) and congratulate them on such a fantastic tournament. Thanks also to the visiting staff and, of course, to all of the youngsters who participated in the tournament – your attitudes were exemplary and you are all a credit to your respective schools.

The overwhelming feeling I had throughout the afternoon was that everyone there was having fun and, to me, that’s what sport should be about at this age. If young people are enjoying what they are doing, they are far more likely to choose sport as a lifelong activity.

Please take a look through our gallery of the Dodgeball Tournament and feel free to share this article with anyone who may be interested.