The year 2003 brought a new way of life to the halls of Lister. Besides the opening of Schaffer Hall, 2003 was the inaugural year for the Lister Dodgeball League. For the first time, the walls of the newly constructed David Tuckey Gym echoed with the resounding smacks of balls against the wall and triumphant howls when a particularly powerful face-shot was executed. The group of individuals who formed the first executive team established the logos, jerseys and rules, creating the game we all love to this day.
Year One: The 2003-2004 Season
In 2003, the league consisted of 20 teams, some of which were inter-tower, made up of 690 players. Duke’s Diner sponsored each team, with players receiving the benefit of the current “AllStar Special” (five dollars off teamers when you wore your jersey). Before a game was played, an LDL official would check each player’s Residence Card at the gym doors to ensure they were on the team roster. Referees used a red card to denote penalties and there were no side referees. In the original “ten second rule”, teams consistently holding balls would forfeit the match at the referee’s discretion. The home team was given certain advantages over the other team. They chose the game styles played for games 1, 3, and 5 and moreover, had their choice of music. But, with this advantage, came drawbacks. The home team was responsible for organizing the singing of the national anthem, and would be penalized if teams failed to do so in a timely manner. Ties in the standings were broken by which team had incurred fewer penalties over the season, instead of the plus-minus point system we see today. The head referees decided the number of balls on the court before each game started.
The first AllStar tournament was held during the inaugural season in a completely different format. Two teams, Henday-Kelsey and Mackenzie-Schäffer were chosen, based solely on individual player’s MVP counts. The teams named Original Lister and Afterthought Lister battled it out over a best of five matches weekend, with the first LDL Pubcrawl taking place on the Saturday of the tournament.
In the beginning, there were five LDL game styles: Classic dodgeball, Doctor dodgeball, Double dodgeball, Corners, and Cones. Classic has remained the same throughout the years, but all other games have undergone significant changes over the years. The original Doctor dodgeball style had one doctor, however there was no net on the court. The doctor was safe inside what is now known as the assassins zone and had to drag players from all over the court back into this zone to bring them back to life. Double dodgeball was the ancestor of the Assassins style. Hit players went to the opposing side’s baseline and could only rejoin their team once they retrieved a ball and hit a player on the opposing side. Corners saw the court split into four sections with teams occupying two corners diagonal to one another. Balls were lined up on the center line of the gym for game start, and once the game was underway, you had to play dodgeball on two fronts, and could not leave your corner.
Cones used large yellow balls that were placed on four cones at the baseline of each side. A team lost once all four balls were knocked off their cones or all players were hit, whichever occurred first. However, if a cone ball was knocked down, players could attempt to sink the ball in the other teams basketball hoop. If successful, all knocked out players from their team could return to the court.
The 2004-2005 Season
Following the inaugural season, the rest of Lister quickly realized how much fun they had missed out on and league participation nearly doubled to 1200 participants and 34 teams for the 2004-2005 season. With the second season came the modernization of the AllStar tournament. Teams were chosen from each tower, by the Executive Team of the day, and played a three-day tournament during the last weekend of the Fall semester.
The league saw the first LDL rulebook published. The game style Double dodgeball was removed and side refereeing duties for teams was introduced.
Doctor dodgeball also saw the introduction of the Doctor Net, although it was placed much closer to the wall than it is today. The number of dodgeballs on the court was set at nine and the Head Referee randomly placed the Ball of Triumph on the court. The Ball of Triumph was a dodgeball coated in duct tape, which held devastating consequences.
Lister Dodgeball was starting to make a name for itself, which included Edmonton news station CFRN coming to do a piece on the peculiar league which had gained mass popularity over a year.
The 2005-2006 Season
Transitioning into the 2005-2006 season, the jerseys saw the inclusion of the target logo, the first one designed for the league. With two seasons in the books, the LDL started to see the attraction the league still had for alumni players, and because of this, the first Alumni tournament was introduced during the AllStar weekend of the 05-06 season. Both tournaments took place over the first weekend in March.
There where three modifications to the rulebook during this season. This was also the first year where a plus-minus score was used as a tiebreaker in the standings. Also new to this season was an alteration that would forever impact the league: The Ball of Shame. The Ball of Shame in those days was rarely seen as captains had the choice during game selection to choose the Ball of Shame or the Ball of Triumph. Captains almost always chose the Ball of Triumph to inflict maximum damage on their opposition.
2006 and On
The 06-07 season saw major changes to the LDL. Both Double Doctor and Assassins were introduced, making this season the only year that there were 5 possible match styles to choose from. The Ball of Triumph was removed. This was also the year the league was finally expanded to 36 teams, with player registrations topping out at 1400 players. The AllStar tournament was also expanded to take place over a week.
The 07-08 season brought about a few minor changes. Cones was cut, and the league was left with the four game styles we see today. Furthermore, the Game of the Week format was also introduced this season.
The 08-09 season was relative inactivity in terms of changes to the league. Rock-Paper-Scissors was introduced to call the coin toss. The winner of the toss would have the choice between calling games (1 and 4, or 2 and 5) or picking a side.
The 09-10 season brought along 1556 participants and a budget exceeding $65,000. Brand new to the David Tuckey was the score clock. This was also the first year that the LDL collaborated with the Students’ Union on Break the Record and Campus Cup. Break the Record saw 1,200 University of Alberta students come out to the Butterdome to set the world record for the largest dodgeball game ever played. The LDL provided the on-court management and officiating for the game.
The 10-11 season saw very little change from the previous season. Campus Cup was moved to November and Break the Record was organised yet again to the tune of 2,012 participants.
The 13-14 season saw the introduction of the first annual Lister AllStars vs UAB AllStars charity event that raised over $15,000 in pledges and donations.
Going into the LDL’s 13th season, the past 12 years of dodgeball action has led the league to the point we are at now. As we always say, Dodgeball is Everything to Everyone.