BY SAMMY KARDON
In the shimmering sunlight of the first Friday afternoon of spring, sixteen teams competed in the First Annual Harvard Law School Dodgeball Classic. Although very few HLS students have received formal dodgeball training (except, perhaps, for the tournament’s organizer, 1L Brendon Carrington), sixteen teams of fifteen players each signed up for the single-elimination bracket-style tournament, and a good time was had by all.
But the best time of all was had by the Purple Cobras, the team that braved darkness and three rounds of best-of-three sets and a best-of-five final to secure the coveted championship t-shirts.
“We were in to win it when we thought to begin it,” team captain Alex D’Amico ’07 beamed. “I told my kids the truth – if you’re not first, you’re last – and they sure as heckfire listened.”
It was not all quite so serious, though. The tournament began at 3:30 and the Purple Cobras played first, shutting out an overmatched Team Parody before time expired twice (sets are decided by whichever team has more players remaining after four and a half minutes).
The elite eight was not scheduled to begin until 5:30, so the Cobras took off their cleats and headed over to the keg to refresh themselves and mingle with competition and spectators.
“There were some serious hotties out there that afternoon,” left mid-fielder Mike Blank recalled. “But, to be honest, I was more focused on the free beer.”
As the tournament wore on, teams were eliminated one by one, sometimes pausing to dispute rules and outs (one of the hazards of law school dodgeball) until only two were left: the Purple Cobras and Make It Rain (“MIR”).
The Purple Cobras jumped out to a quick two sets to love lead, and the level of play was quite high. It was now getting near sundown and the two squads had been battling for well over five hours in the hot sun. MIR would not go gently into that good night, though, storming back to win the next two and force a decisive game five. With the clock turned off to ensure the validity of the championship, the pressure was on.
“At one point in the final round, Matt Senatore threw out his rotator cuff,” flanker Soren Aahndahl recalled. “But he stayed in the game, caught three balls and nailed one of their best players. That’s just how we do. That’s our team. That’s Purp.”
Many of the other Cobras were hurting, too, but the strains and bruises were assuaged by the pain-killing rush of victory.
MIR co-captain Joe Fabiani ’07 was borderline inconsolable after the loss. “This totally ruins my entire law school experience,” he groaned. “I wanted to go out a winner, but instead I have to pretend to write a 3L paper.”
Some were more circumspect about impending graduation.
“My only regret is that I won’t get to play in this next year,” said centerfielder Eric Boorstin ’07. “This was such a great event, they should expand to invite teams from other law schools to come in for the weekend; it would be a veritable World Series of Law School Dodgeball.”
Good idea, Eric.