After Mount St. Mary University (MSMU) Campus Recreation ran a successful blacklight dodgeball tournament last fall, the department will be making the sport a permanent program.
Kristofer DeJesus, the associate director of MSMU Campus Recreation — Intramurals, Club Sports and Adventures, said his department first collaborated with Student Activities in creating the event. DeJesus formerly played competitive dodgeball and was on Team USA in 2022 for the sport. His experience and previous positive Blacklight Rec Nights laid the groundwork for the new offering.
“I really enjoy dodgeball and have shared that joy with students at my school to the point where dodgeball is now more popular than flag football,” said DeJesus. “I never ran a blacklight rec event before, but I played glow dodgeball a bunch of times in the past. So, I wanted to bring something like that to the university. Dodgeball has become a popular intramural at our school, so I figured let’s try to make dodgeball even crazier by adding the blacklight element to it.”
DeJesus said students received blacklight dodgeball very well. They were excited for an event that was different from the norm. Many even came to the tournament in all-black outfits so they were harder to see while playing.
Blacklight Dodgeball Details
The tournament took place in the Campus Recreation field house which has four basketball courts. One court held two dodgeball courts. A second court ran cornhole, Kan Jam, Spikeball, and other glow-in-the-dark yard games for students accompanied by a DJ. The other two courts were unused since it was a first-time idea for those on staff.
“We knew there would be an opportunity for growth if this initial blacklight event kicked off well,” said DeJesus. “We created two dodgeball courts with USA Dodgeball Dimensions by using tape that glowed/reflected the blacklights shining down from balconies. Pink, orange and green duct tape worked. We also used glow-in-the-dark dodgeballs that also reflected blacklight.”
DeJesus said since students were out late at night spending energy, they provided pizza to help them refuel. The DJ kept the energy up with fun music, and USA Dodgeball rules were used. In fact, those regulations are one reason why leagues and tournaments have improved.
“The rules help so much in helping officials control such a chaotic event and sport,” said DeJesus. “The opening rush and burden rules help stop collisions and stalling. The live ball rules make it easier to explain and call players out who were hit. Dodgeball can be a game that’s easy for officials to lose control of. Adding darkness and a blacklight do not make it easy. Rules that are easy to understand and enforce are key to keeping this event fast and fun.”
Benefits, the Future and Advice
Moving forward, DeJesus said Campus Recreation wants to promote for participants to wear white, so everyone is glowing for visual and safety reasons. “We also plan on adding some things to the event like glow-in-the-dark mini golf,” he said. “We are looking to add a giant inflatable and having glow-in-the-dark fitness classes at the same time to give students more options.”
DeJesus said the blacklight event benefits Campus Recreation because it provides an opportunity to collaborate with the Student Activities Office and programming board. Student Activities does their own lighting at events and has their own blacklights, so they were able to assist.
“They brought over their games that were set up to glow in the dark and helped split the cost of the pizza,” said DeJesus. “Our hopes for the future are to make this event even bigger so that students have more to do when they’re not playing. Also, some students may not be able to or may not want to play dodgeball but want to take part in the blacklight activities. Providing fun alternatives to dodgeball at this event is the next step in taking this event from Blacklight Dodgeball to Blacklight Rec Night.”
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