It's likely only the best dodgeball players can manage to backflip over a ball hurled at their head, but in Stratosphere Trampoline Park's weekly dodgeball games, backflips and 6-foot leaps are just another part of the game.
On Sunday, Stratosphere, in Sykesville, will host a charity dodgeball tournament to benefit the Humane Society of Carroll County. The tournament will feature 12 teams competing for first prize — a specialty medal and a photo on Stratosphere's Wall of Champions.
Evan Frock, Stratosphere's athletic coordinator, said the park has been hosting weekly trampoline dodgeball games since it opened last year but this is its first attempt at running a charity tournament.
"We wanted to do something to benefit the community and give back," Frock said. "We picked the Humane Society because we wanted to choose something a lot of people would want to support. People like the puppies."
Trampoline dodgeball rules follow standard dodgeball procedures, Frock said. The teams — six players each — compete until one team is completely eliminated or the time limit expires, in which case the team with the most players left wins the match. If someone is hit, they're out. If someone on the team catches a ball, an eliminated player is back in. During the tournament, each team competes in a round robin, with a guaranteed five matches. The groups will then be narrowed down to the finalists, who compete for the final prize.
Frock said the trampolines add a lot more speed to the game, which here are limited to 2 minutes apiece.
"It's quicker, so you always have to be looking," Frock said. "Because it's a smaller court, if you turn your back one second, you could get hit."
The trampolines add an acrobatic aspect to the game. According to Frock, teams often dodge balls by backflipping off the side trampolines. In the past, Stratosphere tournaments have drawn teams from as far away as Philadelphia and Richmond, Virginia.
In addition to the dodgeball tournament, Stratosphere will donate 30 percent of their proceeds from 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday to the Humane Society for all jumpers. In addition to money raised by registration and entrance fees, there will be a raffle, with prizes including an iPad Mini, a FitBit Flex and gift cards to local businesses.
Charles Brown, director of the Carroll County Humane Society, said the money raised at the tournament will go toward the shelter's spay and neuter programs. He said fundraisers like this are vital for the organization.
Frock said there are still a number of slots open for teams. Players must be 15 years or older.
If You Go:
When: 5 to 9 p.m. Sunday, July 26
Where: Stratosphere Trampoline Park, 1332 Londontowne Blvd., Suite 103, Sykesville
Cost: $35 per player, includes free use of park when team is not player. For jumpers, $10 for 30 minute jump, $15 for 60 minutes, $19 for 90 minutes, $22 for 120 minutes.