Music blared from Alumni Hall on Saturday, Feb. 8, as members of the Fairfield community came together for the Department of Public Safety Dodgeball Tournament.
This was the second annual tournament and it aimed to raise money for Special Olympics Connecticut.
Ten teams gathered on the basketball courts for a single elimination tournament following a few round robin games. The teams came from all over the Bridgeport areas, representing the Fairfield and Bridgeport police and fire departments, the correction department of the Greater Bridgeport Area, DPS and Fairfield University’s G-Force Security unit.
As more and more teams were eliminated, cheers filled the room with every win paired with a combination of handshakes, butt slaps and high-fives. Players became more competitive as the tournament became more and more passionate, with some people throwing up their hands in frustration, letting out audible sighs and grunts of disappointment. Aside from these occasional outbursts, the games remained jovial and full of camaraderie as teams laughed with each other and joked around.
Each round was a mad melee of flying dodgeballs, with some hitting the surrounding stands with fervor.
The teams came with a variety of creative names, including “Cell Block 6” and “Hard Time Targets” for the teams from the Bridgeport Correctional Center, and “Average Slows” from Partners Café.
Jim Simonelli, a Fairfield University DPS officer, was one of the organizers of the event. “Myself and Officer Melanie Kaninski kind of spear-headed the event and we’re the ones that put it together,” he said. “This event will raise over $5,000.”
Simonelli said he was proud of the event and excited that the Fairfield community was involved, including the local businesses that sponsored it in conjunction with the University.
The final bracket was a best of three rounds, pitting the Fairfield Fire Department against “Cell Block 6.” Players launched dodgeballs at each other to the pulsating beat of Salt-N-Pepa’s “Push It.” A brief but heated argument broke out between the two teams over a player who believed he wasn’t out after getting hit in the leg with a ball. However, after only a minute, the teams let it go and continued on with the game. In the end, the Fairfield Fire Department won after winning two rounds in a row. They now have won both of the annual tournaments and plan to continue their winning streak according to one of the team members.
At the very end of the tournament, the MC announced that the event had raised well over $5,000 and after a cheer went up from the crowd, the teams headed to the Levee for some well-deserved lunch.