RALEIGH — Sporting sweat bands, knee-high socks and fierce faces, a team of adults and their coworkers lined up to face their opponents, each side ready to pelt one another with rubber balls as hard as they could.
Rap music from the 1990s contributed to the old-school feel of the game. But this wasn’t P.E. class. These folks were serious.
About 40 teams totaling 300 participants competed against each other on Saturday near downtown Raleigh at the intersection of West Martin and South Harrington Streets in the RDU International Dodgeball Charity Challenge. Teams were made up of young professionals from tech companies across the Triangle.
The event was sponsored by Magnus Health to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wake County to buy a bus.
During one round, Daniel Nkemonton, who works at a tech company Trans Loc, was the last one in the game for his team.
He and one opponent, each in their respective team’s matching shirts, continued to try to smack each other with a ball from a distance of about 15 feet. It went back and forth with each one looking like they were walking on coals dancing around to dodge the ball.
To win, one of them would have to hit the other with the ball, or catch the ball.
Nkemonton crouched as the ball came at him. He caught it. It slipped out of his hands, as he began to fall backwards. He caught it again and continued to fumble the ball until he finally landed on his back on the ground, ball in hand. His team rushed the court.
Game over, and a win for the “Trans-Locness Monsters.”
“He’s the hero,” said Curt Pasfield, one of Nkemonton’s teammates.
During the week, the Trans Loc employees use GPS systems to track local transit systems.
“We didn’t have any time to practice but yesterday we spent half a day of work painting our T-shirts,” said Tim Nicklas. Their T-shirts were neon green with handmade paintings of the Loch Ness monster.
Nkemonton said the event reminded him of something that would take place in Portland, where lived before recently moving to Raleigh.
Teams from Citrix, Empire Properties, Centerline, Bandwidth and several other companies came out for the event.
“It’s like the who’s who of local tech professional companies right now,” said Emily Fausch, who played on a team for Empire Properties.
Each team paid $500 to play, with proceeds going to support the Boys and Girls Clubs of Wake County.
“We track buses for work so that was a great tie-in for us,” Pasfield said.
A good cause
Magnus Health, which provides software to schools for student medical records, chose the Boys and Girls Club as their charity to support throughout the year. Every day, they send an employee to volunteer at the club for up to four hours.
“It’s about donating time and money,” said Allen Cobb, chief operating officer of Magnus Health, who organized the event.
Cobb said they didn’t want to do another 5K or something that’s already being done. He says this will be an annual event for the company.
The best of the best came out to play.
Rachel Zarkin, who works at Bandwith, and Jennifer Edinger, who works at Republic Wireless, part of Bandwidth, competed in an internal competition just to get to play on their company’s teams.
Sixty people competed for a spot on one of two teams, each with eight people.
One team was made up of the winning team from the company-wide tournament. Another team was made up of the “all stars” from the tournament.
“We have faith one of our teams will win out here,” Zarkin said in the middle of the day. “It’s gonna happen.”