Social Skills is a monthly column featuring community groups where you can meet new people through exercise or other enjoyable activities.
There’s nothing quite like a good old fashioned game of dodgeball. Ever since the all-American sport was catapulted to global acclaim by the 2004 film by the same name, which documented the unpolished heroics of a mismatched band of good-hearted average Joes, an entire generation of would-be athletes has never looked back.
In many ways, GZ Dodge, the local face of the sport in Guangzhou, embodies much of the ethos of that widely loved comedy. The club, founded in May of 2017, has hosted pickup games each Thursday night in Taojin, where everyone is welcome to try their hand, regardless of gender or ability.
“It’s really open to everybody,” organizer Shane Harris tells us. “The nice thing about dodgeball is that you don’t necessarily need to start out being good at it. It’s something you can pick up. It’s a really easy game, there’s not many rules to think about.”
The club, which recently kicked back into action after a brief hiatus during the Spring Festival season, embraces a DIY approach to cooperative fun and fitness.
“We play on one half of a rented indoor tennis court, facing off width-wise,” Harris explains. “We’re always really excited to go play. It’s a great feeling because you’re doing something that not many people do. It’s a new activity to learn if you’ve never really played it before. And it’s very light hearted, we don’t really take it that seriously.”
Teams are picked on the spot based on how many people show up, and shuffled frequently throughout the evening to keep things fresh. On crowded days, two games can be run simultaneously on either side of the court, with the net serving as a barrier. “There’s plenty of room to take on newcomers.”
Other than the cost of the court rental, which is split evenly between the attendees (usually RMB20-50 per person), there are no costs associated with the weekly gathering – just a wholesome group of city-dwellers getting together for some sweaty, spirited fun. And what better way to blow off steam after a long week than hurling foam projectiles at friends and acquaintances with all the force and fury you can muster?
To get in on the action, meet at Taojin Station Exit B at 7.40pm on Thursdays, or get in touch with Shane on WeChat (ID: ‘Suetonius’).
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[Cover image via WikiHow]