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Dodgeball tournament benefits ‘Pink Zone’

Aubrey Butts | Wednesday, December 7, 2011


After learning about Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC) disease at a lecture this fall, sophomore Ashley Barraza contacted Dean of Science Gregory Crawford, who biked cross-country with his wife the two previous summers to raise awareness for the disease, with an interest in giving back.

During the brainstorming process, an event to benefit NPC morphed into a benefit for breast cancer and the inaugural “Dodge Stress, Fight Cancer” dodgeball tournament was born.

The event took place Wednesday night at the Rolf’s Sports Recreation Center. 

“Increasing breast cancer awareness and discovering ways to fight this disease is a really important cause, especially at Notre Dame,” Barraza said. “Dean Crawford really supports this initiative, so we wanted to raise awareness and help monetarily in a small way.” 

Barraza and Crawford ultimately decided to support Pink Zone, a national initiative dedicated to raising funds for breast cancer awareness in women’s basketball, on campuses and in communities, according to the Notre Dame athletics website. 

Barraza credited Crawford with conceiving the idea for a dodgeball tournament. 

“Playing dodgeball was Dean Crawford’s idea. After seeing some students playing at Rolfs one day, he said it looked like a lot of fun,” Barraza said. “We both thought joining dodgeball with fundraising was unique and an effective way to target a wide range of students.” 

Undergraduates, graduate students, MBA students, representatives from Notre Dame athletics and professors participated in the event. 

“Dr. Hyde and the Knockout Genes,” a genetics study group, included a professor, a teaching assistant and undergraduate students.

Sophomore Kevin Matuszewski, a member of Dr. Hyde’s team, viewed the tournament as a way to bond with his fellow group members.

“We have gotten to know each other pretty well throughout the year, so this was a good way to have fun with our professor and with each other,” Matuszewski said.

Matuszewski also commented on Crawford’s eager participation.

“You see a darker side of Dean Crawford,” Matuszewski said. “He brought his whatever it takes attitude into a new arena.” 

Zahm Hall’s team was excited to continue their dodgeball dominance while also getting the opportunity to contribute to a great cause.

“Originally, we signed up because we won the interhall dodgeball championship, but the deciding factor was the cause,” junior Casey Lilek said. “Supporting others is what Zahm is all about.”

While Zahm eventually lost to “Where My Money At,” a team of MBA students, Barraza said they played hard the entire tournament.

Based on preliminary numbers, Barraza believes the tournament raised around $1,000, which was much higher than she expected.

“I am really happy with the outcome,” Barraza said. “Everyone was really enthusiastic and competitive, and I think all the participants had a lot of fun.”