Forget the complicated strategy. When it comes to dodge ball, Molly Nichols of Overland Park said she really doesn't have much of a trick.
"I just throw it as hard as I can and hope that I can hit someone -- and hope they don't catch it," she said. "Just throw and hope."
Nichols was competing Sunday in the beginning rounds of the Dodge for a Cause 7 dodge ball tournament at Perceptive Software in Shawnee. She and other family members made up The Joe Show team, which is named after her sister-in-law Amy Scavuzzo's 13-year-old son, Joe, who has type 1 diabetes.
"It's just fun," said Scavuzzo.
This was the second year for their team.
The first rounds of the tournament, which benefits type 1 diabetes research, were held Saturday and Sunday. This year the tournament features 64 teams with more than 500 competitors, including some who haven't played the sport since grade school. More than 200 games will be played before next weekend's championship match.
"It is pretty competitive," said Lindsay Gentry, who does community relations for Perception Software and is a coordinator for Dodge for the Cause. "There are teams every year that come back, but there are teams who are playing for the first time. The competition is varied. Some folks haven't played dodge ball since the third grade."
The tournament is held on a court approved by the National Amateur Dodgeball Association in the basement of Perceptive Software's headquarters at 22701 W. 68th Terrace in Shawnee. Organizers said Dodge for a Cause 7 has raised nearly $21,000 for the Kansas City chapter of the JDRF, which previously was known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Since 2006, the tournament has generated nearly $110,000 for the JDRF.
This was the first year to compete for Katie Crews of Overland Park, who was on the corporate TEKsystems team.
"It's dodge ball. Who doesn't love dodge ball?" said Crews, who hadn't played since about the fourth grade.
When it comes to surviving the onslaught of yellow balls, Crews said her team developed a "very strategic plan."
"Just dodge," she said. "And throw hard. Actually I want to say we had a big plan, but not really. We are just competitive."
Being knocked out of one of the games had Ben Voran of Kansas City shaking his head as he walked to the bleachers.
"It stings a little bit," said Voran, who was a member of Medicine Ball, a team of co-workers from Intouch Solutions in Overland Park, which specializes in digital pharmaceutical marketing.
"I thought I had a good plan," he said. "They attacked the ball and beat me to it."
Voran said events like the tournament are great ways to raise awareness and money.
He said the game hasn't changed from his grade school days.
"It's still dip, duck, dodge," he said.