There was nothing but big grins and curveballs in Keaney Gym Friday night at the third annual University of Rhode Island Police Dodgeball Tournament.
The tournament was a free public event and hosted 20 teams of six to eight students varying from Greek Life to student organizations such as Student Alumni Association (SAA) to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Army ROTC.
“We try to invite everyone,” said Paul Hanrahan, URI Community Police Officer.
The event was originally created when Major Michael Jagoda of URI Police made Hanrahan the Community Police Officer. Hanrahan believed it was a “simple way of interacting with students and build friendship.” Over the years, Hanrahan has seen it grow more popular not only with those involved but attracting other students as spectators.
This year, there were over 150 students and community members in attendance. Hanrahan said it used to be held on Sundays, but after conflicting with NFL Sundays, the event was moved to a different day to accommodate more people. To make it seem more like a typical sporting event, free popcorn, hot dogs and water were provided all night long.
The gym was divided by a large net down the middle of the court so two games could be happening at all times. Army ROTC acted as referees, calling out who was competing against who and making sure everyone understood the rules while still having a good time.
Although there was a strong sense of competition, the gym was filled with a lighthearted tone of friendliness between teams and authority. There wasn’t a rigidness between the officers and students—rather, there was a sense of community and bonding.
“It’s a good way to interact with students,” Hanrahan said.
Cadets from the Rhode Island Police Academy participated in the tournament, dominating several teams to the point of last man standing on the opposing team. The cadets are training to become part of the URI Police Department in the near future, and this event gave them the opportunity to experience the community between police and students.
Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) fraternity held a 4-0 streak for the majority of the night, defeating teams left and right within minutes of complete destruction.
“We have really good athletes,” said Nick Andreozzi, President of FIJI. “FIJI backs URI Police 100 percent. Tonight means a lot to us, and there’s a great showing here at URI.”
FIJI didn’t make it as far as the semi-finals, losing to Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE). In the semi-finals, SAE beat a team named CSS, both strong teams with a strong winning streak. When the finals rolled around, teams who were close to the final bracket stayed and cheered from the stands for either SAE or a group called the Shooters, a mix of members belonging to different fraternities. In the final round, the Shooters beat SAE in a best of three.
“Everyone was more enthusiastic this year,” said Specialist Lewis Walton. “[There was] good leadership, teamwork and ability, and everyone had a good time. I had fun coaching and reffing, everyone tried their best.”
Teams were awarded free apparel provided by the National Guard, URI Athletics and URI Campus Store.
URI Police would like to give a special thanks to Dean of Student Affairs Dr. Dan Graney for funding and providing food and drinks for the event.