| Erica Curran
We recently sat down to chat with Jaime Martino, the new director of the Ultimate Dodgeball Championship. This awesome event pits 32 of the world’s best dodgeball teams against one another for the chance to win their share of $65,000 in cash and prizes. You can check it out on the Ultimate Dodgeball YouTube channel Aug. 2-5. And you can pick up your official Ultimate Dodgeball Championship jerseys and other merchandise right here on the Savage store!
Savage: So how did you get into playing dodgeball? What's your background in the sport?
Jaime Martino: I've actually never played organized dodgeball! I got into dodgeball when I owned (and have since sold) three Sky Zone franchises. As a former athlete, I loved the element of competition in the park. I saw an opportunity because people loved it. We took a sport that was traditionally played on a hard gym floor and made it easier and more fun to dip, duck, dodge and dive atop our trampoline playing courts.
Our first park in Fishers, IN was one of the first 20 parks to host local qualifying tournaments when the UDC started seven years ago. Since then I've been a part of growing the event to where it is today: the biggest, most-watched dodgeball event on the planet!
Savage: Are there a lot of women who play dodgeball? Do you consider it a pretty female-friendly sport?
J.M.: Surprisingly there are! And I have to say a lot of them are better than the guys! They are smaller in general, quicker on their feet, have great arms, and they tend to be more agile! We're really hoping that the new 8 Team Women's Invitational at UDC this year helps show women that this isn't just a sport for the guys!
Savage: Tell us about your new role with UDC. What does that entail? What are your goals for taking over as director? Anything you can tell us about this year's event?
J.M.: I've served as the assistant director for the last five years, so when the former director took a promotion within Sky Zone and I sold my last franchise, the timing was right to step into the director's role! Our ultimate goal every year is to beat our previous year's viewership of the event! But beyond that I'm really excited about making this more that just a tournament for the participants, I want to make it an event! I don't want to give too many secrets away but we've worked hard over the years to add events scheduled outside of gameplay (i.e. happy hours) that encourage teams to come together, socialize and interact outside of the courts!
Savage: What are some common misconceptions about dodgeball?
J.M.: I think the biggest misconceptions are that it's just for the guys or that you have to be a really good player to enjoy it. Dodgeball is a game that can be enjoyed by all skill levels, all athletic abilities, male or female. It's a great workout and it's a game of strategy. You don't have to have the strongest arm or the fastest feet, if you can strategize and out think your opponent you can be a very impactful player!
Savage: What do you do when you're not playing dodgeball?
J.M.: I have two fur kids: Teddy & Louis who are my world! I love to cook, be active, and do anything outside! I have a hard time sitting still.
Savage: Any advice for women/girls who want to get into the sport?
J.M.: Just jump in at game at Sky Zone! We have pickup games going all day, every day! It's a great way to find out if you enjoy it without the commitment of joining a league. And don't be afraid, you're probably better than most of guys out there!
Go check out our dodgeball gear right here!