The Times photo by Betsy Reason
The 2019 Noblesville Lions Club Dodgement Tournament Competitive League champions team, 45 Hitman, included: Kevin Sears (front, from left), Jake Hilton and Matt Davis; Tyler Pharis (back, from left), Jacob Wood, Brody Kalbaugh, Tony Pharis and Jeremiah Wood. All were friends from Noblesville High School (2004-09).
The Times photo by Betsy Reason The 2019 Noblesville Lions Club Dodgement Tournament Competitive League champions team, 45 Hitman, included: Kevin Sears (front, from left), Jake Hilton and Matt Davis; Tyler Pharis (back, from left), Jacob Wood, Brody Kalbaugh, Tony Pharis and Jeremiah Wood. All were friends from Noblesville High School (2004-09).

Watching Noblesville Lions Club’s dodgeball tournament this month got me reminiscing about elementary school.

Dodgeball was one of my favorite activities in grade school. But I wasn’t very good at it. And I surely wouldn’t have the courage to play on a team, in front of anybody I know.

I applaud the 14 teams -- nine in the recreational league and five in the competitive league -- that played in the Lions’ tournament in front of a cheering audience of friends, families and coworkers.

Even though every team wanted to win for the bragging rights, they all had a great time raising money for Lions’ charities.

The tournament, in its second year, netted about $7,000, an increase of $2,000 over the first year, event organizer Dave Marsh said this weekend. The $5,000 raised from the 2018 tournament was used to support 31 different charities of the Noblesville Lions.

He’ll report the exact dollar amount to fellow Lions at the club’s next regular dinner meeting, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Noblesville Jim Dandy. Guests and anyone interested in joining the Lions are welcome. The club meets there on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month. 

Now, back to the dodgeball tournament. Marsh, who had help from fellow Lion, Rollin Cutter, was pleased with the turnout and the fundraising.

One of the changes made this year to improve the tournament was to divide the players into two eight-team leagues, one league being competitive and one league beng recreational. The leagues, like in 2018, played in a double-elimination format with each bracket requiring the best two out three wins to advance in the tournament.

This year’s competitive-league champions, two-time winner, 45 Hitman, said they’re going for a “three-peat” in 2020. Members of the championship team were Kevin Sears, Jake Hilton, Matt Davis, Tyler Pharis, Jacob Wood, Brody Kalbaugh, Tony Pharis and Jeremiah Wood. All were friends from Noblesville High School (2004-09 classes). The team’s members donated the winning purse, $250, back to the Lions Club. 

The competitive-league runner-up was Karisma Balls, featuring Kari Kirk, Laura Bachar, Greg Clouse, Klara Kirk, Joe Brewer, Jack Barnes, Christy Jones and Bill Marsh.

This year’s recreational-league champions were Noblesville Fire Department’s Hosers, who I watched play the most games. The team was made up of NFD officers Eric Housman, Burke Smith and Blake Allen, and sons of firefighters, Nathan Housman, Devin Smith, Dawson Allen, Darren Brubaker and Eric Housman. The players, who won five out of six matches, attributed their final win to the quickness of 15-year-old Devin Smith, last player left on the court.

The Noblesville Club, which celebrated its 75th birthday in 2017, has donated more than $105,000 to community projects in the past 13 years alone. The Club, also, in 2016 started a new Leo Club at Noblesville High School, offering youth the opportunity to serve, as Lions do. 

Marsh thanked the many sponsors that gave money to the Lions’ causes: George Kristo, Mark Heirbrandt, Greg O’Connor, Dunbar Dentistry, Smith’s Jewelers, Jck Fox - California, Renner Nixon Body Works, Peterson Architecture, Riverview Health, Stony Creek Early Learning Center, Westfield Lions, Michaelangelo's, Farmers Bank, Mr. G, Randall and Roberts Funeral Home, Discount Copies, Meijer, Hamilton Auto & Tire Service, Sarah Kenley, Karisma, Edward Jones, Beck’s Hybrids, Field Rubber, Bolden’s, Cook & Cook, Burtner Electric and Mark Boice; along with Noblesville Lions’ businesses, Dave Marsh Travel, Gary Hipes Painting, Joe Arrowood Properties, Resler Tax Service, Adriene’s Flowers & Gifts and Zeck’s BBQ & More.

While Noblesville Lions’ big project is KidSight, a vision-screening program that Lions take into area preschools, providing glasses for needy students, the dodgeball tournament mainly raised money for the blind and leader dogs, Marsh said. 

He approached the Club in November 2017 with the idea for the dodgeball fundraiser because it’s a high-energy, spectator-friendly sport, one that, he said, “most everyone has played in school.”

Also, save the date: The Lions annually serve up pork chops on the Courthouse Square the first Friday in June, beginning at 11 a.m., with pancakes on the griddle the next morning).

-Contact Betsy Reason at betsy@thetimes24-7.com