Today’s blog post comes from our Administrative Coordinator, Jason Tatum:

A couple of weeks ago a co-worker approached me about the possibility of a dodgeball tournament. Taking myself as seriously as I always do, I was skeptical.  Would I want to take time away from the office just to throw rubber balls at my competitors?  Absolutely, I would.

What a great decision it turned out to be.  Gateway fielded a team for Suntrust’s dodgeball tournament to benefit the United Way Campaign.  The only problem was, we didn’t have much a team from the office, so we went around Gateway and found some of our program clients who were willing to participate.  Who knew how good of a day we were about to have.

In the late morning we finally gathered our team together and got on the bus to get  to Phillips Arena.  Yes, the tournament was on the floor of the arena.  What a dream come true it was to be playing in some sort of athletic event on the same floor as professional basketball players.  Unfortunately, as I would find out, my level of skill in dodgeball is not pro-worthy.

Approximately 60 teams filled much of the seats on our side of the arena. There were teams with costumes, teams with headbands, teams with stretching routines.  We weren’t so organized as the rest of the field, so I decided to develop a little team cheer to get the energy up before the start of our first match.  Luckily I was able to make that contribution, because as one of our client’s and teammates said, “You threw that ball like it was a loaf of bread.”

While I might have been the weak link on this team of dodgeball heroes, we had others who were able to make up for my slack.  Our clients played tough through four straight victories.  Three of which were of the come-from-behind variety.  The energy and enthusiasm was pumping through our little group of underdogs.

The best part of it was that there were two of us from the staff and six clients making up this team.  We didn’t have uniforms and we didn’t know each other well.  We were coming from different places, different lives, and different struggles.  We were from everywhere, and our stories were all different, but we made a little team.  We played together, and we all had a great time.  We were Team Gateway, and even though we eventually lost in the quarterfinals, it was all smiles for the bus ride home.