Dodgeball Classcapade a Hit; Skinner Delivers Faculty a Victory

WT GYM — Eager students gathered the Friday morning before Thanksgiving in the gym for the first dodgeball Classcapade in recent memory, a series of tense, competitive matches between grades with an unexpected ending. 


Around 9:40, a steady stream of students filtered into the gym, where the bleachers were soon packed with ready fans. There was an obvious correlation between grade and color of apparel; freshmen wore orange/brown, sophomores wore red, juniors wore blue, and seniors sported black. The teams of sixteen stretched and met in huddles to quickly review strategies before the game as emcee Ben Bermann ‘21 explained the rules of dodgeball to the crowd.


The first game was between the freshmen and the seniors, a traditional matchup. The seniors took an early lead as the freshmen struggled to regain their lost players. Towards the end of the ten-minute game, the senior team decided to collect the balls on their side of the gym, resulting in a victory for the jubilant 12th graders. 


Next was the sophomore-junior game. The sophomores proved no match for the ambitious junior team, which was widely expected to win the tournament. As in the first game, the losing team failed to keep a substantial number of players and evade the bombardment from the opposing side, and the game culminated with a celebratory roar from the juniors.


There was then a consolation match between the freshmen and the sophomores, in which the latter bested the former.


The game to determine the student champion began with huddles on both sides and vociferous cheers from the bleachers. Players sprinted towards the line of scrimmage, where the foam balls were lined up. A fierce battle, complete with twists, turns, and dodges, ensued. The last senior alive was Tatiana Barelli, who, despite the seniors’ cheers, could not save the team in black.


But the highlight of the Classcapade was the contest between the junior team and the faculty team, which had some seniors on it as well. The game started out on fairly equal terms, but one by one, the teachers and seniors were eliminated. Eventually, the only surviving member of the faculty team was Ms. Skinner, a new addition to Winchester Thurston. She faced a formidable squad of juniors.


But Ms. Skinner slowly took the upper hand, eliminating furious juniors with her quick, curved-to-the-left, perfectly aimed throws and dodging the enemy’s dodgeballs with her deft step and keen eye. Cheers arose from the spectating students, especially the seniors, with each successful hit. Finally, only Ms. Skinner and Eliot Herron ‘21 were left. Herron threw a high lob, and Ms. Skinner dived towards the falling ball, catching it firmly. She recalled what she felt at that moment.



“I was feeling exhausted, and out of shape, but also full of energy from the crowd,” she said. “When I caught it, it was overwhelming, and also I felt thankful that I could stop playing dodgeball.”


“It was great to see how enthusiastic everyone was,” she concluded.


The faculty victory was seen as extremely unlikely before the match, and the athletic skills of two newcomers, namely Ms. Valdez and Ms. Skinner, were severely underestimated. To celebrate, Monday, November 25 was declared “Ms. Skinner Day,” and a small plaque was given for the math office. 


Classcapades are some of the Upper School’s most awaited occasions, and another one will be held in the coming weeks. The theme has not yet been determined by Student Council.