A Look Back: The Jerry’s Underdog Run

The “Jerry” rolled to the championship in the all-school dodgeball tournament on Saturday, April 24, which featured 24 competing teams. They arrived at the tournament with high spirits but tempered expectations; few among them expected to get far.

The “Jerry” rolled to the championship in the all-school dodgeball tournament on Saturday, April 24, which featured 24 competing teams. They arrived at the tournament with high spirits but tempered expectations; few among them expected to get far.

The first game pitted them against the aptly titled “NoNames,” who rostered ten II Formers. Prior to the beginning, Chris Crane ’21 offered a rousing speech demanding “nothing short of excellence.” “We’re here to win,” he declared, followed by a quick cheer of “Jerry!” The “Jerry” would do just that, quickly dispatching the II Formers and taking one step towards immortalizing themselves. A critical moment occurred towards the end of the game, when an II Former prepared a throw. Before he released the ball, Crane performed a vicious maneuver, running towards the ̛II Former and pegging him with the ball. It would prove an omen: this was the first haymaker of the night.

The second matchup saw the “Jerry” face “The Machine,” which consisted of nine baseball players and Emmy Apfel ’22. Struck by the baseball players’ arm talent, no one predicted a “Jerry” win or even any “Jerry” resistance against “The Machine,” who quickly lived up to expectations by establishing an early lead. “The Machine” appeared to have the “Jerry” up against the wall, but furious trash talk led by the vigorous Guy Ferrera ’21 compelled “The Machine” to make several reckless throws, which quickly turned the tide of the game. Alex Liang ’21 caught one of these reckless throws, and momentum picked up in the “Jerry’s” favor. In any championship, a moment arrives where either the man or the moment must prove bigger. Liang understood that his team needed him, so he delivered. In one powerful motion, he struck one baseball player. Then another. Then another! With 2 minutes left to go, the “Jerry” led “The Machine” 5-4. The score would hold until the end, marking a shocking comeback after the heavily favored “Machine” had as much as a 4-man advantage in the early going. The “Jerry” celebrated; they screamed and cheered and shoulder bumped and screamed some more. But,their work was not done, so they prepared for the next game against “The Anti Anti-Semites.”

At that point, the “Jerry” was locked in on one thing and one thing alone: the championship. As Matt Laws ’21 said before the pivotal matchup against the heavyweight “Anti Anti-Semites.” “Anything less would be a disappointment.”. The “Jerry” scouted the opponents and learned of their famous recruiting strategy, which demands that “The Anti Anti-Semites” field exclusively Jewish players. A chorus of “Jerry” reverberated around the turf. Then, tournament commissioner Gabe Gaw ’21 signaled for the game to begin. Mac Dilatush ’21 quickly resumed Liang’s work—he struck “Anti Anti-Semites” player Edan Blecher ’21 within the first minute and proceeded to eliminate four more opposing players during regulation. The “Anti Anti-Semites” hung on to force overtime, however. Per tournament rules, each team sent out three players to compete in overtime. The “Jerry” chose Dilatush, Liang, and John Weaver ’21, who had replaced the injured Crane. Whereas the regulation matchup was a competitive showdown, the overtime period was an absolute slaughter: Dilatush picked up another elimination, this time taking Harrison Berger ’22 out, while Liang removed Blecher from the game for a second time to finish the clash. The underdog “Jerry” was then only one step away from reaching dodgeball immortality.

The win against the “Anti Anti-Semites” earned the “Jerry” passage to the championship game, the Super Bowl of dodgeball. There, the “Jerry” played the “O.J. Ma DB Club” for the final prize. The “O.J/ Ma DB Club” wore sports jerseys to match their captain, Martin Ma ’21, who sported a crisp O.J. Simpson jersey and eagerly proclaimed, “the juice is loose.” But the “Jerry” players, fully embracing their underdog role, were not intimidated, and repeated their pregame ritual of chanting “Jerry!” in response. The “Jerry” dominated the game from start to finish, leaping out to an early lead behind strong play from Samir Khare ’21, Jacqueline Chen ’21, and Harrison Abromavage ’21. Jasper Zhu ’21 also cropped up with a valuable contribution and managed to strike a member of the “O.J. Ma DB Club.” The rest of the team continued their dodgeball dominance and closed out the game, winning the championship.

Every member of the” Jerry” rushed into an elated, stunned, and loud dog pile, with Liang and Dilatush at the bottom. The final round of celebrations took place, now accompanied by a sense of finality and satisfaction at a job well done.

The “Jerry” gathered for the final time to take a group photo. The spirit of the team, Jack “Jerry” Hallinan ’21 lay on the ground while surrounded by his teammates holding up one finger. He told his team, “that’s a chip! That’s a chip,” but no one needed reminding. The “Jerry” had done it: the team’s members etched their names into the annals of dodgeball lore, immortalized by their improbable run to the promised land.

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