MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Five, four, three, two, one - Dodgeball! Marines raced toward the center of the gymnasium, trying to beat their enemy to the five rubber balls in the center. One 2nd Marine Division personnel clerk grabbed a ball as another was hurled at him. He jumped out of the way and returned fire to the opposing side and eliminated one of his opponents.
As he ducked and weaved, balls were fired from all directions. Lance Cpl. Mycal B. Robles, with Headquarters Battalion, 2nd Division, formulated an attack plan with his teammates to eradicate the other.
This isn’t just a sport to the Marines of DPAC. This game prepares them for the inevitable deployment to Iraq. Like all Marines, they need to be ready at all times to deploy.
“Sports like dodgeball build team work and communication,” Robles said. “It’s a fast-paced game where Marines have to communicate with each other and think on their feet.”
He continued the fight, trusting he would be able adapt to his new surroundings as the Marines to his left and right fell one by one. Robles and his teammates gathered all five balls and targeted one man on the opposite side of the gym. The opposing Marine looked for an escape route but there was no where to go as Robles’ team took aim and fired.
“During the match, your team’s communication breaks down, people are eliminated and everything in your plan changes,” said Lance Cpl. Ish Barrera, a DPAC personnel clerk. “You really need to plan on the move.”
Communication helps players know what their team is doing throughout a game. Without communication, no one would know what to do.
“The game forces them to plan on the move and to adapt to new situations as they arise,” said Barrera.
Robles’ team used different hand signals to help plan offensive and defensive strategy.
“While playing dodgeball, we communicated without using a lot of words,” said Lance Cpl. Eddie Morin, a DPAC personnel clerk.
The Marines held their own on the court. They knew the only way they could triumph was if they acted together, said Robles.
“Knowing what our fellow Marines are going to do with just seeing the look in their eye, that’s really knowing your brother Marines,” said Morin.
The camaraderie the Marines built is shown by how they work together in and out of the work place, Morin said.
“It helps build a trust between your fellow Marines, not in just who they are but what they are capable of,” Barrera said.
The match continued with people being eliminated on both sides of the gym. The Marines of DPAC grew weary with no rest in between dodging one ball and throwing another, Barrera explained. The fast paced game lasted only a few minutes.
Robles took aim at his opponents’ cone as the last man standing for his team. Knocking the cone over brings every man who has been eliminated from the game on your team back into play. Robles was struck by a ball and was eliminated as he narrowly missed the cone multiple times in a valiant effort to bring his team back to life.
The team still congratulated him on a job well done as Robles met up with them on the sideline. Feeling as though he failed, Robles knows his team mates won’t give up on him.
They kept their hopes up even though their team had lost one match of this two match elimination tournament. They went back to the side lines planning for the second game.
With only one loss, they had a chance to regroup and think of how they would be victorious in their second game. The battle fields of Iraq won’t be as forgiving.
This group of Marines will continue preparing for Iraq. Hopefully the teamwork, quick reaction and communication will give them a chance to dodge a few losses on the court there.