My Friend Played Dodgeball Against James Harrison and Survived

If you play recreational sports in and around the Pittsburgh area, you better stay in shape. You just never know when a Steeler or two might be on the opposing team.

For many years now, I've been playing recreational sports in a league based in the Pittsburgh area. There are many sports available for weekend warriors such as myself to choose from, including volleyball, flag football, bowling and dodgeball. Speaking of dodgeball, Kris, a good friend of mine whom I met through this league, plays on a dodgeball team, and one night last week, he actually played a game against a team that included James Harrison and Daniel Sepulveda.

This wasn't one of those charity events like "The Steelers vs. the teachers" or anything. Nope, this was a straight-up competitive contest, and Deebo and Sepulveda just happened to be members of the opposition that my friend's team was going up against. Rumor has it that Larry Foote is also a member of this team and has played a game or two of dodgeball in his day. Supposedly, this team is made up of athletic trainers who may or may not work for the Steelers, and this may explain why they were able to recruit such high-caliber athletes--usually, the best athletes in this league are the ones who are really good at beer pong.

Naturally, I asked my friend to give me the details of what went down in the game. Even though Kris' team didn't win--Team Ringers prevailed, 7-4--he did have his share of encounters against the two Steelers.

Unfortunately, Kris lost his battle against Sepulveda, who got my friend out by catching one of his throws--no word on whether or not the punter called for a fair-catch.


As for Harrison, my friend had a few memorable battles with number 92. Kris said, at one point, he was face-to-face with Deebo, who had a ball in his hand and a menacing look in his eyes. Some how, some way, however, my friend was able to elude the big linebacker and later managed to get Harrison out after catching one of his throws. Kris also got Harrison out a second time after nailing him with a ball. Harrison did get Kris out a couple of times, too, but it sounds to me like their series of one-on-one encounters ended in a draw . That's right, my friend went mano-a-mano with Silverback--the modern day Dick Butkus, the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, the author of the Harrison 100, one of the most feared defenders in the game today--and he not only survived, he held his own. Although, he did have a dream later that night about Harrison chasing after him like a bounty hunter, but that's neither here nor there--just a classic case of post traumatic Deebo disorder.

Anyway, I now have a new-found respect for my friend. His toughness-level has never been higher in my eyes, and I will no longer protest any of his calls when he officiates my team's volleyball games.


Speaking of respect. How bad-ass must Sepulveda be to get to hang out with two linebackers outside of work? Did Jack Lambert hunt with Craiq Colquitt? Did Greg Lloyd practice martial arts with Harry Newsome? Did Joey Porter go see the movie "Fight Club" with Josh Miller? I'll bet you none of that happened. Yet, here's Sepulveda participating in recreational dodgeball with Harrison and Foote. Heck, I don't care if they were line-dancing, that's still pretty impressive for a punter.

I am now incredibly envious of my friend. Other than Vince Vaughn and Ben Stiller showing up to play for the opposing team, I can't think of anything cooler than playing a game of dodgeball against a couple of current Steelers.

The only thing that could top that would be bowling against Jerome Bettis. I never thought it was possible before, but after Kris' tale, it doesn't seem so abstract.

Let this be a lesson to you amateur sports enthusiasts out there. You better start practicing. You just never know when you might have to go up against a Super Bowl Champion.

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