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Fitness for the Easily Bored: Dodgeball

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Los Touristas de Whittier, Winners of the Stay Puft League's Season Finals

I’ve always been a worker-outer. But lately, as I’ve spent more and more time on the cardio machines at 24 Hour Fitness, I can’t shake feeling that I’m just a hamster on a wheel in a vicious human experiment. To combat my paranoia and possibly find a mentally healthier hobby, I’ve decided to scope out what else L.A. has to offer in a weekly series, “Fitness for the Easily Bored.”

Last week, I began with Hoopnotica. This week, I'm getting ballsy with...

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L.A. Dodgeball Society

The Hollywood Rec Center smells like testosterone and sweat as rubber balls fly through the air. It's Tuesday night, and the playoffs for the L.A. Dodgeball Society’s Stay Puft league are swinging into high gear. And as I tentatively stick my head into the brightly lit gymnasium, Team "Oprah’s Book Club" and Team "I Balled Your Mother, Too" are locked in a vicious, balls to the wall, knock-down drag-out game of dodgeball.

Within five minutes, a tall redhead has been nailed in the dome so hard that she turns bright red and begins to tear up. She’s fairly open about her pain, but still puts on an it-didn’t-hurt-that-bad smile, despite the drops of salty water sliding down her cheeks that are flat-out giving her away.

I was there to play, and I was terrified. I hate pain, I hate being on the spot, and I hate teamwork. I had already spent a very uncool five minutes trying to find my way into the gym, so I was feeling like a loser, and as I watched, I was reminded of a core tenet of dodgeball. Someone always winds up stuck being the last person standing, as a crowd of angry members of the opposing team crowd surround them with the sole goal of to pummelling the hell out of them with rubber.