GRAND RAPIDS - For hundreds of young professionals here, work and play mix by belonging to the Grand Rapids Sport and Social Club. The club offers sports year-round; one of the winter offerings is dodgeball. It's not your grade-school variety though - and it offers team building benefits that can make employers, like Dematic, happy to sponsor teams.
At Dematic, which engineers logistics solutions, "both synchronization and communication are vital" says spokesman Ken Ruehrdanz. Those same qualities are important in dodgeball, a game where Dematic now fields two teams and will soon expand to five.
"What does it take to be successful in dodgeball? I tell you what - teamwork" says Jake Smith, a member of one of Dematic's teams.
Megan Trapp, who recruits engineers for the company, says the team is a great fringe benefit for young professionals just moving to west Michigan. "These kids come in - they don't know anybody. They join the dodgeball team - they've got ten instant friends" Trapp says.
There are a dozen teams in the league, and they make sure to gather at local bars after each match.
"I'm seeing business cards being handed out, relationships starting" says Chris Wessely of the GRSSC. "It's exactly what we wanted to see happen so we're really excited about that."