Revere resident Aaron Leon is a standout player on the best ultimate dodgeball team in Massachusetts.
Leon and his Wolves teammates have earned the opportunity to determine whether their team is the best in the country, having qualified for the regional and national finals in Las Vegas. The winning team will receive $20,000.
The 21-year-old student at North Shore Community College student with the rock star look is the Wolves’ captain. His teammates are Alec Bellante, 23, Jeremy McCormack, 24, Luis Martinez, 23, Ryan Bethune, 22, and Chris Rizk, 21.
There are five players on the dodgeball “court” during games. In ultimate dodgeball, the players compete while on trampolines. Players on each team, while reaching a height of 6-10 feet off the trampolines, try to throw the ball at members of the opposing team while avoiding the ball themselves. Players are allowed to catch the ball or deflect the ball with another ball. There are five balls in play at all times.
Leon is ambidextrous, meaning he can fire the dodgeball with either hand at an average speed of 60 mph.
Leon has been playing ultimate dodgeball since the opening of the Sky Zone trampoline park in Everett three years ago.
“It’s always been a thing of mine and I feel like I was just naturally good at it. Some people are good at singing. Some people are good at writing. Dodgeball was just one of the things I was good at.”
Leon has been proficient at the sport for a long time. Back in his elementary school days at McKinley, he was always among the last players remaining in the game. He continued to excel at the game at Garfield Middle School. He is a 2011 graduate of Revere High School and competed in Little League Baseball, youth soccer, track, and cross country in the city.
He is looking forward to traveling to Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world. He and his teammates will be staying at the Luxor Hotel.
“We’re extremely excited,” said Leon. “The first year of the tournament I couldn’t participate because I had worked at Sky Zone within 90 days of the tournament. We won the local qualifier last year but the finalists were based on a voting system. This year we won our qualifier and we’re heading to Vegas.”
Leon said ultimate dodgeball is a rapidly growing pastime. “There are 42 locations in this country and one in Canada. There will be 20 teams in Vegas. It’s a growing sport. There are more than 10,000 players nationwide.”
Leon is currently wearing a cast on his right arm, having sustained a broken wrist injury during a game of floor dodgeball. He never left the court and ultimately won the game for his team.
The 6-foot, 136-pound athlete is one of the sport’s fastest and most agile players. He’s such a skillful player that he intends to tryout for the National Professional Dodgeball League while in Las Vegas.
Through all his successes, Aaron has been able to count on the support of his mother. “She’s at every one of my matches. Some are in Everett but most are in Westboro or Providence.”
Revere residents can follow Leon’s performance in the tournament as the games will be streamlined live on the Internet. NESN will also show clips of the tournament.
Leon is hoping that ESPN will take an interest in ultimate dodgeball and popularize it universally like it has with the X Games.
He will be taking time off from his position at his friend’s restaurant, Antonella’s, to travel to the national tournament.
“The food there is absolutely great,” said Leon. “The steak and cheese sub is to die for.”