Team Zissou competes at last year's Moab City Dodgeball Tournament. The event, which is now sponsored by Moab Gear Trader, is returning this Saturday, Jan. 17. [Courtesy photo]

Moab’s dodgeball players won’t have a chance to square off against each other until this weekend, but they’re already engaged in a mock war of words with their opponents.

Poison Spider Mafia Team Captain Grant Sides takes it for granted that his team will crush anyone who has the misfortune to go up against it during the Jan. 17 Moab Gear Trader Dodgeball Tournament.

“Good luck to you, but we’re Poison Spider. We’re here; we’re ready,” he told the Moab Sun News.

Sides might be downplaying one minor detail: Although the fundraising event is returning for its fourth year, this one will be the first dodgeball competition that he’s ever joined.

Be that as it may, he’s not about to let that influence his predictions that the Poison Spider Mafia will destroy the competition at the event, which will be held at the Grand County Middle School gymnasium.

“We’re just going to kind of go for it,” Sides said. “We’re in it to win it. We’re Poison Spider and we’re the best in the business. We’re ready to go.”

Never mind that the team is down one key member, he insists.

“Unfortunately, one of our best and brightest bucks got taken out due to surgery, but we’ve got the pros,” he said.

In all seriousness, Sides said that he and his teammates are thrilled to join an event that benefits the city’s youth athletic programs, as well as the BEACON Afterschool Program.

“This is Moab. We’ve got a great little community,” he said. “We’re here to help a great cause, so why wouldn’t you come out?”

Former Team Zissou player Logan Hansen won’t be competing this year, so he declined an invitation to taunt the Poison Spider Mafia.

However, he can tell you why he was drawn to two previous tournaments, where teams tried to throw balls at each other, without getting hit themselves.

“A chance to wear short-shorts in competition with good friends for a good cause,” Hansen said. “My apologies to anyone who had to see me in those shorts, which may be the shortest in existence.”

The sport has grown in popularity – especially among adults – since the Ben Stiller/ Vince Vaughn flick of the same name hit movie theaters more than a decade ago. Nowadays, the local game is very different from the one that many kids grew up playing, according to Dodgefathers team member Doug Sorensen.

“I don’t know that I’d necessarily call the Moab one a sport,” he said.

The tournament is more about the fun costumes and shenanigans, he said, and it’s a great event for players and spectators of all ages.

“For those who haven’t experienced it, I think they would have a lot of fun coming out and giving it a try,” Sorensen said.

Tournament set for Jan. 17 at GCMS gym

“For those who haven’t experienced it, I think they would have a lot of fun coming out and giving it a try.”

When: Saturday, Jan. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: Grand County Middle School gym, 264 S. 400 East

Cost: $3 at the door; proceeds benefit youth athletic programs and the BEACON Afterschool Program

The tournament is scheduled to run on Jan. 17 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. inside the middle school’s gymnasium at 264 S. 400 East. Admission is $3 per person.

For more information about the tournament, call Moab City Recreation Director Chad Wright at 435-259-2255, or email