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AB Conference: Dodgeball - Another True Underdog Story

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In his session this morning titled "Burned Out or Fired Up!" Rick Hanetho, executive director of the Northbrook (Ill.) Park District, presented attendees with his C3+P6=Success formula. The Cs include contact, connections, these are the things that count. Passion, purpose, people, process and performance, planning and perserverance comprise the Ps. (Seems like seven Ps to me, but who's counting?)

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Hanetho admitted, however, that nothing could have prepared him for the sudden noteriety he received after his park district at the time (in Schaumburg) hosted a dodgeball tournament, which spawned The National Amateur Dodgeball Association. Hanetho subsequently appeared on CNN, ABC News and Fox News (opposite Neil Williams of "The Physical Education Hall of Shame" fame) to defend the long-embattled school kid playground activity. Once he was interviewed by Time magazine, Hanetho was being quoted around the world by people he had never spoken to directly."You've heard of 15 minutes of fame? I had three months of fame," Hanetho said. "It was ridiculous. I'm no expert on dodgeball. I just happened to set up a tournament, and we were having fun with it."

Hanetho's Schaumburg staff took full advantage. They sent rulebooks to the producers of Ben Stiller's 2004 box-office surprise "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story," and the sport found a new audience. Vanity Fair even ranked dodgeball the number-one party sport in America. "All because a group of park supervisors in Schaumburg decided to put together this National Amateur Dodgeball Association," Hanetho said. "Sometimes in life, you're put in situations that are unexpected."

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