Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is much more than a simple, lighthearted sports comedy that pitted rival gym owners against one another. It’s a testament to the value of teamwork, and the importance of having the right leader at the helm. When happy-go-lucky Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn) learns that his gym, Average Joe’s, is being threatened with foreclosure, he rallies his ragtag group of friends to come to his aid and help save the day. While they’re at it, they learn to work together as a well-oiled machine in order to keep their workout spot from becoming part of Globo Gym, a soulless corporation run by mustachioed egomaniac White Goodman (Ben Stiller).
To celebrate one of the most uplifting tales about getting bashed in the face with rubber balls, here are seven lines from Dodgeball that you can use when it’s time to inspire your teammates.
“If you want to have dodgeball victory, you have to grab it by its haunches and you gotta hump it into submission!” – Patches
Let’s get this out of the way: Winning isn’t an easy thing to do. It takes determination, hard work, and perseverance, and you’re not going to get any of that without some kind of motivational speech to kick things off. For moments like this, look no further than former coach Patches O’Houlihan (Rip Torn), a forgotten relic from dodgeball’s golden era with a no-nonsense attitude and a tough-as-nails demeanor. An approach like his won’t just inspire your team to win, it could ignite some kind of primal instinct that’ll have them picking the victory out of their teeth for weeks to come.
Warning: Use with caution.
“I found that if you have a goal, that you might not reach it. But if you don’t have one, then you are never disappointed. And I gotta tell ya, it feels phenomenal.”- Peter
Of course, inspiration doesn’t have to turn your team into a bunch of bloodthirsty maniacs to be effective. No one knows that better than Peter, who’s based his entire business model around the simple idea that “I’m okay, you’re okay.” While some people mock him mercilessly for it (looking at you, White Goodman), when Peter’s in need of a dodgeball team, his friends are all right there for him without a second thought. That’s the kind of loyalty you can build with a more laid-back approach to leadership that will (probably) lead to fewer insults being slung behind your back.
“It’s time to separate the wheat from the chaff, the men from the boys, the awkwardly feminine from the possibly Canadian.” – Cotton
Sure, Pepper Brooks (Jason Bateman) might have the edge when it comes to having the most memorable lines of the two sportscasters from ESPN 8: The Ocho!, but let’s not forget the moment when Cotton McKnight (Gary Cole) gave a calm, ineffectual breakdown of what to expect from the annual Dodgeball Tournament. A rundown like this can let your team know that there’s a definitive threshold when it comes to greatness, and that they’ll have to decide for themselves if they’re able to cross it. That goes for everyone, by the way. Including all possible Canadians.
“Listen up, crotch stain. Remember your training, and trust your instincts. You can do it. I believe in you! Bye-bye!” – Patches
Patches’ motivational speeches are always a good thing, but this one is extra special, considering that he gives it from beyond the grave. From the folds of his old scarf, as a matter of fact. Point being, inspiration should be timeless, and it should be able to transcend any one person who’s ever said them. He might have been killed by two tons of irony, but Patches’ words will live on forever. Just like those mysterious stains on that old scarf of his.
“Well, I guess if a person never quit when the going got tough, they wouldn’t have anything to regret for the rest of their life. But good luck to you Peter. I’m sure this decision won’t haunt you forever.” – Lance Armstrong
There’s an old saying about how inspiration can come from the most unlikely of places, and when things start looking grim for the Average Joe’s, Peter’s all but given up, electing to drown his sorrows at the closest bar. That is until he has a chance encounter with (pre-controversy) Lance Armstrong, who recounts the personal setbacks that he suffered through over his athletic career. When Peter tells him of his decision to quit, Armstrong actually wishes him luck on a decision he sincerely hopes doesn’t turn into something he’ll later regret. Sure, you can find inspiration anywhere, but it’s still up to you to make the best out of the situation you’re in, and not give up just because you hit a rough patch. Having Chuck Norris on your side doesn’t really hurt either.
“All I’m asking is that you give it your best for Patches. I say we go out there, we let it all hang loose, try to have some fun. I mean, it’s only dodgeball, right?” – Peter
This should go without saying, but you’re not exactly going to galvanize anyone with a tyrannical desire to win. Sure, Patches may have been rough around the edges, but he genuinely cared about his players. And by the end of the film, Peter starts to realize what’s really important. Like his mentor before him, Peter rallies his team around the idea that everyone is there to just have a little fun. If that weren’t the case, then what would all those blows to the face have been for, anyway?
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” – Patches
Simple, direct, and undeniably true, this is the ‘get lemons, make lemonade’ mantra that lives at the very core of Dodgeball. If you prove to your team that they can handle the worst things that life can throw at them (like a wrench), there’ll be no stopping what you’ll be able to accomplish when you work together. Although, it’s important to remember, lines like this work best as metaphors, so don’t take it quite as literally as Patches did. For everyone’s sake.