PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- 15 years after the release of the classic comedy 'Dodgeball: An Underdog Story,' the sport is seeing a spike in popularity, especially locally. Cactus Dodgeball hosts league play as well as open gyms in Phoenix and Mesa, and four of the best dodgeball players in the country call the Valley home.

[VIDEO: Dodgeball becoming popular in Phoenix-area]

Andrew Ketchum explains, “Most of my friends haven’t believed me that I play dodgeball and it’s a big thing. Then I’ll bring them out to an open gym, and they just kind of go…’they're like, oh, that’s real.’”

Andrew Ketchum, Dillon Clark-Oden, Katie Sanchez, and Rachel Rodia are four of only 25 players on Team USA. They travel the globe playing tournaments, and will be in Cancun next month, as one of 16 countries at the Dodgeball World Championships.

 “It’s hard to describe," says Ketchum. "But the second you see your flag and you know you’re representing more than just you, it’s an incredible feeling, just knowing that.”

They say the ultimate goal is to legitimize dodgeball as a sport - one that is much more than just chucking balls as hard as you can. Speed, agility, and especially strategy, play huge roles.

"It's almost like chess on a court," says Ketchum.

"We're trying to push the sport in a way that's not just, the mean guys beat up on the weaker people," says Rodia. "That's not the way the sport is intended. You play together, you play as a team."

Recommended for you