Dodgettes Navigating a New League
As the 2022 semester comes to an end, one thing can be said for certain about the college dodgeball atmosphere: we are amidst an entirely new league. After practices came to an abrupt end two years ago, college dodgeball returned last fall, and with it came an exciting season of close matches, upsets, rookies, and of course, dodgettes (Shout-out to Akron University’s female players for coining the new term).
This article continues to highlight dodgettes across the league: 2021-2022 season graduates, pre-COVID veterans, and new recruits. Stay tuned to hear how they made their name in the league, and what they are looking forward to in the coming season; in other words, dodgettes navigating a new league.
University of Kentucky
Animal Science Major, Agricultural Economics and Biology Minor
Other hobbies include riding horses, training dogs, and reading.
Growing up my family and I were constantly moving so I never really had a chance to join a school sport team for any length of time. I have, however competed on horseback since I could walk. When I was 7 we moved to Australia where I changed schools every year until we moved back to the states in 2013 where one of the constants in both countries was dodgeball. In 2019 at K-week, I went to midnight dodgeball – a recruiting event put on by the dodgeball team. I was smacked on the side of the head with a ball while I was on the sidelines by Dan, one of the captains at the time. The hit broke my favorite earring, and I joined the team that night. I had no idea that the NCDA existed prior to joining my team, and I honestly expected that the only team(s) I would be joining would be the Eventing or Rodeo team.
My first dodgeball practice was scary but so much fun. I dragged my boyfriend of three years along for the ride because the practices were so late and because I was nervous about being the only new player. The boys that had been on the team were terrifying when they played but still incredibly friendly and after practice, we all went out for a team dinner in the middle of the night. On the way home I got into a fight with that boyfriend, and we ended up breaking up. It was actually this breakup that made me keep going to dodgeball practices. The boys I met were the only people in college that I knew; I didn’t really have any other friends, and the practices were great stress relief.
My first tournament was so much fun. There was only 8 of us but each individual player had such amazing individual skills, and we played really well even with our numbers. I did however get a concussion after getting smacked in the head, but this was mostly due to getting in a car accident three days prior and suffering a concussion then. I didn’t share that fact with my captains until after I had been hit… needless to say I got in a bit of trouble.
I loved playing in the ladies’ match! I didn’t realize we had that many women in the NCDA, and it was great to meet other players that have run into the same situations I have. I heard so many women talk about almost always being the last one in and how terrifying the men were when they were trying to take your head off, how hard it was to throw at the same level and sometimes it seemed like the only thing you could be was the best catcher on the team. I wish the match lasted longer, I don’t feel like I got to truly show off my talent, especially with the initial confusion on figuring out who would do what on the team and what everyone’s strengths were. If it were up to me, I’d have a full match with half time because I enjoyed the match so much.
My team performed amazingly, and I couldn’t ask for better teammates. Sadly, only 8 of our people were able to make it to nationals this year so we didn’t do as well as we could have with a full roster. Despite the odds, we held our own against every team we played, and I think we surprised a lot of people with the skill and teamwork we exhibited. This Nationals was very bittersweet for me as not only was it my first Nationals (despite being a part of this sport for three years), but it was also the last Nationals for three of our members. I joined the team the semester before COVID hit so a lot of my teammates had to graduate without ever attending another nationals, and the three that were lucky enough to make one final Nationals weren’t able to get the ending they deserved. After they graduate, I will be the most senior member on the team, and I will admit to having a bit of a cry when the final buzzer went off and I realized it was all over.
Next season I’m going to be working with an all-new team so I am most looking forward to seeing the new members improve and fall in love with this sport like I have. I would like to work on catching some more and improving my aim. I would also like to work on my team’s recruiting skills.
Changing Team Dynamics:
During COVID, our University didn’t allow us to recruit like we used to, and the mandates made it hard for people to commit to the team, so over the years our team has slowly been choked out. I would also really like to recruit at least one more girl to our team. I’ve been the only female pretty much the whole time, and while its been great being one of the boys, it would also be nice to go out shopping with someone that gives real feedback every now and then.
Every teammate I had the pleasure of playing with have been instrumental in making me the player I am today, but I think the players on my team that I look up to most are Tyler Kratzer, Daniel LaJeunesse, Will Taylor, and David Meade. These four have been some of the biggest supporters throughout my dodgeball career. They have helped me learn the sport and they never treated me any different despite being the only female. They were always willing to help me practice catching even when they were tired themselves. I will never be able to express the gratitude I feel towards my boys, and I will always be grateful for this sport.