U of Maryland – 3 Teams join the NCDA

Kent State Dodgeball’s Kyle FitzPatrick

5:30pm November 12th 2011. Fifteen Kent State students assemble in a parking lot preparing for a 6.5 hour drive to College Park, Maryland. It’s our 3rd tournament in 4 weeks and the roster is thin. Many of our usual players drop for a variety of reason: a lack of $$ due to the other tournaments, being overrun by projects and exams for school, and a flu like illness that eliminates some of our dependable players. Our Co Captain Ryan is on Injured Reserve due to a knee injury occurring at the MSU Invite. So we looked to some of our untested freshmen to step up and fill the much needed roster spots. We arrive at the hotel around 11:30 and cram all 15 members of our family into 2 smaller than average hotel rooms. As we warm up in the Armory (yes, the name of the building we played Dodgeball was the Armory, bad ass). A sense of nervousness, that subconscious the whole trip becomes very tangible. We are the only battle tested team in the tournament, but that didn’t necessarily mean we were the best. For all we knew we were walking into a slaughter from unknown east coast teams. It was the 1st tournament that I didn’t have any Intel going into the games. I didn’t know how the teams played, what numbers were gunners, who the catchers were, and tricky players to keep an eye on… nothing. It lead to a swirling combination of frustration and excitement.

Our 1st opponent of the day was James Madison University, They sported sleeveless (basketball style) Dodgeball jerseys, DePaul would have been proud. JMU was a very passionate team that never gave up in any of their matches. They seemed to change their strategy multiple times throughout a single point. Sometimes they would hang back making clutch catches, until they had 7-8 balls then they would storm forward and perform an all out team throw towards ½ the court. And other times they were right in your face coming at you no matter how many players stood against them. Hess, 69, backwards hat, and the Assistant captain (sorry I forgot most of the numbers) individually stood out, but the entire team played well. Especially considering it was their 1st match ever.

Towson University was next on the schedule. We lost the 1st point in about 3 minutes. These guys started the game like bats out of hell; I’m talking about some pedal to the metal Dodgeball! That first point was probably one of the most chaotic games I had ever played. Their entire team was relentlessly attacking from every direction. I don’t recall anyone on their team pinching, but afterwards some of us talked about how to develop throws and get used to pinching/gripping. They slowed down a little bit throughout the match. But a team with such a high paced playing style combined with the knowledge of the pinch could turn into a dangerous ambush style team.

University of Maryland was our last opponent of the day. When you line we lined up against this team there was a distinct feeling that they had done this before. They looked confident, most of them had a very athletic build, and their Jerseys (black with red) were rather reminiscent of SVSU’s. Again Kent lost the 1st point. This team had some real potential for individual talent, 00 and 4 had some serious hands, while 8, 20, Chris V all had rather impressive throws, although they were plagued by the inaccuracy of adapting to the pinch. After watching and playing against this team I got the feeling that they would quickly adapt and over a year or two come to thrive in the NCDA, mainly due to the athletic potential of their team.

These teams are 3 great additions to the NCDA, and as a born and raised Delawarean, I personally am very excited to see the potential rapid growth of the NCDA on the east coast. It was a great weekend, with many 1st’s. JMU, UMD, UMD JV, & TU all played in their 1st NCDA tournament. All (except UMD JV) got their 1st victory, as well as their 1st losses (but that’s part of the process). And Kent State won its 1st NCDA tournament. And due to the wins from the tournament it was the 1st time Kent has ever been ranked 1st in the NCDA. I’m proud of our team, as well as the NCDA for gaining three more teams that will continue to contribute and shape the NCDA of the future. We look forward to crossing paths with these teams again!

Kent State Co-Captain,
Kyle FitzPatrick

Season Preview 2012 – Round 2

Kent State Dodgeball’s Kyle FitzPatrick

Top 3 matches we want to play: DePaul, UK, OSU (T), BG (T)
Teams we haven’t seen in awhile: GVSU, MSU, Miami OH, UoL, WIU
Teams I have never played: MBI, UWP

1. How many players are returning for your team?
Kent is fortunate that nearly all of its players are returning. With the exception of the mighty King USSH. However several of our players have picked up additional obligations outside of Dodgeball. Resulting in some changes in leadership. Matt Klembara stepped down as Co Captain, a void now being filled by Ryan Menn. However our team is now mainly veterans so finding young blood is vital this year.

2. What strengths/weaknesses do you anticipate going into the season?
We have a very different style than most teams, and we have a core of veteran dodgeballers that have played together for years and some young players with raw talent. Some of our weakness is scheduling conflicts, different priorities in the game, and hangovers

3. What are the areas you’ll look to improve when scouting new players?
We plan on being more active in recruitment this year. And have already had 254 freshman sign a sheet of interest. We hope to find freshman that are more athletic than Kent players traditionally have been. But all new recruits must have the heart of a dodgeballer.

4. What are you goals for this season?
To play Dodgeball. Against fellow dodgeballers. In general see a better spirit to the game. Faceshots. Good times. Etc. Another goal is I want to see every game finished this year! Play out the last point. Whether we are down 1 game or 11 Kent will always play out the game, I hope every team will show us that respect as well.

5. Why should other teams be scared to play you?
We have plenty of raw talent on the court. Even without ball counting strategies and team throws we could pull some upsets.

6. Which teams would you like to play?
ELE means everybody love everybody. But EPE means everybody play everybody. We will play anyone. But since that is a generic answer here’s some more breakdown.

DePaul Dodgeball’s Brian Weinert

DePaul’s tournament showings last season found the Court Jesters contending with the league giants.  While maintaining undisputed Jesterdom, DePaul also showed that their antics and goofy shenanigans are not compensation for lack of skill, but rather the result of apathy towards their own more serious abilities.  In short, we saw that when the gloves come off DePaul holds their ground. Although the club lost many adored senior veterans, the new lineup of officers who took up the torch exemplify a bright future for the club, or at least one consistent with what is expected.  The new officers: President- Mick Cielesz; Vice to the President- Brian Weinert; Secretary-Troy Dixon; Treasurer- Brandon Polaskey.  The opening night turnout was good, and freshmen recruitment seems more promising than it has been in years.

Goals for the year are few but attainable.  DePaul plans to attend as many tournaments as logistically and financially possible, and to shape our Freshmen into dodgeball-wielding machines of inflated rubber death before the advent of the first tournament.  DePaul’s other goals remain congruous with their attitude: have more fun than anyone else in the league (all challengers welcome), remain undefeated (piece of cake), and regain possession of the fabled “Moustache Ball”.  EMU, we will have our Moustache Ball, make no mistake.  DePaul has the heavy task of making up for lost senior talent with freshmen recruits.  But, already judging by the new talent, which can only improve, the Court Jesters are looking forward to a great season of showing the rest of the league how to really play dodgeball.

With all due respect and friendly competitiveness,

– Brian Weinert, V.P. #24

Season Preview 2012 – Round 1

GVSU Laker Dodgeball’s Mark Trippiedi

A vast majority of the Laker roster in 2012 will be more or less the same as in 2011. GVSU graduated 4 seniors Jimmy Stokes, Caleb James, Jeff Olsen, and Greg Trippiedi from its 2nd place finish at nationals last season. In particular, losing previous captain Jimmy Stokes and Senior Caleb James is going to hurt. It’s hard to replace great players. With that said, GVSU does not enter 2011-12 hurting for throwing arms, athleticism, or roster depth. Pending a strong incoming freshman class, the complete turnover of Grand Valley State University’s Dodgeball Club from it’s first generation (2005-2010) to it’s second generation (2011-) has pretty much already occurred.

In 2011-12 team will be led by Sophomore Mark Trippiedi. Trippiedi will have the luxury and ability to lean heavily on seniors for additional guidance. The group of fourth years is all that remains in terms of starters from the last GVSU National Championship (09-10).

Many would think that Grand Valley will be down a little this year after the graduation of All 3 captains from last season as well as another senior. However the youth in the club from previous years has continued to gain experience as well as improve their skills. So with a talented group of juniors and sophomores, along with the National Championship winning experience of the 4th years. GV Dodgeball will not miss a beat and will expect to appear in the clubs 7th National Championship appearance, and compete for their shot at a 5th National Championship

MSU Dodgeball’s Sam Hiller

Coming off of back to back Final Four appearances, Michigan State has an even higher goal this season- winning a National Championship. The Spartans only lose one player, and are expecting to bring in another great Freshman class like they have the past few seasons. Sophomore Mike Van Ermen says “There is no reason with the talent we have returning that we shouldn’t be able to bring home the trophy.” MSU also brings back all six All-Stars. While former captains Ian Childs and Cameron Massmino will still be playing, a new group of captains will be leading the charge this year for State, Assistant Captains Andy Malnor and Andrew Koczara and Head Captain Sam Hiller.

Along with winning a National Championship this year, MSU has a few other goals. Among them are playing more games than they did last season (when they played 20 matches), winning the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, beating Central Michigan and Grand Valley State, and winning the MSU Invite for the second straight season. Van Ermen wants another shot at GVSU and CMU, saying “Not only are they the best teams in the league, they’re also a lot of fun to play and really respectable guys.” Juniors Alex Acton and Will Hack also want the Spartans to play some out of state schools. “I’ve been wanting to play OSU since I’ve joined but we haven’t had the chance yet. They’re a good team but we can definitely beat them. Overall it would be a good match for both teams” says Acton. Hack says “Everyone wants to play Depaul, they are supposed to be the most fun. I’d also like to play the far-away teams, like K-State and Nebraska.” Hack also thinks that “the NCDA is playing the highest level of dodgeball played” right now, which means that the 2011-2012 season has the potential to be the best yet.

Nationals 2011… CMU!

Lifted from Aleks Bomis’ [MSU Alum] Facebook

I’m smiling ear to ear about dodgeball this week. I’m smiling because the best run tournament in College Dodgeball’s seven years of existence took place this past weekend.

And I didn’t have a damn thing to do with it.

I’ve always been pretty concerned about where the organization was headed, what it was working towards. I invested a lot of time in it. It and the people who comprise it will forever be a part of me. The leadership and development that went on in the first few years got me accepted into a Top 20 MBA program and Top 100 law school. I’m proud of that and always will be. Dodgeball is on my resume, and I will unabashedly tell interviewers where it’s at and how it got started. Operations, recruitment, administration, marketing – it sounds silly (and it is), but when you add up the manpower and the revenue required to operate the National Tournament (think of all the hotel money), that’s a major accomplishment that most young people don’t have. The group means a lot to me.

I guess that’s probably why I was less than happy with the way things seemed to be headed in the NCDA last year. Things got more competitive and tense, abuse of officials led to officials not caring led to abuse of officials, the concept of winning seemed to outpace the concept of playing this ridiculous game developed by sadistic gym teachers… maybe it’s that I’m from Michigan where the more determined teams and players are, I don’t know. In any case, it eventually came to a head and I thought, “To hell with it. If this is how it’s going to be, I’m out.” That’s when a nice thing happened: the NCDA moved on without much disruption. From rules administration to tournament operations to keeping the peace or anything else, there’s not one thing where I am or would be indispensable. In the early days there weren’t many people committed to the idea of making this crazy idea work. Most of it fell to me. Not that I minded it – heck, it was more to add to my resume. Now there are schools from all over the country and plenty of people each year who have both the skill set and the desire to keep this going. College Dodgeball has reached critical mass. No situation exists today where I’d think “Oh, I need to handle that.” And if you’re not needed, well, you’re probably not wanted either. Maybe the saying “familiarity breeds contempt” has some truth to it. You either die the hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain. Hey, could’ve been worse – I might’ve been forced out like Mubarak in Egypt.

I’ll cut the maudlin and just line up a few thoughts I wish I had the time or forethought to say to people when I see them in person.

Let’s take the big one first: To the teams that think I hate them – I don’t. Sure, you may have a couple current or former players I don’t or didn’t care for, but nine times out of ten a negative remark about them was immediately followed with “I don’t get it, the rest of ’em seem like nice guys.” Same applies in reverse, people can dislike me and like Team MSU in general. It always comes down to people.

I’ve never tried to screw a team over as an official. I’ll go a step further with that: I don’t think any official has ever intentionally tried to fix a dodgeball game played between grown men and women. Have I ever made remarks to the contrary? Darn straight. The majority of people reading this have as well, however, so don’t act surprised that The Old Man shoots his mouth off like everybody else. Doesn’t it make it right, and for that I apologize.

Sometimes you (I) need to just shut up and let others try things instead of going “No no, I know better, do it this way.” For example, there might be a skills competition or an all-star game or something else that makes this whole idea better.

Last, and certainly not least, the leadership you all collectively show is phenomenal. That’s the one concept I have difficulty trying to explain to outsiders – that college kids will put time, effort, and thought into how to better organize the activity of striking each other with vulcanized rubber. There are many sport club leagues in existence. Few have as solid a base as the NCDA. None are wholly student-operated.

As for where this takes me from here, I dunno. I’d like to put together an alumni production team to shoot and commentate games in Michigan and maybe Ohio. That’s one area where I do have a leg up on most of the NCDA – being an MSU Athletics cameraman for three years has its benefits beyond the field pass. Eh, we’ll see what happens next year. The facilities have gotten progressively better each year, and a brand new Ryder Center ought to be a great tournament site in 2012.

Now if someone can just start a team at the University of Michigan I could die happy…

Reply, 13 April 2011
Greg Trippiedi [GVSU]

I was kind of where Bomis was a year ago, didn’t know where the NCDA was headed and didn’t know whether the Michigan teams would be able to turn over their rosters entirely and remain competitive. GVSU’s club is about 40% of the size of when I first got there, but the sheer size of the club and the fan base has proven to the only thing unsustainable about it. What we accomplished this year was a complete turnover of the old guard to a new team built almost entirely of Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshman. There’s no doubt in my mind that if GVSU played zero seniors next season (and our three or four best players will probably be seniors), they would still be first or second in the state of Michigan, and that means we’ve done our job to turn the program over away from players who won the four championships. To bring home the hardware in a transitional year would have been great, but we still exceeded all of our own expectations, except that one.

The work that Josh and Felix (and everyone, really) have done down at WKU has made all the difference. The first time they ever played us (Oct. 2007, @UK), Felix was still in high school, and their club was two months old and we were at the very peak of our dominance as a program. It was hard to imagine after that game what they would do with that program, but really, the NCDA was pretty close to becoming a regional thing instead of a national one, and I have to credit Western Kentucky exclusively for changing that course. If this years nationals is the point at which we look back at non-Michigan teams starting their run of becoming title contenders, so much the better. Kentucky looks like it can become a college dodgeball hotbed. UofL isn’t good right now, but they have a much better chance of becoming good with WKU and UK around them to play against.

If someday, Kentucky and Michigan are two regions where all the teams are really good, then the NCDA can matter on a national level. For any team east of the Mississippi River, a quality opponent would never be more than a few hours away. A lot has changed in a year, and it’s pretty much all been very promising.

WIU Round Robin

MACOMB – DePaul Dodgeball joined Western Kentucky and Wisconsin Platteville for a Round Robin hosted by Western Illinois on October 23.

This week was a monster for DePaul. In preparing for our matches we had to weed 17 people of our 40 plus regular ballers. The greater majority of our veterans have been injured in non dodgeball related injuries, while others had work and all the right excuses. Then on the Wednesday before, one of our drivers texted us and said he broke his collarbone. By our Thursday dodgeball night, we had barely enough car space for 14 players, bringing just five people with tournament experience. And I got my neighbor’s bike was stolen on Tuesday.

We received our club shirts just a week before travel, and with no free time I managed to heat-press the traveling shirts so we might look like a team. Kevin Hill managed to get the waivers in, and I managed to take two of my cars to fill the space left by our other driver’s injury.

We ended up leaving only 15 minutes late, a small record for DePaul Dodgeball.  But after 60 minutes of driving in the rain, Kevin’s car suffered a blown out tire near Ottawa, IL. He had to wait more than two hours for a new tire to be installed. In the mean time, 8 members of the team continued onto Western. By this time, Western and the rest of the teams had already started playing. We made a small pit stop, and the Chicago Eight decided to keep going as we were more than half-way there.

Arriving an hour or two late, DePaul is forced to play three matches in a row, with only 8 people for the first match. Fortunately, UWP was awesome and really fun to play since they had only brought 11 people. For these 8 person matches, only Kuncklepuck [#54] and myself had any past tournament experience; the rest of our team were  By the time I got out of the car after that forever stretch of road that is Route 34, I didn’t care what really happened.  I wasn’t going to think about the crap week I just had, I wasn’t going to think about the five hour drive in my really small car, I wasn’t going to worry about the shot clock. I just wanted to run around and be really, really loud. And this is what I did.

By our second half with Western Kentucky, reinforcements show up from Kevin Hill’s car, WKU pulls out the crowns, and we continue to have a really fun game. Trick shots, gladiator dodgeball, and pulling an Iron Curtain keeps everyone happy.  Our rookie players really got into our cheers, and it seemed like we had a lot of catches. I believe DePaul definitely had the most fun out of anybody in Macomb.

For the later half of our match with WIU, some of the younger players started getting a little frustrated with how serious WIU was taking the game. I think this might have been part the team being tired from traveling for 5 hours and then playing three straight hours. Another part was the majority of WIU taking dodgeball against DePaul way to serious for the entirety duration of the match. But then again, the majority of DePaul didn’t let it faze them. No matter what they are going to play dodgeball their way, and I’m really proud of the way the team played that whole day.

Since not enough people wanted to stay the night, we decided to hit up Walmart to take advantage of cheaper taxes for the hanging out at home. Then the team had a quick family dinner at Wendy’s before driving home under a full moon. We even managed to stay under budget if you don’t count Kevin’s blown tire.

500 pictures and 500 miles later, DePaul Dodgeball remains undefeated.

NCDA: Headshots Welcome

Story by: Aleks Bomis

Maybe you’re interested in playing a game or sport that’s devoid of all the drills and practices.  It could be that you’re trying to recapture a memory from your youth.  Maybe you’re just looking for activity where “upside your head” is heard frequently.

It’s okay, you can be honest.  You’re among friends.

Anyway, chances are that if you’re on this website, you like the idea of dodgeball.  This is good.  This usually leads to the idea of joining the school intramural league, with their padded foam balls and their no head shot rule.

This is bad.  Forget that garbage, there’s a better alternative: us.

There are three big advantages that the NCDA has over any intramural league, any so-called “pro” league out there, and pretty much everything else.

1 – It’s real dodgeball.  8.5” cheap rubber playground balls that bounce off harmlessly are the weapon of choice.  You’re playing with a huge number of friends.  And yes, you can hit people in the face if you can swing it.

2 – It’s by college kids, for college kids.  No one’s trying to make a buck, there’s no big legislating body issuing bylaws or any of that nonsense, this is about getting together to play people you don’t know and don’t feel bad about smacking around a bit, then possibly hanging out with them afterwards.

3 – It’s a chance for leadership.  This sounds silly, but running a sport club shows you’re able to handle financials, personality conflicts, delegation, and all those other things that employers want an employee to be able to do.  Dodgeball can actually pad your resume if done right.

All colleges and universities are eligible for membership.  All you have to do is register as a student group at your school, find a bunch of people who like to play, and let us know you exist.  We’ve got plenty of teams interested in meeting up for a game.  Put it together and you could start something big at your school.  Check out some of our video clips to get a better idea of what we’re about.  We guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

So get in touch with us already, either to say you’re good to go or to ask some questions.  And if you’re not gonna do that, at least forward this to a friend who’d be interested.  The national tournament is in April and the more the merrier!

2010-11 Season Preview

WIU’s Tim Wohead

1. How many players are returning for your team?
We are only losing two players- Tina Miller and Any Janota- due to graduation. Also for Nationals this year one of our last year’s captains, Paul V., will be studying abroad and possibly won’t attend.

2. What strengths/weaknesses do you anticipate going into the season?
A big strength we have is that we are attracting a lot of incoming freshman and recruiting big arms who have heard of our club now. Our only weakness is financial and being able to travel to all the schools we want to this year. But if there’s a will, there’s a way.

3. What are the areas you’ll look to improve when scouting new players?
You can never have too many big arms on your team but we would also like a couple players that can catch just about anything. And good footwork and agility is a must.

4. What are you goals for this season?
National Champions

5. Why should other teams be scared to play you?
We went to Nationals with one match under our belt. We didn’t start pinching or being strategic until a week before Nationals and we still held the 4th seed after the first day of tournament play. Needless to say with most of our players returning and bringing in better athletes, we are going to be more dangerous.

6. Which teams would you like to play?
We get along well with SVSU so that would be one of them. We would also like to face Michigan State just because we got knocked out by them and I feel that we played like crap and would enjoy a little revenge along with BGSU. Lastly, we would be interested in taking on CMU.

KSU’s co-captain Kyle FitzPatrick

1. How many players are returning for your team?
Definitely lost 2 of our Vets (catchers at that). But overall were a really young team. We just need people to have the time / money to travel.

2. What strengths/weaknesses do you anticipate going into the season?

Strength: Our teams is no longer 70% rookies, and I believe we will be underestimated. Also I have a better grasp of how to manage a team.

Weakness: Money, we may lack some raw athleticism unlike other teams (cough cough GVSU, CMU)

3. What are the areas you’ll look to improve when scouting new players?

We hope to be more active in the scouting procedure. We might try scouting out some middle school dodgeball games for a feeder program.

4. What are you goals for this season?
Having fun, getting new players and improving current players, getting something in the win column. Hopefully attend more tournaments. (Maybe even try to host one.)

5. Why should other teams be scared to play you?
Because you might have fun doing it. Also, we have a unique strategy since even we don’t know what were doing most ofthe time.

6. Which teams would you like to play?
Hopefully we play as many teams as possible. I would like to see more of the native Ohio teams this year since we only played BG, OSU and half of Miami once last year. WIU & NSU were fun, competitive new teams I would like to play again. I personally have never played WPU, EMU, CMU and DePaul. Saginaw (meaning Stein) has already issued a challenge to Kent on the forum. GVSU as long as I don’t fracture me wrist again. Finally, MSU and WKU are always welcomed opponents.

DePaul’s Zigmas Maloni

DePaul Dodgeball will be returning for the start of the dodgeball season with its usual vengeance, and by vengeance we mean beating up on the random freshmen who don’t know how to keep their eyes open.

We’ve lost a handful of our “competitive” roster, but one of the most notable losses has been the graduation of Jack Young. As the face of the team in the league’s eyes, “Jack Attack” has become a herald and guardian of that DePaul Dodgeball decorum. So I’m sure he will be missed.

DePaul’s plans for this season include our normal thing – playing as much dodgeball as our bodies can handle. We have hour and a half practices twice a week, but we invite anyone to play without commitment. We play the game as our childish forbearers did. Our games are a juvenile program of delinquency, where the headshot hug rule substantiates our collegiate goals and ambitions.

In other news, DePaul also plans to do more this season than just throw balls at its own team. We are looking to host matches against other teams, as well as travelling to play nice at other schools.

We are kicking off this commitment by hosting our own tournament on October 2nd, 2010. The Chicago Hat Invitational will mix up the teams and hopefully foster some good times to be had. Any teams looking to participate should check out the NCDA forum and/or aggravate their respective captains.

At the last, we would like to keep up our reputation of playing a really fun game of dodgeball. If there is anything to be said about DePaul Dodgeball, it is that we will always be able to entertain ourselves.

Something to Learn: To Err is Human

Story by: Aleks Bomis

On June 2, 2010, baseball fans witnessed some of the best things about the sport. Detroit Tigers fans will be quick to disagree. Who can blame them? Armando Galarraga, pitcher for the Tigers, had the game of his career, officially retiring 27 out of 28 batters without a hit. The lone standout to Galarraga’s streak would be rookie Jason Donald, chalked up as a single.

The controversy? Donald’s single, the 27th at bat for the Cleveland Indians, was a blown call by umpire Jim Joyce, costing Galarraga a perfect game and a no-hitter. That’s not a matter of opinion, as calls often are. Joyce personally apologized to Galarraga minutes after the game, later saying “I just cost that kid a perfect game” on local radio. Replay showed Donald was approximately 2 feet from the base when Galarraga, then positioned at first, made the catch to force Donald out.

There are a couple of ways to properly frame this scene. The first is to note the rarity of the perfect game. In almost 400,000 games of Major League Baseball, 20 have achieved perfection. Sweeping a presidential election might be the only task more difficult. Galarraga earned that perfect game and should be rightly credited for it. For Joyce to take the rarest of achievements away from a player with a clearly incorrect call is bad for baseball and infuriating for Tigers fans.

The other way to frame this is in terms of what happened after the call by Joyce. If you watch the replay, you’ll see Galarraga’s reaction to the call was one of the calmest responses ever observed. No tirade, no outburst, just a smile. You just don’t see that kind of behavior in professional sports.  Joyce’s actions after the play were equally as rare. Officials make bad calls, but personally apologizing to the aggrieved player and announcing to the media that you screwed up is unheard of.

In short, the participants involved acted the way people are supposed to behave. As the NCDA enters the 2010-2011 season, it’s nice to know officials at the highest level of competitive sports err, sometimes egregiously so, and players at the highest level can act with the docility Galarraga exhibited.

There’s no question officiating has been a sticking point since the NCDA’s inception. Teams need to place a greater emphasis on educating their players on the rules and on how to properly officiate a game. Further, the practice of grabbing a couple freshmen at the last second and telling them to ref needs to end. New players are often in the worst possible position to officiate, having played precious few games themselves.  At the same time, the hysterics some players resort to when receiving an unfavorable call also needs to end. If a man can have history taken away from him and smile, there can be no justification for getting into a shouting match over a dodgeball match.  Hopefully this baseball game and the MLB’s subsequent actions can serve to benefit NCDA operation this coming season.

Chronicling the NCDA’s Rise

Story by: Nick Wright & Aleks Bomis

The following is an excerpt from a message board post recounting the league’s history. A more detailed account may be available the near future.

From Wright:

First exhibition match in college dodgeball history (as far as we know): Ohio State at Kent State. Ohio State won, although the rules were much different, the atmosphere much more of a friendly game to have fun than an actual match. The first real game in the league with two teams and set rules was Delta v MSU, where MSU won. Bomis obviously got the ball rolling on that one as the captain for MSU and as far as I can recall, Ben Murphy acted as such for Delta. This match was the first “Michigan Dodgeball Cup.”

That was the only “regular season” game that year (2004-2005). The then titled “Spartan Dodgeball Invitational (SDI)” acted as the inaugural MDC championship tournament and featured 5 teams: MSU, Delta, Ohio State, Kent State and DePaul, with Nebraska being invited but not showing.

I believe the Saturday round robin portion went as follows:

OSU 6-0 (def Kent St twice, def Delta twice, def MSU, def DePaul)
Kent St 4-2 (def MSU twice, def DePaul, def Delta, loss OSU twice)
DePaul 3-3 (def MSU twice, def Delta, loss Kent St, loss OSU)
MSU 1-4-1 (def Delta, tie Delta, loss Kent twice, loss OSU, loss DePaul twice)
Delta 0-5-1 (loss OSU twice, loss MSU, loss Kent St, loss DePaul, tie MSU)

The Sunday portion of the tournament featured the top 4 teams (Delta did not play because at the time they were not an official organization/club within their school yet, so were deemed ineligible. I imagine part of it also had to do with the uneven number of teams and the amount of times that we were able to use the facilities that we were in.)

Semi Finals:

Kent St def DePaul


OSU def Kent St 4-2 (OSU trailed 2-1 at halftime)

The next year was the first full year of the league where there was a regular season. Oakland University, Kentucky and of course, GVSU, made their debuts this season. I wish I had the full regular season standings (maybe I can dig them up in another place that I wrote them down, but most of my record keeping of this time period was on the old OSU dodgeball website which was through the now defunct Geocities hosting site).

The only thing I can state for sure is that this year featured the first Ohio State Invitational, which was supposed to be Ohio State, Kentucky and Kent State. Kent State ended up not being able to make it, so it was just OSU welcoming Kentucky into the league by winning 16-4 (The regulation time score was something like 8-2 and we just kept playing for another hour or two since we had the gym space rented.)

I know GVSU stormed onto the scene and dispatched of Delta and MSU in a few individual matches, and then again in the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, so they ended the regular season ranked #1. Both GVSU and OSU were the only undefeated teams that season, but GVSU had played several more regular season games than OSU.

If I’m not mistaken, DePaul hosted their first tournament that year too, which consisted of themselves, MSU, Kentucky and Kansas State, who actually had a team. I think I’m forgetting another team that participated in this one (Delta, maybe), but I know it wasnt GVSU, Kent or OSU. I remember hearing that this tournament was pretty evenly matched and every team had at least one win and at least one loss in the round robin portion. I’m 99% sure MSU won this tournament because I remember Bomis being all excited and telling me all about it in an AIM conversation, adding that the talk of the tournament was “How good GVSU was,” “The Matrix guy has a cannon for an arm” and “Everyone is afraid of OSU’s Big Jon.”

Delta was also vastly improved during the regular season. I remember being really surprised at the number of matches they ended up playing that year (something like 12 or 16 games) and won roughly half of them–they mostly played vs MSU, Oakland and GVSU. I cant remember if Henry Ford Community College, Alma, or Wayne State had a team this year that they played against. Either those colleges had a team and played once or twice, or they were rumored to be starting teams and they didnt quite get off the ground in time for this season. I wanna say they went to the DePaul tournament as well…so they had pretty much played every team in the league at least once except for the two Ohio teams by the time the National Tournament came around.

We went into the 2006 NCDA championship tournament with 8 teams:

GVSU, OSU, Kent St, MSU, Delta, DePaul, Oakland and Kentucky (Kentucky ended up not coming due to financial reasons). They were replaced by a “JV” team (I believe from GVSU, or possibly MSU) to even out the number of games each team would play in the round robin. Because of the increased number of teams, the round robin portion of the tournament was divided into two pools based on regular season rankings/winning percentage/whatever

Pool A: GVSU, Kent St, MSU, GVSU JV
Pool B: OSU, Delta, DePaul, Oakland

Each team would play the other three teams in the pool once. This was due to there being a lot of arm fatigue by the end of the first day in the first year’s tournament.

The results from Day 1:

Pool A-
GVSU : 3-0
Kent St: 2-1
MSU: 1-2
GVSU JV: 0-3

Pool B-
OSU: 3-0
DePaul: 2-1
Delta: 1-2 (to be honest, I dont remember who won the Delta/DePaul game…couldve been Delta)
Oakland: 0-3

So the Single Elimination Championships went like this:

Round 1

MSU def Kent St
Delta def DePaul (these two matches were the first two held as we only had two courts to play on)

followed by

OSU def Oakland (Oakland conceded defeat at halftime, the second half was a massive free-for all among all interested players from any team. Actually this was the highlight of the tournament, lots of fun)
GVSU was awarded a first round bye for being undefeated in round robin play and having more wins in the regular season than OSU

Second Round:

OSU def Delta

Consolation game:

MSU and Delta elected to not play the game and split 3rd place, possibly due to time constraints.

Championship game:

OSU def GVSU 2-1. GVSU led 1-0 at halftime. They won the first game fairly decisively, but then the second game was very drawn out and ended up going all the way to halftime without a point being scored. OSU then came out and won their own fairly decisive game to start the second half. The final full game of the match was a pretty extensive one with that at one point was a 7 on 5 OSU advantage, but then OSU got a couple huge plays to close it out and was able to take the lead with about 2 or 3 minutes left in the second half. GVSU came out blazing, but there just wasnt enough time for them to mount a comeback. This game also got pretty heated at times, but afterwards there was good sportsmanship on both sides and despite this matchup being hyped pretty much all season and it being really close, both sides left with a lot of respect for each other. OSU has since always held GVSU in high regard both in terms of ability (obviously) but also in terms of sportsmanship.

After that, I graduated, moved down south and didn’t get to be part of the league in any fashion in 2007, even as a spectator. So beyond 2006, I cant give you and specific details besides that the next two seasons also featured championship games with GVSU and OSU squaring off but with GVSU winning both of them.

As I can recall, the original founders and captains of the early clubs were:

Kent State: Olsen Ebright (team may have been founded even before him, but he was their primary contact person in 2002-2003). He also came to OSU to represent them when the Today Show from NBC came to film a segment about dodgeball–something which was originally supposed to happen at Kent State, but they were between semesters when NBC wanted to shoot the film, so they came to OSU instead. The clip ended up being less about the growth of dodgeball as a sport at the collegiate level and more as a cheap tie in to the stupid Dodgeball movie. I’m not sure specifically who Kent’s captain(s) were once the NCDA began, but Nick Fantozzi was one of the leaders of the group and was our main contact person when we wanted to get in touch with them for a game.

Ohio State: Considered to be founded by Gavin Mueller and Todd Burns in 1999-2000 (both graduated and moved on before the MDC/NCDA was even an idea). Marc Ybarsabal was then the captain and primary contact for the first season in 2005, with Joe Ryan as the assistant captain. Marc graduated in ’05 and then Joe was the Captain with Zack Mylander and Nick Wright (myself) as the alternate captains. All 3 of us graduated in ’06 and we passed the titles on to Dave Shaffstall and Alex Young after that.

As stated before, Bomis obviously got MSU’s team off the ground and from what I understand, Ben Murphy for Delta (I’m not sure if there were any co-captains or alternate captains for them during the first year of their existence).

I know DePaul dodgeball also existed well before the creation of the NCDA (I believe they were the oldest club in the league predating the year 2000 if I’m not mistaken). I can’t say for sure who founded them, but Ryan “Magoo” McGeehan was their typical contact person in the first two years of the league. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the other captain that they had, who was a very good player and was a real nice guy in the multiple times I met him. Sorry, I’d know his name if I heard it but I can’t pull it out of my head right now.

I wish I had specific scores of all the games, but at the time, I dont think anyone really knew what the league was going to morph into and that detailed record keeping beyond the very basics was going to be a worthwhile use of time. If I got anything wrong with this, I apologize, but to the best of my knowledge this is all accurate.

From Bomis:

The big thing you need to remember is that for the first 3 or 4 years we inflated the dodgeballs until they were taught. It wasn’t really by design, it just started that way. I can’t imagine playing in the racquetball courts like MSU did those first two years with the throwing speeds people have now. Teams still tried to grip throw, but it wasn’t nearly as fast and you’d often get cases of people’s fingers bleeding from trying to curve the ball inward. I checked out some old footage recently, it looked tame compared to what goes on today. The other important thing to remember is that the shot clock only existed when you had all ten balls, so a 9-on-1 situation could be held indefinitely. There was also no “legit throw” clause, so you’d see some teams *cough cough* roll a ball to the other side to keep from having all 10.

Murphy sent me an email asking if we wanted to play a game, which sounded fun so naturally we accepted. There was a second place plaque and a tarnished little cup for the winner. This cup became the top of the Michigan Dodgeball Cup trophy (which I’m told is made of solid silver). We showed up at some church/community center and played for about an hour. The church staff was ticked because dodgeballs kept hitting the radiator panels, making these awful crashing noises. MSU won 8-3, I’ve got some pics stored on my laptop at home.

Yeah, the real reason Delta couldn’t play Sunday of that first tournament was because I just couldn’t work out a schedule that first year. There was a “must be a student organization” rule which everyone knew about heading in, but Ben seemed to really want it for his group so I figured what the heck, let ’em play on Saturday. I remember the last OSU/MSU score being 8-4.

GVSU… my hatred of them was pre-ordained for so many reasons with that first game. We had to reschedule that game a bunch of times. It wasn’t Dave Soukup’s fault, the athletic department was just being a pain, and then we realized we had scheduled a game on Super Bowl Sunday, so we had to move it again. I was actually fairly upbeat with that first 4-2 loss, we had come off a much-closer-than-it-shoulda-been W against Delta, having goofed around much of the game, but we’d actually tried at GVSU. They wore blue their first year and hadn’t figured out how to be this unstoppable force – yet. I managed to imitate Izzo while I was there – he wasn’t having the best season, and earlier that week while trailing he had called timeout a split second before Mo Ager nailed a 3. The second string team was trailing in the closing minute of the half, Mike Youngs is the only one left, I call timeout so I can sub in Rob Freeman, who was a defensive master… and he makes a catch from about 15 feet away. Rob gets hit about 10 seconds in. Youngs was LIVID. And to be fair I was getting overcompetitive at that point.

Michigan Dodgeball Cup came down to the final seconds, with a throw at Kevin Hankinson going in and out of his hands for the GVSU win. It was tough to call that one from the booth, but it made for a heck of a finish.

The extra team at DePaul’s Chicago Open was Kansas State. Everyone was drained by the time we got to the end, but we managed to pull that one out and sing the fight song and everything. I was almost bouncing off the walls because we had actually managed to string some Ws together after struggling most of the year, Rob Viola got a game-saving OT catch between his legs (I think against Delta). I’m also pretty sure DePaul had some footage of Nick Gebauer getting clocked by a Kansas State player, I mean right into his face.

Oh, and a funny story I just remembered! So like I mentioned earlier, there wasn’t any shotclock rule, and you could roll a ball to the other side and there wasn’t anything in the rules to stop it. Delta had been catching some flak by this point in the year for not doing anything unless they had at least 7 or 8. DePaul decided to flip the script on them, not doing a thing unless they had all 10 balls. Not knowing DePaul’s plan, I wander over to check their score at halftime: 1-0 DePaul. I check back at the end of the game, same score. I look at Murphy who’s passing me. “Don’t even TALK to me, Bomis!” Once we found out what DePaul did we couldn’t stop giggling. I think Viola applauded.


MSU managed to score huge on the fundraising front and had enough money to rent a bus for a rare fall Thursday night game at Grand Valley. Once we got there, it was clear they were on a mission, destroying us 16-0. Black eyes and bruises abounded. I remember the newer guys begging me to put up a fight with the refs or Soukup, but the truth of it was we were just plain getting stomped. At one point the crowd started laughing at Freeman who’d been laid out and wasn’t moving (eventually he rolled under the net/wall just behind the baseline) and no one appeared to be doing anything to help him. At that point I snapped and blindsided Dave with a rant that I’m not even sure made sense, but I was getting on him for everything and anything. Amazingly enough, we didn’t lose any of the people who were at that game.

State won in overtime vs. Delta later that month, with Gerald Hessell hitting Dave Halloran with about :40 to go in regulation. Later that year they’d have their first lost to DC in Saginaw, and again at the MDC that February, the last televised game MSU had. Oakland was kind enough to serve as sacrificial lambs in the dodgeball halftime show for the basketball doubleheader.

OSU put together the spring tournament, but for whatever reason that fell through in March and in 24 hours I was somehow able to cobble together enough court time to host in April. Marshall tackled a GVSU player at one point, MSU lost either 8-1 or 8-0 to GVSU, and GVSU finally beat Ohio State.