Kentucky Dodgeball Classic

Six teams came together for the second annual Kentucky Dodgeball Classic on Nov. 16. Three teams finished the day at a perfect 3-0, and three others finished 0-3, yet Saginaw Valley State University was awarded the first place trophy due to point differential.

For SVSU, it was their first tournament championship as a team.

“The thing I was most impressed with is how many people (on our team) actually wanted to go this year,” SVSU president and captain Bryan Janick said. “It was nice having a full team even though six varsity guys didn’t go.”

Saginaw Valley opened up their tournament with a 7-1 win over Western Kentucky. They followed it up with two more convincing wins over the University of Louisville 9-0, and host University of Kentucky 5-0.

“We played really well, but the one game that stuck out the most to me was when we lost our only point to Western Kentucky,” Janick said. “The next game we did not let them past the half court line and the win only took 45 seconds. It was amazing.”

Michigan State University and Kent State University also went undefeated, as they topped the three Kentucky schools as well. MSU was credited with finishing second and Kent State third.

“The tournament was a great opportunity to play some teams early in the season that we don’t normally see until nationals,” Michigan State president Michael Youngs said. “I think that our rookies got some much needed experience and all in all it was a great tournament for our team.”

While Western Kentucky, Louisville, and Kentucky went a collective 0-9 on the day, they still gained a lot of experience.

For Louisville, it was only their second day of action in the National College Dodgeball Association.

“It was really tough playing against more experienced teams,” Louisville player Lainey Birkhead said.

“Everyone threw a lot harder and seemed to have at least some kind of strategy in place. We went into the tournament wanting to gain experience and have fun and I think we were able to do just that,” she said.

While Western Kentucky was able to beat Louisville earlier in the season, they found playing the northern teams much more difficult.

“In order to beat the non-Kentucky teams, we must learn to play better as a team and stop attacking alone,” Western Kentucky president Josh Raymer said.

“We also must do a better job of watching out for cross court throws and dominate the other team from the opening rush. We stay on the baseline too much and let the other team pick us off in bunches,” he said.

SVSU win home opener

An improved Central Michigan squad gave second ranked Saginaw Valley a scare, but ultimately the Cardinals held on for a 3-2 win over the Chippewas on Sunday Oct. 25.

“I knew it was going to be a close one,” SVSU captain Bryan Janick said. “I had a feeling, especially for our first game. They’ve gotten a lot better.”

CMU captain Bryan Lynch also liked his team’s performance, despite the loss.

“I thought that our team did well,” he said. “Much better than previous years (against SVSU.)”

The Cardinals took the first point after about eight minutes of play, giving them a 1-0 lead.

“We pushed them back a lot,” Janick said. “We had them backed up. I thought was a good thing.”

The Chippewas (0-1), bounced back with a solid effort in the second point, tying up the score at one apiece.

“For our more experienced players, we saw how much we have improved over the last two years and I think it was  wake up call for the new guys to see what dodgeball is really about,” Lynch said. “I think we did well, but still have plenty to improve in to be thinking about a victory versus SVSU.”

“We needed to shadow a little bit better,” Janick said. “We had a few times when people got hit when people were supposed to be shadowing.”

SVSU responded, dominating the next point to go up 2-1 into the half. The point was fueled by several catches, particularly by Jason Stein and Joe Fetterhoff.

“We had a lot of huge catches,” Janick said. “They came at the right times.”

The second half started off with another Cardinal point, putting them up 3-1 with less than 20 minutes to play. Lynch felt his team lacked in experience in crucial situations.

“The difference between SVSU and us in the match was definitely patience,” he said. “There is no doubt that Saginaw has more fire power than us, but in clutch situations they were able to play smarter and make more clutch throws and catches than we were.

The Chippewas claimed the next point, though at a cost of running a significant amount of time left in the game, leaving them without sufficient time to tie up the score.

“That was really important,” Janick said of starting the year off with a win. “We looked kind of rusty but it was definitely a good start to the season, a big victory.”

The Cardinals, 1-0 after the win, travel to Allendale next to face three-time defending national champion Grand Valley State on Nov. 8. in what will be the Lakers season opener. Game time is 3 p.m.

Our current nationals format the best?

I can’t help but wonder if the way we run the national tournament at the end of the year is the best way to crown a champion. Currently, the way we do things we have all the teams come and play three games on Saturday, which pretty much destroys everyone’s arms. So what happens the next day? You come right back and can possibly play another three games.

It’s almost as if it’s a marathon of dodgeball, to see who can last the longest. While, I think Grand Valley was obviously a deserving champion this year, and would have most likely won it had they been forced to play 11 games the first day I still have to draw it into question.

What other sport does something like this? Outside of the time your beer league softball team decides to go to a softball tournament and plays 8 games in two days, you’re going to be hard pressed to find a sport that crowns it’s champions similarly.

Though there is always the argument that comes up that is hard to fight, in that teams want to play everyone they can at nationals because it’s the only time of year they see a lot of the teams. Well, the simple solution to that would be to host several small tournaments throughout the year. If nationals was limited to the amount of teams going maybe teams would feel like they actually needed to schedule a game or two throughout the year.

So what is my solution? Followers of my blog know that I have always been an advocate for regional tournaments that take place 1-4 weeks before nationals. The top 1 or 2 teams from each regional advance to Nationals. Then instead of having over 10 teams at nationals, and maybe even a few more junior varsity teams (what other national tournament allows JV teams???) you have teams that deserve to be there. Then when you say you go to the national tournament it actually means something. It gives your team something to work towards. I know there are people that disagree with me, but that’s fine. There will probably come a day someday along the line that you realize I’m on to something.

Too long of a season?

So there is surprisingly only a month left in the dodgeball season. But it leaves me wondering, is our season too long? It seems each your teams start playing games earlier and earlier in the year, and then this year SVSU played GVSU in early September. So essentially, our season has gone from the start of the fall semester to all but the final three weeks of the school year.

So, is it too much? For a team like SVSU it might be. We have had a game or a tournament almost every weekend. Which leaves for little else to do… Not that I am complaining. Though, I wonder what the schools that play fewer games like the Kentucky or Ohio schools think.

Perhaps if we shortened to a start date of early November, and still ending in April it would create more of a season feel as well, instead of a year round thing.

Perhaps having this long of a season isn’t a bad thing. You can get the most games in this way, you can get new members anytime, and build your arm strength to an ungodly level.

That’s really it… no pressing issues this time

How to get your club rolling

Just about everyone that plays in the NCDA wants to see more and more teams join. However, the last two seasons we seem to be at a stand still when it comes to new teams joining. We have gained a few, but have lost others. Here is my advice for those of you that are interested in creating a team at your school, or for those of you that want to give your existing club a shot in the arm.

Firstly, and what seems to be obvious but is not always done well is getting the word out about your club. While it’s impossible to get everyone to take note that you are creating dodgeball team, things as simple as a few flyers, an add in the school paper, and open pracite times are a great way to get the word out. Even try getting the word out to local papers. Some eat dodgeball stories right up, since it’s quite different than their normal coverage.

Secondly, try and find that core group of players that you think will be most dedicated and work your way from there. They don’t have to be the best players (though that always helps) but they should be able to create a solid foundation for your club, so that as it grows bigger and bigger you have the foundation ther to support it.

Thirdly, increase your membership anyway how. Invite everyone you know, and have everyone on your team invite everyone they know. Invite the people you see in the hallways or the guys that are playing pick up basketball before your gym time. They may have no dodgeball skill at all when they first start, but I have seen first hand some players that have developed into great players that were not good when they first picked up the game. And, chances are if they like it they are going to invite their friends, and maybe those friends are better athletes than they are.

Fourthly, have your club participate in school functions. If there is a food can drive, have your guys bring in as much food as they can. Not only does it look good in the eyes of the administration at your school, but if you win it creates more publicity for the team. When they have welcome week, club day, or whatever it’s called at your school make sure your club has a table at the event. In fact, maybe even sponsor a school event.

Lastly, run your club as professionally as possible. Have an up to date website, run your home games smoothly, have everyone wear team jerseys, and invite school officials to come watch, and invite athletes from other sports to watch. Make sure someone from your school paper is there to cover the event, and if they aren’t there, send them the results!

There are surely more things that you can do to increase your membership in your club. Every school is different, but these guidelines should hopefully help you out.

Mercy rule in dodgeball?

It’s been something that we’ve discussed as the years have gone on in our league, but I think it’s time we bring it back up; and that is having a mercy rule in our games. At one point I was against it… but now I think it’s time we adapt some form of mercy rule.

When the league first started out, all of the teams were pretty much in the same boat in that they had only been around four a couple of years. Even the teams that had their clubs established were still getting used to the thought of playing competitively. The only time games were really lopsided was when someone played Oakland. So a mercy rule would have rarely been used anyways.

Now, however I think that we are at a point that it should be implemented. There are teams that are taking part in their fifth season in our league while others are just hoping to survive through their first season. Other than at the Michigan Dodgeball Cup this past weekend, there have been more blowouts than close games.

Why do I think a mercy rule should take place? Take a look at Henry Ford’s game against Saginaw Valley last semester. The score was at least 14-0 (I think it was 16.) Did it effect HFCC to get beat that bad? I can’t say for sure that it did, but let’s look at a few things. Last semester their club was only a few weeks old and they were able to take 14 players and a coach to Saginaw to play us. Now, they have been canceling games and not able to go to a big tournament. Is it just coincidence that they can’t find players now?

Plus, it sets up the danger of teams trying to top one another to set a record. Now that teams know we beat a team 16-0, if someone is beating a team 11-0, they are going to keep playing full throttle until they get 17.

So, the solution? My idea would be that once a team gets up on another team by 10 or more points the score freezes. The game keeps going on, but when a team wins a point it is not added. It’s simple, and it doesn’t make a big deal out of the score like completely stopping a game would.

There may be other options out there… but this would be effective, and most importantly simple.

Does dodgeball belong in P.E. class?

It’s been becoming more and more common for schools to take dodgeball out of their physical education classes. Most of the time they claim that it’s too cruel to put kids through and that it can cause psychological damage. I realize that gym class can be a tough time for an adolescent, but for the time being let’s close the psychology books and talk things over rationally.

Firstly, the anti-dodgeballists claim that kids are forced to play the game against the will. In reality, they are absolutely right! Students are forced to play every sport in P.E. class, so how can they even bring this into the conversation? I was forced to do math homework every night, even when I didn’t want to but you didn’t see me complaining to the school board.

Also, have any of the anti-dodgeballists been in a high school gym class recently? Of the 30 kids in the class 27 of them want to play the game. Compare that to when they go outside to play softball where you have the girls picking wildflowers and the boys trying to catch the ball without a glove on I think you should be happy that you have as much participation as you do. Sure not everyone wants to play dodgeball in gym class, but I think you could argue that more don’t want to do the dance unit either.

Secondly, the anti-dodgeball wackos have labeled the game as a sport that causes psychological damage. As I stated above, I understand that gym class has given some people painful memories. For me, it wasn’t painful at all. However, the hour before in math class it was pretty painful for me when I failed the exam.

How is dodgeball different than any other sport in that regard? Don’t you think that Scott Norwood’s psychological damage from missing the game winning kick in Super Bowl XXV is worse than someone getting hit by a rubber or foam ball? Sure it might sting a little, but by the time you change back into your gym clothes I’m going to guess you’ve forgotten about it.

I think it’s also to point out that dodgeball forces you to develop a lot of different skills. Not every student has a great arm, so maybe they focus on catching. If they can’t catch, then maybe they have to become a matrix style dodger.

So the next time a mom with a school-aged child, that has nothing better to do comes up to you and complains about dodgeball being played in gym class you have something to combat her with. Though, if she is anything like the moms that convinced the supreme court to change the high school basketball seasons around, you might be in for a tough battle.

Michigan Dodgeball Cup: Preview

Can’t wait for the clash between Michigan’s elite dodgeball teams? Here’s a peek at what to expect from the MDC.

Tournament format:

Pool A: Grand Valley State University, Saginaw Valley State University, Central Michigan University

Pool B: Delta College, Michigan State University, Henry Ford Community College

Round 2: Pool A winner vs. Pool B winner (championship), Pool A runner-up vs. Pool B runner-up (third place game), Pool A third place vs. Pool B third place (fifth place game).


2008-09 Record: 3-0
Best Finish: 1st (2006, 07, 08)

The three time defending champions have a target on their backs, and they plan to keep it that way.

“I think that after a track record like we have had over the past years any team would have a bullseye on their back,” Laker captain Alex Soukup said.

“Our team has turned that around though and we all don’t want to lose it. The team plays with a target on their back every game and plays in such a way with such high intensity so that we don’t lose it.”

While they haven’t played a game since November, the Lakers hope that their practices have kept them fine tuned for the tournament.

“I think with the type of practices that we have, and the fun moments in each the momentum keeps rolling,” Soukup said.

“It’s often the younger guys who want to prove something that will keep us on our toes and fueling the fire.”
While they are heavily favored, their game plan remains basic.”

“I think for us to win we need to stick to our game plan each game and work as a team when needed,” Soukup said.

“If we lose, I don’t think it will because of mistakes or lack of preparation. I truly believe that if we lose it will mean there is a better team than us.”

Needless to say, GVSU won’t count their chickens before they are hatched.

“I also think with the hype between all the teams this year and the close games we had last year at nationals with Delta, and this year with SVSU has shown just how much better the league is truly getting,” Soukup said.

“I think we (GVSU) all have the common goal of winning the MDC and nationals again this year. And that will mean we can’t lose the target on our back.”


2008-09 Record 7-2
Best MDC Finish: 2nd (2008)

Saginaw Valley State University hasn’t seen the court since being upset by Delta College 3-1 on Jan. 18.

The Cardinals hope to get rid of the bad taste left in their mouth on that day.

“We’re definitely going to go over some stuff in practice and we will work a lot harder and be ready for it,” SVSU captain Bryan Janick said.

“We’re going to do a few different things at practice.”

Despite coming off just their second loss of the season, the Cardinals claim that they should be mentioned as one of the favorites in the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, especially if they can reclaim the magic the team had in the fall semester where they won the Kentucky Dodgeball Classic.

If SVSU wins, what is the reason?

“If we play as a team (we can win),” Janick said.

“We need to play as a team. I definitely think we have some of the best talent so there is no reason why we can’t win.”

And if they don’t win, what is the reason why?

“There is no don’t in this one,” Janick said.

“We’re just going to win it. But if we don’t we did have a break without a lot of games, so maybe that’s a factor.”


2008-09 Record: 0-2
Best Finish: 5th (2008)

The second year club only has one win since beginning play in the NCDA last year.

That win was over an Oakland University team that isn’t even in the league anymore.

Despite this, the Chippewas hope to have a good day at the tournament.

“One goal, as always is to have fun and win some games,” team captain Kevin Flynn said.

“Other then that, it would be to get some good team work going and some headshots.”

Flynn bases his team’s success and failures on two simple principles.

“If we win we will have to play smart, all 15 on the court,” he said.

“If we lose, (it’s because) we were having too much fun the night before.”

If the Chippewas can lay off the adult beverages for a night, Flynn believes good things can happen the next day.

“I know we will (do well,)” he said.

“We are a different team than anyone has seen. Even the teams that have played us this year.”


2008-09 Record: 3-0
Best MDC Finish: 2nd (2005, 07)

Only a few weeks ago rumors were swirling that Delta College might not even have a team this season. Now, the discussion is just how good are these guys?

The Pioneers have nice wins over Bowling Green State University, and Michigan State University, but their big win came on Jan. 18 when they beat second ranked Saginaw Valley State University 3-1.

“I don’t expect us to lose a game all season,” Delta president Dave Halloran said.

“So I expect us to win.”

Though, despite his confidence, Halloran does see a scenario that could lead to his team coming up on the short end.

“If Delta loses, it’s because we got outplayed by a team deserving of victory,” he said.

“It’s still relatively early in the season and the only thing that matters to us is a national championship.”

And if the Pioneers are the ones holding up the trophy at the end of the day?

“If Delta wins the MDC, it’s because we played together, listened to our leaders who know the game inside and out, and didn’t do anything stupid,” Halloran said.

With an unblemished record heading into the day, the Pioneers look at themselves as one of the favorites to win it all come Sunday.

“We will have the most momentum of any team there,” Halloran said.

“We’re one of the two undefeated teams in the tournament, and poised to beat Grand Valley after losing to them in overtime last year.”


2008-09 Record: 3-3
Best Finish: 1st (2005)

The winners of the original Michigan Dodgeball Cup hope to get back on top of the tournament.

While their three losses are against other Michigan teams, they hope they can get back to the way they played when the won all three of their games while at the Kentucky Dodgeball Classic.

“In order to retake the title back we need to make sure we work at a team, play smart, and try to focus on catching over dodging and gunning people out,” Michigan State president Mike Youngs said.

“If we can keep the pace a little faster and work as a team I thnk we have a good shat at winning this tournament.”

Youngs, who is also the one behind the scenes, running the tournament looks at the MDC as one of the best tournaments of the season.

“This tournament is almost a nationals preview,” he said. “In my opinion the MDC has four of the top five teams in the country right now.”

“Playing against teams of that caliber takes constant quality play, always playing smart, and playing as a team. Any losses at the MDC will come from playing teams that just do that better than we do.”

As for taking down three time defending MDC champions Grand Valley State, Youngs has a plan.

“I personally think that taking down GVSU will take good defense, covering for your teammates, being able to run with them, and not being afraid of getting in front of one of their shots and try to catch them out,” he said.

“They throw very hard but not hard enough that they can’t be caught out.”


2008-09 Record: 0-1
Best Finish: First appearance

The Hawks have only played one game in their brief tenure in the National College Dodgeball Association.

That one game was a record setting loss to SVSU.

That being said, Henry Ford is still getting their sea legs in the league.

“Henry Ford’s goals going into the cup are to get some wins,” Hawks’ captain Kris Wright said.

While hoping for wins, Wright realizes they will be hard to come by.

“We need to learn teamwork, communication, and strategy,” he said.

“That seemed to be our biggest weak point against SVSU and I think if we can get that fixed we may have a shot.”

Helping in their cause to get ready for to get ready for the tournament, the Hawks scrimmaged against Central Michigan University last month.

“Going into our first tournament, we should start to get a hang of what competitive play is,” Wright said.

“We should go in there and score some points. We are just expecting to go in here and have a great time playing, and who knows, maybe there will be some upsets thrown in there.”

So where exactly does Wright see his team finishing?

“If we go in there like we did against SVSU, there is no way that we will win,” he said.

“If we just go in there and play to play, not thinking about who we are playing I think we may upset some people. Or at least I hope.”

Delta picks up win over SVSU

They were all but left for dead in the national championship picture, but the Delta Dodgeball team proved they haven’t gone anywhere.

A 3-1 win Sunday, Jan. 18 over second ranked Saginaw Valley State University (7-2) thrust them back onto the scene.

“Every win is a big win,” Delta Captain Dave Halloran said. “This was just as big as our last win against Bowling Green (in Dec.), and if we win next week against MSU, that will be just as a big as this.”

The game started off in a point that lasted almost 15 minutes before it was decided. After the teams battled evenly for much of the point, Delta was able to finish the Cardinals off for the game’s first score.

“Winning the first point in the game is an immediate advantage that could prove to seal the game in late stages,” Halloran said. “It also creates momentum and confidence for the rest of the game. Winning the first point is what gave us the victory.”

The second point of the match appeared headed into the hands of the Cardinals, as they had a seven to two man advantage with four minutes left in the half. However, the Pioneers were able to kill the remaining time in the half preventing SVSU from tying the game before halftime.

“We should have won that point,” SVSU Captain Bryan Janick said. “We screwed that up.”

After the half, the Cardinals made quick work of the Pioneers and took their first point to tie the score at a point a piece.

“We should have played the way we did (that point) the whole time,” Janick said.

However, Delta was able to retain the momentum as they took the final two points of the game, thus clinching their second victory of the season.

The win came as a surprise to some, as Delta had only played one game going into the contest, and SVSU had been on a roll in the season’s first semester accumulating a 7-1 record.

“Delta was never out of the national championship picture,” Halloran said. “I don’t know why anyone would think that (we weren’t.)”

For SVSU, the frustration of losing for only the second time this season was evident.

“We played bad,” Janick said. “Everybody just looked tired. We also had a lot of bad breaks.”

Janick also pointed to the timing of the game on the schedule as to a contributing factor for the loss.

“I think if we had played them the week before we got out (for winter break) it would have been a lot different,” he added. “I think we played bad because it was our first week out of break.”

The two teams are expected to meet again on Feb. 7, during the Michigan Dodgeball Cup tournament.

The tournament features all six of the state’s college dodgeball teams and a state champion will be crowned.

“I definitely can’t wait until we play them again,” Janick said. “We came out like we will be afraid. (The Michigan Dodgeball Cup) will be a lot different.”

However, Halloran thinks his team should be favored to win as well.

“We’re one of two undefeated teams in the tournament and are poised to beat Grand Valley (the other undefeated team) after losing to them in overtime last year,” he said. “We will have the most momentum of any team there.”

Delta’s season continues on Sunday, Jan. 25, when they host Michigan State University. Game time is set for 1 p.m.

Winter break’s effect on dodgeball

I can’t help but notice how much my dodgeball game usually declines over winter break. I don’t expect this year to be an exception either, as I was finally getting to the point I wanted to be at before the fall semester ended. And then, a four week layoff happened and I really am worried about how bad I am going to be tonight at practice.

However, I have been getting back in my workout routine, so maybe… just maybe I will be better than where I left off. While I’m sure I need to get a little rust off I am hoping that I can get my form back and play some of the best dodgeball I ever have.

Enough about me, I also think that effects the team as well. Take SVSU for example. We had a fantastic fall portion of the schedule. Our only loss was to GVSU (aren’t they like the two time defending champs or something?) , and we flat out dominated the rest of our opponents. It may sound like bragging, but I will stand by the scores of our games as proof.

That being said, I think a lot of that has to be thrown out the window the rest of the season. Teams have gone about a month without practicing, so really it is like starting over. There are people on our team that aren’t able to come back, and a few others that plan on joining. So the chemistry of our team is going to be effected at least somewhat. While I still expect SVSU to be one of the best teams the rest of the season, that isn’t going to mean we are going to dominate everyone as we did.

Sunday Jan. 18 we play Delta. Obviously there are plenty of reasons that this is a big game. I think that a lot of people, including Delta’s players think that SVSU is going to beat them. I’m not going to say that Delta is going to win, but I think that it’s going to be more of a battle than most people realize. I don’t care how many players Delta lost last season, they still have Dave Halloran, who is one of the best on the court generals in the league. Had we played a month ago, I would have said SVSU would have won 8-0, but throwing in the curveball of winter break I think it’s anybody’s game. I still think SVSU has the edge, but it’s going to be interesting to see how it plays out.

The Future of College Dodgeball

Since the first time I stepped on the court, I have always wondered where the future of college dodgeball is heading. In 2005, the first season of our league there were just five teams, Delta College, Michigan State University, DePaul University, Kent State University, and Ohio State University. Now we have almost 15 teams playing and several more popping up across the states. But where is it all going?

The beginning of our league kind of reminds me of the beginnings of college football. There were few teams, no coaches, and the officials were terrible. In fact the University of Michigan didn’t have a head coach their first 11 seasons. It seems in our fifth season as a league many of the complaints and problems are the same. However, the growth of our sport can not be ignored either.

Am I going to predict that someday fans are going to pack 5,000 fans in the Breslin Center to watch the University of Michigan play Michigan State University in a game of dodgeball, or have millions of people watch the University of Florida play the Cinderella Henry Ford Community College in the final four on CBS? Not even close, but I do think that this sport has plenty of room to grow and could develop into a great league.

I do not think dodgeball will become a varsity sport, not anytime soon anyways. But I look at college rugby as an example. While not a varsity sport, several schools in each state across the country has a club rugby team. They have conferences, state tournaments, and national tournaments. They also break up the teams into three divisions based on size and how good their team is. I think that in a few years college dodgeball could do something similar very soon.

However, there are a few things standing in the way of our growth. Firstly, as detailed on the league messageboard it is really hard to find people at other schools to get teams started. There is no reason that some of these schools don’t have teams, other than finding the right people to run them.

Secondly, is the cost of traveling to tournaments. We saw it first hand last year when several teams backed out of nationals because they couldn’t afford it. That’s why I have always been in favor of having a regional tournament one week to a month before the national tournament. Charge each team in the regional $200 to play, and give the winning team the money to go to nationals. Doing this you can also cut down on the teams that go to nationals. While still, teams that have to travel far this money may not have enough to cover their trip, they at least have a starting point to get their team to the national tournament.

Thirdly, is the lack of a commissioner or league board. In most developed leagues teams are issued a schedule and they are expected to abide by it. In the NCDA, we have one team who has played eight games, and at least four teams have not even played a game yet. I know that some teams would be against having a league commissioner or league board but in order for it to grow properly it might need to happen someday. Without having someone or a group of people running the league, it is just going to remain a loose collection of teams that meet up once a year for a national tournament. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that, but if we truly want this to grow into a league that is taken seriously then that is what needs to happen.

Before any of this can happen, we need more teams. We have clubs that are interested in joining our league all around us, but because of a lack of teams around them it wouldn’t be feasible for them to join. I also suggest you contact your local TV/Radio station or newspaper to see if they have interest in running stories on your team. The more exposure this league can get, the better. It will get people talking and get people interested. The more people that know about it, the more it has an opportunity to grow.

HFCC Debut spoiled by SVSU

Henry Ford Community College was officially welcomed into the National College Dodgeball Association on Dec. 6.

Saginaw Valley State University did the welcoming, and dealt the visiting Hawks a 16-0 loss.

Despite giving up 16 points (believed to be an NCDA record), Henry Ford believes it’s a start for their young program. After all, they had only formed the club a little over a month before hand and practiced four times before their match-up with the Cardinals.

“We gained a lot (of experience,)” Hawk assistant captain Daniel Bartrum said. “That being our first game in our first year as a team, we were not prepared for how a real game flows. Getting that first game behind us helped us and we also learned some technique from SVSU.”

Some members of the team came to Saginaw the week before, to watch SVSU play Bowling Green State University. They took back with them an idea of what their game the next week would be like, but were still alarmed once they got into actual game play.

“I think our team was a little surprised,” Bartrum said. “Nothing would have prepared us for what a real game feels like.”

To make things worse, most Saginaw Valley players gorilla grip (pinching the ball) while throwing the ball, a method not yet discovered by the Hawks.

“You don’t know how fast the balls are traveling until they are coming at you,” captain Kris Wright said.

SVSU captain Bryan Janick had a similar experience with SVSU when he started his team in 2007. Just a few weeks after their first practice they had to play an experienced Delta College team that at the time was ranked third in the nation.

Now the Cardinals are 7-1 and expecting to be one of the best teams at the national tournament in April.

“They just need to get the word out more and get more people at their practices,” Janick said about Henry Ford. “They need to get their techniques down.”

As for the future, the Hawks have a plan to get their team on the other end of the scoreboard, and have already scheduled games with Michigan State University, Central Michigan University, and BGSU.

“Next semester we will be more prepared,” Bartrum said. “More practices and more experience will help our team a lot.”

The first practice of Delta College Dodgeball

When the day finally comes that my collegiate dodgeball career is over I will have many memories of the game. I am currently in my fifth season in the game and already it seems I will have enough stories to last a lifetime. One such story is the day of the first practice in the history of Delta Dodgeball.

I remember rolling the balls out of the garbage bags that first day. I hadn’t bought any mesh ball bags yet, since our team’s budget consisted of whatever I had in my wallet. No one seemed to mind that I took them out of garbage bags, just like no one seemed to mind that most of the balls had cartoon logos on them. In fact many players seemed to enjoy trying to each other with Dora the Explorer, Rocket Power, and Scooby Doo balls. Besides, I found them all at a Toys R’ Us in a big clearance sale so it felt like a steal. Although I do have to say my personal favorite was the blue Monsters Inc. ball. I cried the day it popped, and it’s still sitting in my room as a shattered memory.

I remember seeing the gym full of over 30 players eager to learn a new game. They had heard we were going to play against Michigan State, Ohio State, and other schools and were about as excited as kid finding a gummy bear on the sidewalk. It seemed like we had so much talent there that day. We had a kid who could catch anything you threw at him (who strangely never showed up again,) a kid who could throw really hard (Michael Parker), and kid that tried to hit the girls on the team in the butt with the balls (Matt Pretzer.)

It was a simple time, really. Words like gorilla grip, shadowing, and shot clock weren’t even mentioned. In fact had you said something like that we probably would have laughed. There were no such things as a yellow or red card, and really we were never even worried behavior would be a problem. Had we tried to give someone a yellow card they probably would have walked out the door never to return.

We thought that we were pretty good too. I mean we only had ourselves to compare to but we felt pretty confident. Sure, we wouldn’t go on to win a game that year, or for half of the next season, but for that one day we felt like we ruled the dodgeball world. Since we were in a secluded gym that most of the other students at Delta didn’t even know existed, who was going to tell us otherwise?