When I began thinking over who to center my first main article of this series, one name stuck out from her play this past season and the new honor of becoming the 2019-20 Women’s MVP: Kathryn Mays. She quickly developed her skills through hard work and dedication, proving that she’s among the top tier of players on Ohio State’s roster. Most people may know her for her incredible catching abilities, but fail to realize that she’s frequently called on as a thrower for the Buckeyes. In three short years, she has climbed to the top of the women’s rankings. With her impressive resume in mind, there seems to be no better choice to kick off this series about strong women in the league than Kathryn.
Ten percent: that’s the percentage of women that comprise the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association (NCDA). The percentage who actually start and play? Significantly smaller. Looking from roster to roster across the league, a woman’s name seldom pops up, however their impact on the court can be significant. Women have been a part of rosters since the league’s conception in 2005, however they did not begin consistently being rostered members with frequent playing time until roughly 2008. The NCDA first began to recognize women’s involvement with the establishment of the Ladies’ Match in 2011 and things have slowly grown from there, adding the women’s All-American list in the 2016-2017 season. As important as this growth was for the NCDA, there’s still a long way to go. Being a woman in the sport of dodgeball, you are continuously over-looked; you’re seen as under-sized, under-powered and, if we’re being honest, under-valued. We’d like to change that mindset. As Michelle Obama once said, “there is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.” My intention with this series is to tell the story of the powerful women, past and present, in the sport of college dodgeball in hopes to begin to erase that stigma. In order to start this, let’s begin with the easiest story to tell: my own.Continue reading “A League of Our Own – Rebecca Shappell”