We actually have a special treat for this month’s Baller of the Month, as we are awarding a Co-Baller of the Month award. For the month of November it is Kyle Dattelbaum and Liam Bartlett of the University of North Georgia. Both serve as captains for the team, and have had a significant impact on getting their brand new team up and running for the 2016-17 season. They are being awarded for their start-up accomplishments, along with their performance during the Dahlonega Dodgefall Fest.
Hunter Ford: To start off, congrats to both of you guys for earning Co-Baller of the Month for November. Do you guys have any initial thoughts about receiving the award?
Liam Bartlett: Thank you! Personally, I think it’s awesome that we can both share it because I feel like we’ve both put a lot of effort into getting the club going, even if Kyle a little more so.
Kyle Dattelbaum: Yeah, we’ve put in a bunch of work these past 8 months getting UNG started up. And there’s plenty of other devoted and talented players so it’s super cool to be recognized across the league so early in the process.
HF: On that note, as you mentioned, this is your team’s very first year in the NCDA. What do you guys think have been the toughest aspects of starting a brand new program?
KD: Other than the paperwork, recruiting and convincing students to invest their time for travel and practice to play the children’s game we all love on a collegiate level.
LB: Yeah. That’s exactly it. Finding students that take dodgeball seriously and are committed enough has definitely been the most challenging part.
HF: Now both of you guys actually did have experience playing competitive dodgeball in leagues such as Elite and UDC beforehand. That being said, how did you guys find out about the NCDA and having the opportunity to play in the college league instead of what you were accustomed to?
LB: Even to this day it’s so hard for me to not throw my whole body into the ground thinking it’s a trampoline, because I’m just so used to not having those limitations while playing dodgeball. Other than that I’d have to say trying to learn how to pinch.
KD: We had a club back in high school where we played with a similar format after school once a week. I forgot how I came across the league but I knew about it even before starting college. Successfully pinching would probably be the most difficult transition for me also.
HF: So going into this season did you guys have any big goals for your team and have those goals changed at all since then?
KD: I actually had a list back before the club was campus recognized, just basic stuff to get the club functioning like “X” amount of members and hosting a tournament, and we seemed to accomplish all of that. Moving forward, my goal for the team is to be able to compete at Nationals and have each game within 1 or 2 points if we aren’t winning.
HF: Since you guys got the opportunity to host your first ever tournament, what were your initial thoughts both before and after the weekend?
KD: Going into it I think Liam and I were the only ones aware of what were getting into. The squad was still on a high after the performance we had at Georgia Southern a couple weekends before. It was a rude awakening for them to see the organization that you and VCU had and the cannons that Western Kentucky brought. Hopefully it started a fire in them, understanding what it’s going to take to succeed in the NCDA.
Also, I want to say how awesome it is that everybody is inviting and friendly to each other as soon as the game is over. Not sure how many collegiate leagues are like that.
LB: #WhatKyleSaid. But yeah, it’s like “try and destroy someone one second, and lift their legs for a keg stand a few hours later.”
HF: Just to change it up and ask something fun, what is each of your favorite TV shows and is there any reason?
KD: Not much of a TV person BUT I’d have to go with How I Met Your Mother. I’m somewhere caught between Ted Mosby and Barney Stinson with my love life.
LB: Well, I watch way too much TV so that’s pretty tough. Probably either Ray Donovan or House of Lies, because the main characters are complete bad-asses on the outside but they still live with, and handle somewhat well, their own internal struggles. Sons of Anarchy is pretty sweet, too. And Dexter. And Suits. Modern Family, too. I have a problem.
KD: No wonder why you didn’t come to practice on Thursday.
HF: So going forward do you guys have any tournament plans in the spring, either hosting or traveling?
LB: We were talking today about trying to host a tournament possibly in February and we fully intend on going to Nationals in April.
KD: It’ll be nice to get to the state of Kentucky and/or Virginia before Nationals comes around. I’ve even joked about meeting North Texas halfway to get involved with them.
HF: So one last question to end it for tonight. I always want to give people the chance to have closing remarks, so is there anything that you guys wanted to discuss or mention about UNG Dodgeball or yourselves that we haven’t talked about yet?
KD: I was going to thank everybody who helped me out: GV guys I met in NOLA, Felix, Ziggy, Leski, Andrew Gomez, and yourself.