CHICAGO-Ray Meyer: Last Monday we started an experiment at DePaul Dodgeball. We’re recording the breaking in of new PG8.5 dodgeballs, the new Preferred Dodgeball of the NCDA. Check out the previous article for details on the experiment.
Night 01, Monday, 04-Nov-2013:
Balls inflated at dodgeball and introduced into play. They have not been broken in by any particular method, they are straight out of the shipping plastic. Their feel is the standard slipperiness of the final outer coating from the manufacturer. Many complaints and whining about not being able to hold a grip due to this slipperiness, of those that use the grip as their primary method of throwing.
Many players chase and work to use only the few broken in balls, even ignoring the new balls rather than playing with whatever is available. The oldest and most broken in purple PG8.5 is seen as the coveted prize. I fear it shall soon be broken from overuse. It seems an enigma to me, as I have not much of a problem throwing or catching the new balls, often trading away old balls for new ones to the whiners. I’m just happy to play.
Of note is that in the first couple of minutes of play, two old orange PGs go down before the new PGs are inflated and introduced into play.
By the end of the night, the dodgeballs have lost a little bit if their slip, but still appear shiny. They have a long way to go.
Participation count: 43 players
Night 02, Thursday, 07-Nov-2013
A change to the experiment by officers Sam Murphy and Mario Romanelli: They over inflated twelve PG8.5s at home, on Nov 5th, then brought them and introduced them to play. There are balls everywhere now.
The extra 12 balls were overinflated on Tuesday, following Monday night dodgeball. They sat overinflated for two nights, Tuesday and Wednesday, then were deflated to common Match pressure for Thursday dodgeball night. Mario Romanelli [DePaul-85-R] comments on the results of this tactic:
Balls with one nights worth of play were as broken in as over inflating the balls for two nights, and deflating them [before using on Thursday]. So with that logic, the more time spent over inflated the more broken in the balls will be.
As time goes by and dodgeballs are lost during play, we might come back and conduct an experiment with the sole purpose of overinflating the balls and then letting them sit for a number of days.
None of the new balls have perished as of yet. In past cases we’ve seen a small failure rate, about one ball in 24, where a ball pops within the first few nights. One has to be especially careful when inflating the PGs out of the box, the folds of the deflated dodgeball can allow the inflating needle to piece the shell and ruin the ball. Over the years, each officer at DePaul has probably lost one ball because of this.
The condition of the PGs hasn’t changed much. Balls still have a touch of their slick coating, but are mildly easier to handle than first out of the box. People still fight for the older, broken in balls. A decrease in the slickness may account for an apparent decrease in wild throws, as more players are able to get a better grip on the ball. Catches are still abundant, but less wild throws than Night 01.
Participation count: 48 players