Freshman Perspective on Dodgeball in the NCDA

The Following was Written  by Chad Hutson:

College can be a scary experience for any incoming freshman. Nerves and apprehension are all part of the journey in education. It’s my second semester at Ball State and I look back at the challenges that I faced in the first couple of weeks. Ball State hosted a club/organization recruitment fair that helped groups recruit new members. I went to the fair and found the Dodgeball Club, a group of guys that were just hanging out, hoping for someone to stop by their booth.

They introduced the club, told some great stories about some of their games, and they had me signed up in no time. The first meeting that I went to, I was expecting an informational meeting about rules and how much it was going to cost. The opposite happened that Monday night, they threw us right into the game. Now, just try to picture this image, 100 students all within a small basketball court trying to play a game of dodgeball. It was pure chaos, but it was a great night of fun and entertainment. Wednesday rolls around and almost half of the new players have already left, leaving about 40 or so players. The games have grown more intense, the veteran players are playing more aggressively. I couldn’t tell you how many times I was hit that night, but it really didn’t matter, I was having too much fun. This happens a couple more nights, more and more people are dropping the club because of the ferocity that some of the seasoned players were going in with. There are now about 15-20 new players that are left in the club, this is the group that will stay and play with the team.

Some brutal honesty here, I was not a great player. I could throw a bit, but my catching and judgement calls were horrible. Over the next couple of weeks, the experienced players started pointing out where I could improve my skills. One Monday we started doing some drills to help us with our gameplay, catching and team throwing being the main drills. The next Wednesday, they introduced the shot clock. It was confusing, and it was a pain to learn how it worked. Why couldn’t we just stick with what I knew and keep it simple? I had these thoughts throughout the practices in which we used the shot clock. Eventually I realized the importance of the clock, and its task of keeping the game going. Not only did it make the game smoother, it pushed some of us to make quick decisions that could impact the entire game. Captain Kevin Frye is an important player for our team, not only is he one of our best players, he is the founder of the club. There are so many more members of the dodgeball club that I would like to mention, such as Nathan Beaty, the head of our HR “dept”. He is a guy that all of us can come to when we are having some issues with school, the club, or anything that is on our minds. This team has really helped me improve my skills on the courts and have molded me into a player that can at least hold his own during some of the games. The next series of months was all about playing the game and having fun.

I have yet to travel to an away tournament, all because of school and other obligations to family, but I plan on going to more this semester. I have heard many stories of games and road trips that ended with a good time. This team is more than a club that meets up 4 hours a week, it’s a family that meets up to have a good time and help each other succeed in school, dodgeball, and life. My first semester was full of nerves and fear just because college is an intimidating challenge that I had to face. Classes were crazy, homework’s was up to my elbows, and my social interactions were awkward. The club helped me release the stress that I was building up, and it cured me of my fear of school work. I might not be the most social person on the team, but they make me feel welcomed and part of something that is bigger than myself. I look forward to this semester with my teammates and getting better as a player. We have already had another recruitment night with a good showing of potential players. I’m still not he MVP of the team, but now in the very least I can share the knowledge that I have gathered and share it with the new players that stick with the club. This semester is going to be a good one, I can just feel it. I’m ready for the spring semester’s tournaments and so is the Ball State Dodgeball Club.

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