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.”