On April 16th and 17th, teams from all over the country will be in Bowling Green, Ohio for a weekend of Dodgeball to determine who the best team in the country is and for many, just to play the sport they love. I had the opportunity to speak with Tyrell Smith,
captain for Bowling Green State University and Director of Nationals about developments and changes for the big weekend coming up in a few months.
Here is our conversation:
Jacob Leski: Tyrell, you have taken on quite a bit of responsibilities this season. Head captain for BGSU and the Director of Nationals. How do you feel you have done so far managing both of those positions and all of your other personal obligations?
Tyrell Smith: I won’t lie. It’s been tough. Being head captain, Director of Nationals, along with juggling two jobs and being a full time student puts a strain on things. I’ve learned to work one thing at a time. I also have a group of guys that can help me get stuff done as well. My seniors have stepped up so I don’t completely lose my mind. So far, I’m doing OK. This next semester I will be looking for my captains to help me more so we can have a successful season and a smooth nationals.
JL: I appreciate the honesty. What you are doing takes a lot of time and hard work in all areas. Before I get to Nationals, what are your thoughts and feelings on how your squad has done so far this season?
TS: We look good, but incomplete. With other guys working, every tournament I have had people missing. My new guys stepped up a lot. They met some challenging teams that really toughened them up for the 2nd half of the season. I’m hoping that I will be at 100% for the 2nd half.
JL: I hope so too. So, nationals. What do you have planned so far?
TS: The courts are reserved. One of my players has the designs set for it. We have the majority of prices confirmed so we can start getting things ordered within the next few weeks. My advisor is talking about possibly having our tournament broadcasted by the Toledo news. Once I get exact prices I will send the nationals fee, which will probably be the same as last year. I’ll see if I can get some hotel rooms reserved. There are about 15-20 hotels within a 15 mile radius.
JL: That is good to hear. Will the nets be up surrounding each court? That would be great publicity for the league if we were filmed by a news station. Last year we had almost all of the matches streamed. Do you see that being a problem this year with the makeup of your courts?
TS: The nets will be surrounding the courts, which will change up some strategy a bit. It shouldn’t be a problem seeing that it’ll be enough room for them to film and avoid any dodgeballs. Also no dodgeballs will be scattering all over the place.
JL: That will be nice. For teams like GVSU and JMU whom have a tendency to rely on using a wall to get a ball back will have to change things up. With the likely probability of having more than 16 teams attending, what changes will you make to ensure that every team gets at least 3 games on day 1?
TS: I want to keep it at 3 games for sure. Any more would be pointless. My plan is for everyone to play games throughout the day so no team is sitting around for a long period of time. I will probably keep the same format of scheduling teams as last year. One team they want to play, one that is at their level and one they haven’t played before. Being in the lower seed for a while and being in the middle pack now, coming into nationals it sucks playing a top 3 team because it sucks traveling a ways just to be a part of a firing squad all day. So I would like some even matches, but not too much to where everyone’s arms are dead before Sunday even gets here. However I want to have it where a team like Ohio or Akron doesn’t end up playing a team like GVSU or you guys (CMU) on at least the first day. We will still have the all star game and ladies games. I like the draft we did during the Kentucky nationals in 2013.
JL: Would you be daring enough to match Michigan teams against each other on day 1? How many courts will there be and do you plan on not doing Michigan vs. The World?
TS: Depends. I wanna keep it close. Ultimately, I don’t want to have things where lower teams are at the other end of a firing squad all day. We will have four courts so we’ll have the room to get things done smoothly. The all star game format is still in question so we’ll have to see how the second half of the season goes to put it in stone. I’ll try to avoid putting GVSU and you (CMU) or MSU because I know you guys play each other all the time and that’s more of a final four/championship match-up. I just don’t want 16 playing 2 or 1 in the 1st day.
JL: I think that is fair. Nothing fun about traveling for multiple hours to get your ass whooped day 1. So hotels, you mentioned you have yet to book any. I know from my personal experience many teams enjoy staying in the same hotel, especially when it is relatively close to campus. Last year WKU provided an area for teams to relax and food for teams to eat. Is that a possibility again this year?
TS: I would definitely like to do that. There’s a lot of paperwork for us to fill out for the school to provide us with food so we’ll try to do it ourselves. We’ll have a room for teams to eat and just chill out. I’ll definitely ask WKU how much everything was.
JL: Glad to hear it. Thank you for all that you do in planning Nationals. It is no small task. Tyrell, is there anything else about Nationals you would like to add before we finish?
TS: Yeah. I’m thinking of maybe letting the audience play in a exhibition match. Have a few people from the league play and let the audience get involved.
JL: Glad to hear it. Good luck to you and your team for the rest of the season!
TS: Same to you guys. You look great. This might be the year for you guys (CMU).
JL: That’s the goal my friend, hope to see you in the near future.