On December 10th and 11th of 2022, NCDA alumni players Joeseph Walsh and Kris Haas hosted the Northern Invasion at Cleveland State University. Joe and Kris are currently part of the Spartans USA Dodgeball Team and this team participates competitively in the USA Dodgeball premier circuit league. For this tournament format, the USA Dodgeball ruleset was used. This is a different format on smaller courts that have other ball types besides 8.5 rubber (foam, no-sting, and cloth). It was an event put on to provide an opportunity to play some more dodgeball before the end of the year and for NCDA players to experience a different format and meet former NCDA players and players outside the league.
The weekend consisted of four divisions: No-sting, 8.5 open, cloth, and 8.5 pinch. No-sting and 8.5 open were played on Saturday and cloth and 8.5 pinch were played on Sunday. There were 12 teams for the no-sting, 10 teams for cloth, 8 teams for open 8.5, and 7 teams for pinch. On the weekend, there were roughly 95 participants: a total of 38 current NCDA players, 31 NCDA alumni players, and 26 Non-NCDA players (a total of 13 NCDA teams were represented). 29 out of the 38 current NCDA players played in all 4 divisions, and 16 of the 31 NCDA alumni players played in all 4 divisions. The winners of each division are as follows: open 8.5 and cloth DMV Grizzles, no-sting Windy City Corruption, and 8.5 pinch the Spartans. Let’s hear some of the thoughts on the event below.
This is what the organizers Joe Walsh and Kris Haas had to say about the event.
Joe Walsh (CSU Alumni)– I think that the tournament was a huge success. The ability to bring USAD, NCDA, and Stonewall teams to the same event just shows how far this sport reaches and that people from all walks of life can come together to play the same game. I hope to believe that everyone felt embraced by one another and the sportsmanship shown throughout the weekend was great. We had a very good showing and I hope for this to be a recurring tournament which can get bigger each and every time.
To see all the NCDA players in attendance throughout the two days was great and I believe getting college players to tournaments like this shows that the sport is about more than just a national championship in college or being overly competitive to where people can’t enjoy themselves around you. This helps NCDA players to know they have lots of opportunities to play this great sport through and beyond college. Looking forward we can hope to see more NCDA players in USAD and competing against the best players possible to improve themselves and their game. I want to thank everyone for everything they did in terms of this tournament and also thank everyone who has helped make this game what it is today. Let’s keep this great sport going and continue making it one of the best sports.
Kris Haas (CSU Alumni)– The event was incredibly successful and fun for players, especially those looking to branch out or curious about USA Dodgeball and other ball types. This tournament really showed how much love for the sport NCDA players really have, regardless of the ball type. We’re very likely going to see more interest in USA Dodgeball from current NCDA players thanks to this tournament.
The following are the questions I asked of the individuals who played in this event.
Erik Zander (UWP Alumni)- What did you think of the different format of play and the different ball types? Is this something that you would do again?
Sterling Gauche (UC)-Well, having done the USA Dodgeball premier tour this past summer, I was used to the format of play when it comes to different things like hard boundaries or the burden ball. Trying out Cloth and No-Sting was a really cool experience. It’s very different from pinch, but I enjoyed them both and I think everyone in the NCDA should try playing a different format of play with those different ball types. Pinch is still my favorite ball type and will always be the best ball type!
This is something I would and will do again. Doing these non-NCDA sanctioned events, whether it be something like this or USA Dodgeball, it’s something I recommend everyone in the NCDA to do. Especially, if you’re looking to diversify your experience with dodgeball, or just hone in on your current skills. I also will say, sign up for USA dodgeball this upcomming spring/summer, you become a better player by playing those who are better than you.
Vanessa Hudson (Kent)-The Northern Invasion was a great experience for someone like me who has only ever played 8.5 pinch dodgeball in the NCDA. It was extremely overwhelming at first, with all of the new rules (especially hard boundaries) and how fast paced the rounds were, but once I understood what we were supposed to do, I was able to settle down and begin to really play. I am beginning to really like no-sting, it’s my second time ever playing it but I’m getting pretty good. I respect cloth, but it was not my strong suit. I loathed 8.5 open, but I am glad I got to say I did it (hopefully never again). Lastly, of course, 8.5 pinch was my favorite, but that’s just the NCDA in me. I would absolutely do this again!
Reni Kaiser (BGSU)– I’ve been playing with the USAD rule types and ball types since this summer, so the different format of play was an easy transition to the ruleset and I do like it. I didn’t play 8.5 open but have played it before and personally its not my cup of tea. I like playing with the no-sting balls because they are smaller and lighter. I also liked playing cloth again. I played no-sting all summer in the USAD tournaments and cloth about three times including the Northern Invasion tournament. I like being able to play the smaller ball types since personally pinch is harder to throw for me. I definitely would play again if something like this pops up.
Matt Barnett (WMU)– The different format was something to get used to. Getting used to ricochet rules, was very tough to do as thats not a thing in the NCDA. The burden ball I enjoyed as it added some more strategy. I did often find myself stepping out of bounds with the hard boundaries. Obviously, playing pinch was my favorite, but i would definitely play no-sting and cloth again. This is 100% definitely something I would do again.
Felix Perrone (WKU Alumni)-These home-brewed events are great for the dodgeball community because they give more people of all skill sets and experience the chance to participate without the commitment of joining a full-time team or a league. I would Absolutely do this event again! I love these types of events.
Daniel Fernald (UMD Alumni)-I thought it was a really good event all around. I believe it is really important for NCDA and former NCDA players to get exposure to numerous ball types. Yes, we all love pinch, but there are plenty of different styles that I think people will love if they just give it a chance! In my opinion, all current NCDA players should look for any opportunity to play more dodgeball regardless of ball type. Each different style can help you refine certain skills and turn you into a better all around player. I also find it will be easier for the NCDA to have a voice in the broader dodgeball community if we break out of our pinch only bubble. This is an event I would do again!
Tyler Underwood (Non-NCDA) – Overall, it was a great time and worth the travel to participate in. I took part in all of the divisions aside from the pinch division. Through both days of play, I saw no issues in terms of scheduling and rule officiating, which are pretty crucial to get right. It was a ton of dodgeball, and that’s pretty important as well.
Erik Zander (UWP)-What are your thoughts on the participation of the current and former NCDA players?
Felix Perrone (WKU Alumni)– I think this is some of the best exposure that current NCDA players can get. A lot of the established non-NCDA teams have been playing together for many years, so it’s great for current players to be able to see what years of team chemistry can do. While some of the NCDA players have youth and endurance on their side, the more experienced teams of former NCDA players sometimes have an advantage because they have more situational awareness that only comes with spending a lot of time on the court. For newer players, these types of events are a great way to be able to see how others play the sport.
Tyler Underwood (Non-NCDA)– Knowing that new and current NCDA players would be showing up to the tournament was one of the reasons I made the trip. It’s always exciting to see new people join the dodgeball family. I know it’s hard for some NCDA players to see anything beyond the college format, but to see so many come out for it, gave me a little more hope we can continue to grow this sport. This is a format that will carry on way past their years in college and bring them to something just as special.
Final Thoughts– This was a great event that allowed for players to test out a new format and see what other options are out there to experience dodgeball. As a league, we encourage our players to try out different formats and ball types as it is a great way to learn new strategies and better your skills to ultimately make you a better player . We also encouarge it because it is a great way to meet new people and make friends who like you, love the sport and just want to play dodgeball! If you are interested in seeing the different formats or looking for pictures on the day, go to the links below. Make sure if you use any of the pictures give Kris Haas credit as she has done a great job taking them this year! Also, make sure to subscribe to each channel!
Finally, I wanted to let you know of another opportunity to play dodgeball that is being put on by Tyler Underwood. It is is called the Chicago Collision. It involves the USA ruleset and the ball types are no-sting and foam and teams are made up randomly. He will also be having a women’s division at this event. Information for this event can also be found at the link below. I highly recommend trying it out as it is a lot of fun!