When the day finally comes that my collegiate dodgeball career is over I will have many memories of the game. I am currently in my fifth season in the game and already it seems I will have enough stories to last a lifetime. One such story is the day of the first practice in the history of Delta Dodgeball.
I remember rolling the balls out of the garbage bags that first day. I hadn’t bought any mesh ball bags yet, since our team’s budget consisted of whatever I had in my wallet. No one seemed to mind that I took them out of garbage bags, just like no one seemed to mind that most of the balls had cartoon logos on them. In fact many players seemed to enjoy trying to each other with Dora the Explorer, Rocket Power, and Scooby Doo balls. Besides, I found them all at a Toys R’ Us in a big clearance sale so it felt like a steal. Although I do have to say my personal favorite was the blue Monsters Inc. ball. I cried the day it popped, and it’s still sitting in my room as a shattered memory.
I remember seeing the gym full of over 30 players eager to learn a new game. They had heard we were going to play against Michigan State, Ohio State, and other schools and were about as excited as kid finding a gummy bear on the sidewalk. It seemed like we had so much talent there that day. We had a kid who could catch anything you threw at him (who strangely never showed up again,) a kid who could throw really hard (Michael Parker), and kid that tried to hit the girls on the team in the butt with the balls (Matt Pretzer.)
It was a simple time, really. Words like gorilla grip, shadowing, and shot clock weren’t even mentioned. In fact had you said something like that we probably would have laughed. There were no such things as a yellow or red card, and really we were never even worried behavior would be a problem. Had we tried to give someone a yellow card they probably would have walked out the door never to return.
We thought that we were pretty good too. I mean we only had ourselves to compare to but we felt pretty confident. Sure, we wouldn’t go on to win a game that year, or for half of the next season, but for that one day we felt like we ruled the dodgeball world. Since we were in a secluded gym that most of the other students at Delta didn’t even know existed, who was going to tell us otherwise?