WKU: St Jude Tournament

Story by: M. Blake Harrison

On Saturday, Feb. 13, Western Kentucky University hosted a five-team charity tournament at the Raymond B. Preston Health and Activities Center.

All proceeds went to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

In its first game, WKU faced Northwestern State University out of Louisiana, who was competing in its first-ever tournament.

Many opposing players said they were caught off guard by the Deamons’ efforts, specifically because of their inexperience.

After dropping the second point, the Toppers sealed the victory with three straight points to finish the job.

WKU sophomore Kyle Dahl made his presence known late to push them to victory.

“I just had to step up and make the throws,” Dahl said. “You’ve just got to have those certain people that want to step up if you want to win.”

Though he did perform well in his first game, Dahl said he was trying to save his arm for the next two.

In their second game, Western fell to The Ohio State, 3-1.

The Buckeyes beat them quite convincingly, winning three consecutive points after allowing WKU to win the first.

OSU didn’t discriminate, going undefeated in the tournament and taking home the trophy.

Joe Spicuzza, a senior for the Buckeyes, said he really enjoyed his time in Bowling Green.

“It’s been great,” Spicuzza said. “This is probably one of the funnest times I’ve had playing dodgeball.”

Up 2-0 at the half, WKU went on to beat Kent State University by a margin of three to one.

Western sophomore Colby Osborne was key to his team’s win over KSU.

“You really had to pace yourself, pick and choose your shots,” Osborne said.

Josh Raymer, founder of WKU’s dodgeball team, said he wanted the team to host an enjoyable tournament that provided a competitive atmosphere.

He admitted that some other teams are ahead of the Hilltoppers at this point, but said he sees progress being made.

“We’re right there at the cusp of being at their level,” Raymer said. “I think we really measured up to what I’ve seen so far.”

While each team participating did want to win, it was clear that there was a greater mission to be accomplished.

Through the sale of tournament t-shirts and spectators’ donations, $1,010.76 was raised for the Research Hospital.

Felix Perrone, a Western sophomore, was instrumental in the event’s planning.

“I wanted to have a great time and try and raise some money for these kids,” Perrone said.

His father, Peter Perrone, who is the vice president of PNC Bank in Bowling Green, was able to secure $500 from the bank to add to the amount raised.

“It’s a worthwhile cause,” he said. “We were just glad to be able to help out a little bit.”

Kentucky Dodgeball Classic

Six teams came together for the second annual Kentucky Dodgeball Classic on Nov. 16. Three teams finished the day at a perfect 3-0, and three others finished 0-3, yet Saginaw Valley State University was awarded the first place trophy due to point differential.

For SVSU, it was their first tournament championship as a team.

“The thing I was most impressed with is how many people (on our team) actually wanted to go this year,” SVSU president and captain Bryan Janick said. “It was nice having a full team even though six varsity guys didn’t go.”

Saginaw Valley opened up their tournament with a 7-1 win over Western Kentucky. They followed it up with two more convincing wins over the University of Louisville 9-0, and host University of Kentucky 5-0.

“We played really well, but the one game that stuck out the most to me was when we lost our only point to Western Kentucky,” Janick said. “The next game we did not let them past the half court line and the win only took 45 seconds. It was amazing.”

Michigan State University and Kent State University also went undefeated, as they topped the three Kentucky schools as well. MSU was credited with finishing second and Kent State third.

“The tournament was a great opportunity to play some teams early in the season that we don’t normally see until nationals,” Michigan State president Michael Youngs said. “I think that our rookies got some much needed experience and all in all it was a great tournament for our team.”

While Western Kentucky, Louisville, and Kentucky went a collective 0-9 on the day, they still gained a lot of experience.

For Louisville, it was only their second day of action in the National College Dodgeball Association.

“It was really tough playing against more experienced teams,” Louisville player Lainey Birkhead said.

“Everyone threw a lot harder and seemed to have at least some kind of strategy in place. We went into the tournament wanting to gain experience and have fun and I think we were able to do just that,” she said.

While Western Kentucky was able to beat Louisville earlier in the season, they found playing the northern teams much more difficult.

“In order to beat the non-Kentucky teams, we must learn to play better as a team and stop attacking alone,” Western Kentucky president Josh Raymer said.

“We also must do a better job of watching out for cross court throws and dominate the other team from the opening rush. We stay on the baseline too much and let the other team pick us off in bunches,” he said.

Why the NCDA needs conferences

Story by: Kris Wright

While we as a league are still young, we need to begin organizing and establish ourselves as a real league.

Our first step should be to set up conferences, which would set up my next idea of requiring teams to play one or two games throughout the season in order to play at Nationals. Host teams spend way too much time and money to plan Nationals to have teams who aren’t serious cancel at the last minute and make the hosting team pay for it.

The conferences would also give more meaning to every game and every rivalry. However, the conferences would not affect Nationals since every team plays one or two games. What it would do is make conference tournaments and give more bragging rights to other teams. It would also make regular season games more meaningful to the standings and to the players.

Finally, we can add more meaning to tournaments leading up to Nationals. Tournaments like the Michigan Dodgeball Cup or the Kentucky Classic can turn into conference championship tournaments rather than round robin tournaments and can be played in March rather than January or February. But the original round robin MDC and Kentucky Classic can still happen in order to preserve tradition.

While some of these conferences contain potential teams, it’s just to give an even number of members.

Potential Conferences

Michigan Conference

Saginaw Valley State University, Delta College, Central Michigan, Michigan Tech, Eastern Michigan University, Michigan State University, Ferris State, Grand Valley State University

Ohio Valley Conference

Kent State, Ohio State, Bowling Green, Miami of Ohio, Western Kentucky, Kentucky, Louisville, Virginia Military Institute, Georgia Tech, Penn State University, University of Cincinnati

Mid West Conference
Depaul, Western Illinois, Wisconsin – Platteville, Nebraska – Omaha, Nebraska – Lincoln, Iowa State University, Moody Bible Institute

So Much To Do So Little Time

Wow It’s been awhile since I’ve said anything to the world of college dodgeball. Since last I posted a lot of things have happened. Nationals has taken up a lot of my brain space so I’ve barely realized the recent reclusion back to me being the sole girl member of our team.

Recently I’ve gotten confirmations from the court space and the hotel. I’ve gotten in contact with the BCSN which will hopefully get us some television exposure and I’ll be contacting local news stations to get a buzz going in the Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan region. Some possible sponsors (once contacted back) will be Huntington Bank, Buffalo Wild Wings, The National Dodgeball League, The Copy Shop, Aardvark Embroidery, and the Black Swamp Bootleggers.

Along with 4 courts of dodgeball craziness, the infamous BGSU radar gun will be present to officially clock the NCDA’s fastest throw and teams with the most high speed throws. All I can say is that Nationals this year will be a ton of fun and I can’t wait to see all of the wonderful teams of the NCDA in April.

Crunching the Numbers

The young man sits at his computer as the iridescent glow of the screen washes over his face and the anxious look adorning it.

His palms are sweaty and his gaze darts back and forth across the screen in search of an answer.

The stares of those seated around him are threatening to burn holes in his skull.

His brain is urging him to act but the right selection continues to slip through his thoughts like a wet noodle.

Alex Soukup is already off the boards, I knew he’d be the first one taken.

I’m really leaning toward either Andy Johnson or Miles Potter. Either one would be a great choice, but their stats make it hard to pick one over the other!

Or maybe I go with a dark horse like Jack Young?

Gahhhhh, why does this have to be so difficult?!

That poor soul you just read about? It’s me.

But not the real me.

This is a hypothetical Josh who exists in a world where college dodgeball has soared past football and basketball to become America’s most beloved collegiate game.

In this alternate reality, it’s the same time of year we’re currently enjoying. School’s out for the summer and dodgeballers across the country are enjoying a relaxing off-season.

So why is the hypothetical me analyzing the dodgeball prowess of some of the game’s best players?

Because I’m playing fantasy dodgeball, of course!

(Those sounds you hear are the chuckles of all the skeptics and pessimists who’re thinking, “Oh great, here we go again…”)

Betcha that was the same reaction fantasy football would’ve gotten back in the days when the ball looked more like a watermelon.

I know it requires a big leap to even consider fantasy dodgeball at this point in our sport’s history.

But this is my column and I make the rules. So there.

The idea for a column about the very distant possibility of fantasy dodgeball hit me in the week leading to my league’s fantasy football draft.

I was looking at the list of players and their projected stats and started thinking to myself, “How cool would it be if these were the faces of college dodgeball players staring back at me?”

How proud would I feel knowing that dodgeball enthusiasts across the nation were pouring over the vital facts and figures of their favorite players in the weeks leading up to the season?

Let me answer that question for you: stupendously.

But when I started thinking about it some more, I realized my dream scenario was missing the basic foundation of fantasy sports: viable statistics.

After all, fantasy sports wouldn’t exist without stats.

That would be like a car without tires: it might look good but it isn’t going anywhere.

It was when I hit this snag that the hamster really started turning in his wheel.

A possible stat would dance through my head like a graceful ballerina only to disappear like a supermodel’s waistline for one reason or another.

Too inconsequential. Too hard to calculate. Whoops, wrong sport!

I focused my brainstorming by reviewing the stats available to fantasy football players.

Then it hit me like a GVSU fireball to the face (minus the brain damage).

Fantasy football stats are designed to evaluate how much of an asset a player would be for your team.

Dodgeball stats should do the same thing – if you were considering adding a player to your team (real of fantasy), what kind of impact would they have?

Turns out clearing this mental hurdle was the equivalent of drilling a hole in the middle of a dam – the ideas starting coming so fast I had to write them all down so I wouldn’t forget any.

Which brings me to the big reveal.

After haphazard consideration and not-so-thorough analysis, I present the first generation of college dodgeball statistics!

STAT #1: Throws

We’ll start out with an obvious one. Players with good hands might be more valuable, but dodgeballers who sport rocket arms are undoubtedly the rock stars of our game. Seeing how many times a guy throws the ball during the game measures his aggressiveness and his overall arm strength. The dodgeball equivalent of shot attempts in basketball, this stat measures the number of times a player has thrown during the season. Since throwing more increases your likelihood of getting someone out, you would typically assume the more throws the better. But a high number of throws can also be a negative if you’ve amassed a large total in stats number 4 and 5, which we’ll get to in a second.

STAT #2: Kills

If this stat sounds scary, it’s because it is, especially if you’re facing GVSU. I would consider the total number of kills a player has to be a “money stat.” It’s like the number of touchdowns a quarterback throws in football. It’s a stat that’s clear cut and indisputable. If a QB throws 45 touchdowns, he’s a good quarterback. If a dodgeball player racks up 60 kills in a season, he’s a good player. That being said, it’s also important to consider stat number 3 when discussing kills.

STAT #3: Kill Percentage

In basketball, great shooters can really help their team when they’re shooting a good percentage. But when they go cold, their erratic shooting can really hurt their team’s chances. Kill percentage is a mirror image of shooting percentage, taking the total number of kills and dividing it by the total number of throws to tell you what percentage of a player’s throws actually knocked an opponent out of the game. Having never gathered dodgeball statistics, I can’t say for certain what the kill percentage would be for the league’s best throwers. But I would imagine it being along the same lines as some of the NBA’s most prolific scorers, meaning a percentage somewhere between 40-50% would put you among the league’s elite. This stat’s also important because it measures a player’s efficiency when throwing. A high percentage means that player is picking his spots and not making wasted throws. And considering the tournament format of most dodgeball competitions, preserving one’s arm strength can never be undervalued.

STAT #4: Throws Caught

This is a very damaging stat for the sheer fact that it hurts a team more than any other performance measure. The total number of throws a player makes that the opposition catches indicates several things about that player. The first is that the player is likely undisciplined in his throwing habits. Since a huge part of earning kills lies in throwing strategy, a high number of throws caught likely means a player is making long, lazy throws or is simply challenging players who are adept at catching. Either way, this also shows a lack of dodgeball knowledge that will likely translate into other statistical categories.

STAT #5: Caught Percentage

The inverse of kill percentage, this stat measures the number of throws caught divided by the number of throws. This would be an embarrassing stat if it got above a normal percentage. A good comparison would be a player with a low free throwing shooting percentage in the NBA. As much as that stat’s a warning sign for NBA teams, this stat should also raise a red flag in dodgeball circles. Not only does it consequently decrease a player’s kill percentage (and his kills), it also contributes to another forthcoming stat that players should be keen to avoid.

STAT #6: Blocks

While it’s probably one of the least glamorous dodgeball stats, the total number of blocks a player accumulates would have a large scoring impact in my fantasy dodgeball realm. I mentioned it in an another piece, but answer me this: if Player A gets 5 kills in a game and blocks made by Player B keep 10 of his teammates in the game, which player is more valuable to his team? You could make a solid case for either argument. To further augment the importance of blocking in dodgeball, consider this comparison: in football, whether an offense is running or passing the ball, what is one thing that offense must do if it wants to succeed either way? That’s right, it must block. Making blocks for retreating players keeps your throwers in a game. In many ways, it’s the equivalent of an assist in basketball since you’re setting a teammate up to do something after your effort. A high number of blocks can also correlate to a higher number of kills considering players who charge forward to throw are often attacked before their attempt.

STAT #7: Catches

Catching is the single most important thing a player can do in a dodgeball game. It’s a simple truth that’s kept a team like OSU at the top of the league every year. For that reason, catches would earn huge points in fantasy dodgeball. It would also be a stat that contributed heavily to a player’s overall skill level. Fans might look at kills, but fellow players will look at catches. The number of rebounds a basketball player has per game is a great comparison for this stat. Like catching, rebounding is tough and doesn’t always draw the reaction from the crowd that a sick dunk might. But teams love players that step up and rebound, and if you look at the stats, teams that win the rebound battle often win the game. A focus on catching might translate to fewer kills. But I wouldn’t be surprised if that kind of team-first mentality didn’t translate into a higher number of blocks and a lower number of our next stat.

STAT #8: Outs

You can’t help your team if you’re on the sideline. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that out. However, it does take some thinking to realize the impact that a high number of outs has on almost every other stat on this list. Whether it’s by getting hit, throwing a caught ball or stepping out of bounds, a player’s total outs is a huge detriment to his overall effectiveness. It’s the same for players with a high number of fouls in basketball. Outs once again suggest a lack of discipline that doesn’t bode well for a player or his team. Players with high caught percentages will obviously have high out totals, as will players who play on teams without prolific blockers. In fantasy dodgeball, this would be the primary warning flag when drafting a player. If he gets out a lot, he’s not going to carry much value.

STAT #9: Out Percentage

This is the cousin of the kill and caught percentages. Out percentage takes the total number of points that concluded with a player being out divided by the total number of points they played. It basically tells you how likely it is that a player will be on the court when a point concludes. For example, if Player A has an out percentage of 23, then there’s a 77% chance he’ll be on the court when a point concludes. It’s a great measure of a player’s resilience and their grasp of dodgeball’s important skills. After all, being on the court at the end of a point is basically a game of survival. If a player has a low out percentage, it means they’re adept at blending in with their surroundings or they block, catch and kill better than their opponent. If it’s the latter, then a low out percentage can typically be considered a good gauge of player effectiveness.

STAT #10: Ball Grabs

Its name might draw a laugh, but this is an underrated stat in college dodgeball. Teams like GVSU have proven that ball control is essential for victory. Control the balls and you can dictate the tempo of the game. Teams that dictate the tempo of the game usually win. It’s a logical progression that starts with a good opening rush. In order to come back from the rush with a majority of the balls, you need fast players. A ball grab is awarded when a player comes away from a rush with a ball. This stat helps to quantify and reward speed, a quality that often goes unnoticed during competition. Consider it dodgeball’s version of the stolen base. In baseball, speedy baserunners can put you in a position to win. Same goes with our game.

STATS #11, 12, 13: Kills, Blocks, and Catches Per Game

It’s always important to have a “per game” stat thrown in to reward players who perform consistently over several games. Looking at the total number of kills, blocks and catches only tells half the story. Since fantasy dodgeball occurs only after the league has set schedules for every team, per game discrepancies aren’t a factor. Per game stats also help interested parties know roughly what they can expect from a certain player. If you’re the captain of a team and looking to start a guy who can get you 10 blocks per game, all you do is look at his BPG. Per game stats will also help determine league leaders in each major category.

That concludes my initial list of dodgeball stats.

Does your head hurt now? Mine too.

But choke down some Tylenol and bear with me. We’re almost finished.

I’m very aware that fantasy dodgeball is on a horizon many years in the future. In fact, fantasy sports might not even be around by the time this becomes a possibility.

Regardless of that fact, this college dodgeballer thinks it’s about time our beloved game got a statistical facelift.

The stats I’ve outlined are relevant, original, and best of all, easy to calculate.

At the very least, I say we try it out with bigger programs like GVSU or SVSU and see how they work.

Like any improvement, I’m sure there will be tweaks and upgrades that need to be made.

Once the wrinkles are ironed out, I think we’ll all be amazed at how long we went without stats.

Besides, how fun would it be to whisper to your teammate in a crowded elevator, “You’re just jealous because I’ve got five more kills than you.”

That’s what I thought.

Chronicling the NCDA’s Rise

Story by: Nick Wright & Aleks Bomis

The following is an excerpt from a message board post recounting the league’s history. A more detailed account may be available the near future.

From Wright:

First exhibition match in college dodgeball history (as far as we know): Ohio State at Kent State. Ohio State won, although the rules were much different, the atmosphere much more of a friendly game to have fun than an actual match. The first real game in the league with two teams and set rules was Delta v MSU, where MSU won. Bomis obviously got the ball rolling on that one as the captain for MSU and as far as I can recall, Ben Murphy acted as such for Delta. This match was the first “Michigan Dodgeball Cup.”

That was the only “regular season” game that year (2004-2005). The then titled “Spartan Dodgeball Invitational (SDI)” acted as the inaugural MDC championship tournament and featured 5 teams: MSU, Delta, Ohio State, Kent State and DePaul, with Nebraska being invited but not showing.

I believe the Saturday round robin portion went as follows:

OSU 6-0 (def Kent St twice, def Delta twice, def MSU, def DePaul)
Kent St 4-2 (def MSU twice, def DePaul, def Delta, loss OSU twice)
DePaul 3-3 (def MSU twice, def Delta, loss Kent St, loss OSU)
MSU 1-4-1 (def Delta, tie Delta, loss Kent twice, loss OSU, loss DePaul twice)
Delta 0-5-1 (loss OSU twice, loss MSU, loss Kent St, loss DePaul, tie MSU)

The Sunday portion of the tournament featured the top 4 teams (Delta did not play because at the time they were not an official organization/club within their school yet, so were deemed ineligible. I imagine part of it also had to do with the uneven number of teams and the amount of times that we were able to use the facilities that we were in.)

Semi Finals:

Kent St def DePaul
OSU def MSU

Finals:

OSU def Kent St 4-2 (OSU trailed 2-1 at halftime)

The next year was the first full year of the league where there was a regular season. Oakland University, Kentucky and of course, GVSU, made their debuts this season. I wish I had the full regular season standings (maybe I can dig them up in another place that I wrote them down, but most of my record keeping of this time period was on the old OSU dodgeball website which was through the now defunct Geocities hosting site).

The only thing I can state for sure is that this year featured the first Ohio State Invitational, which was supposed to be Ohio State, Kentucky and Kent State. Kent State ended up not being able to make it, so it was just OSU welcoming Kentucky into the league by winning 16-4 (The regulation time score was something like 8-2 and we just kept playing for another hour or two since we had the gym space rented.)

I know GVSU stormed onto the scene and dispatched of Delta and MSU in a few individual matches, and then again in the Michigan Dodgeball Cup, so they ended the regular season ranked #1. Both GVSU and OSU were the only undefeated teams that season, but GVSU had played several more regular season games than OSU.

If I’m not mistaken, DePaul hosted their first tournament that year too, which consisted of themselves, MSU, Kentucky and Kansas State, who actually had a team. I think I’m forgetting another team that participated in this one (Delta, maybe), but I know it wasnt GVSU, Kent or OSU. I remember hearing that this tournament was pretty evenly matched and every team had at least one win and at least one loss in the round robin portion. I’m 99% sure MSU won this tournament because I remember Bomis being all excited and telling me all about it in an AIM conversation, adding that the talk of the tournament was “How good GVSU was,” “The Matrix guy has a cannon for an arm” and “Everyone is afraid of OSU’s Big Jon.”

Delta was also vastly improved during the regular season. I remember being really surprised at the number of matches they ended up playing that year (something like 12 or 16 games) and won roughly half of them–they mostly played vs MSU, Oakland and GVSU. I cant remember if Henry Ford Community College, Alma, or Wayne State had a team this year that they played against. Either those colleges had a team and played once or twice, or they were rumored to be starting teams and they didnt quite get off the ground in time for this season. I wanna say they went to the DePaul tournament as well…so they had pretty much played every team in the league at least once except for the two Ohio teams by the time the National Tournament came around.

We went into the 2006 NCDA championship tournament with 8 teams:

GVSU, OSU, Kent St, MSU, Delta, DePaul, Oakland and Kentucky (Kentucky ended up not coming due to financial reasons). They were replaced by a “JV” team (I believe from GVSU, or possibly MSU) to even out the number of games each team would play in the round robin. Because of the increased number of teams, the round robin portion of the tournament was divided into two pools based on regular season rankings/winning percentage/whatever

Pool A: GVSU, Kent St, MSU, GVSU JV
Pool B: OSU, Delta, DePaul, Oakland

Each team would play the other three teams in the pool once. This was due to there being a lot of arm fatigue by the end of the first day in the first year’s tournament.

The results from Day 1:

Pool A-
GVSU : 3-0
Kent St: 2-1
MSU: 1-2
GVSU JV: 0-3

Pool B-
OSU: 3-0
DePaul: 2-1
Delta: 1-2 (to be honest, I dont remember who won the Delta/DePaul game…couldve been Delta)
Oakland: 0-3

So the Single Elimination Championships went like this:

Round 1

MSU def Kent St
Delta def DePaul (these two matches were the first two held as we only had two courts to play on)

followed by

OSU def Oakland (Oakland conceded defeat at halftime, the second half was a massive free-for all among all interested players from any team. Actually this was the highlight of the tournament, lots of fun)
GVSU was awarded a first round bye for being undefeated in round robin play and having more wins in the regular season than OSU

Second Round:

GVSU def MSU
OSU def Delta

Consolation game:

MSU and Delta elected to not play the game and split 3rd place, possibly due to time constraints.

Championship game:

OSU def GVSU 2-1. GVSU led 1-0 at halftime. They won the first game fairly decisively, but then the second game was very drawn out and ended up going all the way to halftime without a point being scored. OSU then came out and won their own fairly decisive game to start the second half. The final full game of the match was a pretty extensive one with that at one point was a 7 on 5 OSU advantage, but then OSU got a couple huge plays to close it out and was able to take the lead with about 2 or 3 minutes left in the second half. GVSU came out blazing, but there just wasnt enough time for them to mount a comeback. This game also got pretty heated at times, but afterwards there was good sportsmanship on both sides and despite this matchup being hyped pretty much all season and it being really close, both sides left with a lot of respect for each other. OSU has since always held GVSU in high regard both in terms of ability (obviously) but also in terms of sportsmanship.

After that, I graduated, moved down south and didn’t get to be part of the league in any fashion in 2007, even as a spectator. So beyond 2006, I cant give you and specific details besides that the next two seasons also featured championship games with GVSU and OSU squaring off but with GVSU winning both of them.

As I can recall, the original founders and captains of the early clubs were:

Kent State: Olsen Ebright (team may have been founded even before him, but he was their primary contact person in 2002-2003). He also came to OSU to represent them when the Today Show from NBC came to film a segment about dodgeball–something which was originally supposed to happen at Kent State, but they were between semesters when NBC wanted to shoot the film, so they came to OSU instead. The clip ended up being less about the growth of dodgeball as a sport at the collegiate level and more as a cheap tie in to the stupid Dodgeball movie. I’m not sure specifically who Kent’s captain(s) were once the NCDA began, but Nick Fantozzi was one of the leaders of the group and was our main contact person when we wanted to get in touch with them for a game.

Ohio State: Considered to be founded by Gavin Mueller and Todd Burns in 1999-2000 (both graduated and moved on before the MDC/NCDA was even an idea). Marc Ybarsabal was then the captain and primary contact for the first season in 2005, with Joe Ryan as the assistant captain. Marc graduated in ’05 and then Joe was the Captain with Zack Mylander and Nick Wright (myself) as the alternate captains. All 3 of us graduated in ’06 and we passed the titles on to Dave Shaffstall and Alex Young after that.

As stated before, Bomis obviously got MSU’s team off the ground and from what I understand, Ben Murphy for Delta (I’m not sure if there were any co-captains or alternate captains for them during the first year of their existence).

I know DePaul dodgeball also existed well before the creation of the NCDA (I believe they were the oldest club in the league predating the year 2000 if I’m not mistaken). I can’t say for sure who founded them, but Ryan “Magoo” McGeehan was their typical contact person in the first two years of the league. For the life of me I cannot remember the name of the other captain that they had, who was a very good player and was a real nice guy in the multiple times I met him. Sorry, I’d know his name if I heard it but I can’t pull it out of my head right now.

I wish I had specific scores of all the games, but at the time, I dont think anyone really knew what the league was going to morph into and that detailed record keeping beyond the very basics was going to be a worthwhile use of time. If I got anything wrong with this, I apologize, but to the best of my knowledge this is all accurate.

From Bomis:

The big thing you need to remember is that for the first 3 or 4 years we inflated the dodgeballs until they were taught. It wasn’t really by design, it just started that way. I can’t imagine playing in the racquetball courts like MSU did those first two years with the throwing speeds people have now. Teams still tried to grip throw, but it wasn’t nearly as fast and you’d often get cases of people’s fingers bleeding from trying to curve the ball inward. I checked out some old footage recently, it looked tame compared to what goes on today. The other important thing to remember is that the shot clock only existed when you had all ten balls, so a 9-on-1 situation could be held indefinitely. There was also no “legit throw” clause, so you’d see some teams *cough cough* roll a ball to the other side to keep from having all 10.

Murphy sent me an email asking if we wanted to play a game, which sounded fun so naturally we accepted. There was a second place plaque and a tarnished little cup for the winner. This cup became the top of the Michigan Dodgeball Cup trophy (which I’m told is made of solid silver). We showed up at some church/community center and played for about an hour. The church staff was ticked because dodgeballs kept hitting the radiator panels, making these awful crashing noises. MSU won 8-3, I’ve got some pics stored on my laptop at home.

Yeah, the real reason Delta couldn’t play Sunday of that first tournament was because I just couldn’t work out a schedule that first year. There was a “must be a student organization” rule which everyone knew about heading in, but Ben seemed to really want it for his group so I figured what the heck, let ’em play on Saturday. I remember the last OSU/MSU score being 8-4.

GVSU… my hatred of them was pre-ordained for so many reasons with that first game. We had to reschedule that game a bunch of times. It wasn’t Dave Soukup’s fault, the athletic department was just being a pain, and then we realized we had scheduled a game on Super Bowl Sunday, so we had to move it again. I was actually fairly upbeat with that first 4-2 loss, we had come off a much-closer-than-it-shoulda-been W against Delta, having goofed around much of the game, but we’d actually tried at GVSU. They wore blue their first year and hadn’t figured out how to be this unstoppable force – yet. I managed to imitate Izzo while I was there – he wasn’t having the best season, and earlier that week while trailing he had called timeout a split second before Mo Ager nailed a 3. The second string team was trailing in the closing minute of the half, Mike Youngs is the only one left, I call timeout so I can sub in Rob Freeman, who was a defensive master… and he makes a catch from about 15 feet away. Rob gets hit about 10 seconds in. Youngs was LIVID. And to be fair I was getting overcompetitive at that point.

Michigan Dodgeball Cup came down to the final seconds, with a throw at Kevin Hankinson going in and out of his hands for the GVSU win. It was tough to call that one from the booth, but it made for a heck of a finish.

The extra team at DePaul’s Chicago Open was Kansas State. Everyone was drained by the time we got to the end, but we managed to pull that one out and sing the fight song and everything. I was almost bouncing off the walls because we had actually managed to string some Ws together after struggling most of the year, Rob Viola got a game-saving OT catch between his legs (I think against Delta). I’m also pretty sure DePaul had some footage of Nick Gebauer getting clocked by a Kansas State player, I mean right into his face.

Oh, and a funny story I just remembered! So like I mentioned earlier, there wasn’t any shotclock rule, and you could roll a ball to the other side and there wasn’t anything in the rules to stop it. Delta had been catching some flak by this point in the year for not doing anything unless they had at least 7 or 8. DePaul decided to flip the script on them, not doing a thing unless they had all 10 balls. Not knowing DePaul’s plan, I wander over to check their score at halftime: 1-0 DePaul. I check back at the end of the game, same score. I look at Murphy who’s passing me. “Don’t even TALK to me, Bomis!” Once we found out what DePaul did we couldn’t stop giggling. I think Viola applauded.

2007

MSU managed to score huge on the fundraising front and had enough money to rent a bus for a rare fall Thursday night game at Grand Valley. Once we got there, it was clear they were on a mission, destroying us 16-0. Black eyes and bruises abounded. I remember the newer guys begging me to put up a fight with the refs or Soukup, but the truth of it was we were just plain getting stomped. At one point the crowd started laughing at Freeman who’d been laid out and wasn’t moving (eventually he rolled under the net/wall just behind the baseline) and no one appeared to be doing anything to help him. At that point I snapped and blindsided Dave with a rant that I’m not even sure made sense, but I was getting on him for everything and anything. Amazingly enough, we didn’t lose any of the people who were at that game.

State won in overtime vs. Delta later that month, with Gerald Hessell hitting Dave Halloran with about :40 to go in regulation. Later that year they’d have their first lost to DC in Saginaw, and again at the MDC that February, the last televised game MSU had. Oakland was kind enough to serve as sacrificial lambs in the dodgeball halftime show for the basketball doubleheader.

OSU put together the spring tournament, but for whatever reason that fell through in March and in 24 hours I was somehow able to cobble together enough court time to host in April. Marshall tackled a GVSU player at one point, MSU lost either 8-1 or 8-0 to GVSU, and GVSU finally beat Ohio State.