Why Nationals 2011 Will Rock

Story by: Josh Raymer & Felix Perrone

Paid, semi-professional referees. WKU is going to hire eight officials to referee both days of the tournament. To get them prepared, they’ll ref WKU’s practices the month leading up to Nationals. Having paid refs will help avoid scheduling conflicts and keep overwhelmed player refs from being ignored during big games. It also leaves teams to enjoy their free time between games.

A better lunch option on Saturday. As opposed to pizza, each team member will be given a pass to Fresh Food, our school’s buffet-style cafeteria. About a three minute walk from the recreation center, teams can enjoy a hearty lunch during their scheduled break.

Stringent enforcement of the rules. Commissioner Bomis has made it clear that the following rules will not be ignored next April:

10 player rule – come with less than 10 players and you’ll be turned away at the door.

Student IDs– players must present a valid ID before playing. This prevents students from other schools and alumni from playing on teams where they don’t belong.

20 player cap– 5 bench players is all you get. JV teams will get action before Nationals.

A new seeding formula. Bomis has proposed this on the forum and it’s still being tweaked, but there will be a new way for determining Saturday’s pools that will help us avoid what happened with this year’s tournament, which featured some loaded and not-so-loaded pools. This formula will probably take into account season performance AND performance on Saturday to give us the most fair and accurate seedings for Sunday’s games.

All-Star game and skills challenges. We want to start Saturday off with a bang by finding out who has the league’s best hands and its fastest arm with help from the ROB 9000 and a radar gun. Winners will get actual awards and be recognized on the website. The All-Star game will come after the skills challenge. Preliminary teams are Michigan vs. Everyone Else. Nobody knows a team’s best players better than its own members, so each player will nominate either 2 players (for team Everyone Else) or 4 (for Team Michigan) from their own team to determine the makeup of each squad. The two players from each team with the most votes get selected as All-Stars. And yes, players can vote for themselves. Both All-Star squads will even get their own uniforms, which will also serve as the souvenirs for All-Star players. The winning team also gets actual awards and recognition on the website.

Comprehensive media coverage. We made a step in the right direction with live podcasts from this year’s tournament, but we’re going to up the ante for 2011. What does this mean? Well, plan on footage from EVERY game that is played on both days. That’s right, every single one. On top of that, we’ll have two announcers per court who will call the action from each game. That recording won’t go up as a podcast, but rather as voiceover for the game footage, essentially providing the games + commentary that every major sports league enjoys. A separate Nationals YouTube account will be set up so players can re-watch games at their leisure. Finally, each media duo will be tweeting updates throughout the day.

Full color program for every player. During the course of the season, Jazzy will collect team photos, rosters and blurbs for each team. He’ll compile then into a beautifully designed, full color program to be handed out at Nationals.

Cheaper cost per team. Right now, the preliminary cost looks to be about $175 per team. That includes referee, food, shirt and All-Star game costs.

Nice facilities. Granted, BGSU’s Perry Fieldhouse is the ideal place for a dodgeball tournament. While we can’t match that, WKU’s recreation center just underwent a $50 million renovation and is well-equipped to handle the number of teams that show up in Bowling Green next April. We’ll have four courts dedicated to game action and (hopefully) a large, multi-purpose room where players can lounge in between games.

The chance to play a championship game on the main court in WKU’s basketball arena. Not since Nationals at GVSU have teams had this opportunity, and if things go according to plan, the two teams left standing at the end of Sunday will square off on the most revered court in south central Kentucky. Now we just need to work on filling that place to capacity!

AJP Live: Nationals 2010 – WKU v DePaul

Average Joes' Podcast LogoRecorded Live from Nationals ’10

Warning: for mature listening audiences only! 

Hungover and embracing the comical nature of WKU vs. DePaul, Newton teams up with his podcast co-host to provide commentary to all the debauchery happening on the court.

Play

AJP Live: Nationals 2010 – CMU v Miami

Average Joes' Podcast LogoRecorded Live from Nationals ’10

Bomis and Newton look for meaning in the tournament’s most lopsided game between Miami University and Central Michigan University. Is a 17-0 blowout by CMU justified …

Play

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.