A League of Our Own – Adi Mehlin

Dodgettes Navigating a New League

The 2022 semester has come to an end, and one thing can be said for certain about the college dodgeball atmosphere: we are amidst an entirely new league. College dodgeball returned last fall, and with it came an exciting season of close matches, upsets, rookies, and of course, dodgettes (Shout-out to Akron University’s female players for coining the new term). 

This article continues to highlight dodgettes across the league: 2021-2022 season graduates, pre-COVID veterans, and new recruits. Stay tuned to hear how they made their name in the league and what they are looking forward to this year; in other words, dodgettes navigating a new league.

Biography:
Adi Mehlin (pronounced like Addie May-lin)
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Political Science, Global Studies, and Spanish Majors
I have played the cello for 10 years, am in the UNL Honors program, judge high school debate, work at Starbucks, and am in the Intelligence Community scholars. I also like to go to the library and read in my free time.

Pre-NCDA:
I have not played any other sports, but I workout regularly. Dodgeball practice was the first time I played! I am living off campus and was looking for ways to get involved on campus. I wasn’t looking for dodgeball specifically, but have never been good at “regular” sports like soccer or volleyball, so I was looking for something a little unique. 

Initial Involvement:
I was flagged down at the UNL club fair by our president! I went to the first practice on a dare from a friend, and kept coming back. To be honest, I don’t think there was a specific reason, I just felt very at home and everyone was so nice. It’s also a really good way to get all my stress out at the end of the day. 

First Tournament:
My first tournament was the 2021 Pioneer Classic! I originally wasn’t going to play. However, we had a drop out a few days before so they put me in as a sub. I just remember focusing on supporting my teammates – I think it is really important that people recognize their strengths and work together to accent them. I can’t throw very well at all, but can block like nobody’s business. I definitely wasn’t prepared for the amount of stamina that it takes to play for so long! It motivated me to get going to the gym more regularly.

Nationals ReCap:
I loved the ladies match! I wish that we had a chance for a full game, especially because that was the only chance that a lot of the women got to play all weekend. I think the draft was fun, though not super consequential. I did think it was a good choice to split up women from the same teams though. I definitely felt like I got a chance to show off my blocking skills!

Nebraska’s Performance:
Nebraska killed it! We went in as the dark horse and surprised the whole league. I am so proud to be a part of this team. The way that we work together and all support each other is incomparable. I can not wait to showcase our skills for years to come. Hanging out with the team off the court is always fun, and I actually really enjoy driving to and from tournaments because it’s a bonding opportunity for us. We are definitely a lot closer after this tournament.

Final Four:
I don’t think I am surprised, no, though I was disappointed in the championship game. I wish that the rules had actually been enforced (traps, stopping for popped balls, players going to jail). I felt that player/ref honesty left something to be desired, especially coming from a team that puts the utmost importance on game integrity. However, it was amazing to see the sheer amount of talent in the NCDA, and I am so excited to learn more about dodgeball and grow with my team.

Upcoming Tournaments:
I am looking forward to growing the club! Now that we have made a name for ourselves both in the NCDA and on our own campus, I think that next year will be awesome for our growth. We are hoping to be able to travel more in general next season, and are looking forward to hosting more teams at our home tournament. Individually, I will be working on improving my catching, as well as increasing my overall strength and speed on the court. 

Changing Team Dynamics:
Our team is very junior heavy. I think we struggled with retention over the last two years, so the dynamic between the captains, exec team, and the players might be a little strange in a few years when we lose most of our current leaders. 

Role Models:
I definitely look up to the more senior women on the team, like Robyn and Carolyn. Both have different strengths and show how women can be just as powerful as men on the court, especially when you know and play to your own strengths. Not everyone needs to be able to throw a cannon – catching, blocking, dodging, and teamwork are also super important to the sport.

Being a Dodgette:
Honestly I don’t think about it super often. We have pretty strong representation on the team (I think there are 3 women including me that come pretty regularly), so I have never had to feel singled out. All of the guys are super supportive! I am often one of the last people in at practice because I play pretty conservatively and can dodge and block pretty well. At the UWP tournament in March, I was one of the last three in. I ended up having the winning throw (I think our third point of the first game?). It felt really good to have that support and to be able to prove them right.

If you had to compare your play style to an animal, what would it be and why?
I am kind of reserved on the court and tend to take a pretty protective/defensive role rather than throwing super often. I think I might say a turtle? I like to slow things down and approach them logically/methodically.

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