A League of Our Own – Bryce Bathras

Dodgettes Navigating a New League

As the 2022 semester kicks off, one thing can be said for certain about the college dodgeball atmosphere: we are amidst an entirely new league. After practices came to an abrupt end almost two years ago, 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: December 2021 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:
Bryce Bathras
Senior at University of Maryland, College Park
Major in Fire Protection Engineering
Also involved in Orchestra and the Society of Fire Protection Engineers

Pre-NCDA:
In high school, I played soccer and basketball. I think soccer prepared me the best for dodgeball as I have been a goalkeeper for over 15 years. College was pretty much the first time I ever played dodgeball. We played it every once in a while during gym class but never at this level.

Initial Involvement:
I found out about the club at my school’s annual first look fair, and I thought I would just give it a try and ended up falling in love with the sport. The first practice I went to was a lot of fun. We had about 60 people there and it was just nonstop dodgeball. I had so much fun at that practice so I just kept coming back. Our practice times were very convenient, and it was a great stress reliever and break from hard college classes.

First Tournament:
My first tournament experience was actually at WVU during our spring break. The tournament itself was nothing like practice. Getting to face other teams, the faster pace of the game itself, and playing for points and winning just added to the game. As the only female on the team at the time (now one of two), my role on the team was definitely catching. I may not be the strongest thrower but thanks to all of my goal keeping experience, I’m not afraid to jump in front of a throw and go for a catch.

Upcoming Tournaments:
I am really looking forward to every tournament we have this semester and just finishing off my senior year on a high note. We have four tournaments lined up, nationals that we are preparing for, and even hosting an alumni event to allow past dodgeball players to come back and play against our current team.

Changing Team Dynamics:
Our team had a complete rework because of COVID. Before the fall semester started, we only had four players that had tournament experience. Our team is very fresh and very young. We have performed well at each of our tournaments and continue to improve each game we play. I look forward to continuing to watch our team grow and improve over the next semester and coming years.

Being a Dodgette:
When I started playing dodgeball, I was the only female player on the team. This year is actually the first year where one other female has traveled with us to tournaments. It’s definitely interesting being a female dodgeball player, but I wouldn’t change it. I know I can’t throw as hard as some of the guys on our team and other teams, so I’ve focused a lot on my catching skills. I am not afraid to get hit, so going for a catch isn’t scary. I’ve improved a lot with catching, and it definitely makes me a formidable opponent.

Final Four Predictions:
If I had to predict the nationals final four, I would include James Madison, Grand Valley State, Ohio State, and Cincinnati.

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