Lindsay Maynard writes…
When reflecting on and appreciating the various esteemed alumni to have graced the court at Saginaw Valley, I did not necessarily save the best for last. We have had many great men on our team, too many for me to continue writing articles this month seeing as these articles tend to take precedence over schoolwork. I saved perhaps the most noted guy for last. Nay, the most passionate man. Cut the bull, we’re talking about Jason Stein, “The Most Hated Man in Dodgeball.”
Stein had been on the Saginaw Valley dodgeball team for five years. In those five years, he made a name for himself based on his unreal catching abilities. Well, that was part of the reason he became so well known in the league. In any case, Stein could catch almost anything that came his way. If the NCDA had an ESPN-like highlight reel after every match, he would consistently be on that reel. His catches won games for SV in many instances.
Although the man had a great talent, he was infamous for another reason. He was cocky. Grade A, in your face taunting was his style. Opposing teams were always warned about Stein. “On the court you hate him, he would yell at you, point you out, taunt you; he would do everything in his power to get you to throw at him,” according to Jimmy Stokes, Grand Valley alum. In Stein’s last year of play, every team was already warned not to throw at him. Because of that, his taunting and general anger increased. It sure made practicing with him fun…ha.
But we all have flaws, right? Many players in the League had their differences with Stein, myself included. Trust me, it’s difficult to keep this article more positive than negative. Despite that, you certainly learn to respect the man; I have. Sam Hiller of MSU put it best, saying,
“Jason Stein may have been one of the most hated players in the league, but I truly respected him. Nobody competed harder, wanted the win more, or fought harder than he
did. He was a good catcher, and while he was a little out there on the court, he seemed like a genuine guy off the court and was a very passionate player.”
Perhaps the person who could have the most beef with Stein is Mike McCarthy, not alumni of any college yet, but formerly of many teams. Well, Boomis probably has more beef with Stein seeing as Stein uses the forum with the username “ihateboomis.” [Ed: The forum username is a long story. Don’t ask. -zm] Anyway, back to the point. McCarthy saw Stein’s anger as an ardor for playing the game and shared his thoughts on Stein:
“Stein is easily one of the most passionate dodgeball players the NCDA has ever seen. There will never be another Stein…I love the kid. He sure is a pain though!”
His on court persona may not have been the most likeable, but off the court he truly is a
genuine guy. And civil! Yes, it’s possible to have a calm conversation with him. As much of an annoyance as he can be, Stein was integral in building our program to the heights it has reached. I’m lucky to have known and played with a guy who will be known in NCDA folklore. We miss his catching on the court and “passion” on the court.
A final thought from Jimmy Stokes certainly sums up the feelings many players have for Stein: “He is definitely one of the personalities that will stick with me for years to come.” Whichever way you choose to remember that personality is up to you.
– Lindsay Maynard, SVSU Vice President