Wow, what a month for College Dodgeball, right? Cleveland State hosted their first tournament, Akron hosted the third annual WAR two-day tournament, both the Michigan and Ohio Dodgeball Cups were hosted. AND The BEAST and Zanderthon Throw-down both went off without a hitch. With over 20 of the active league members playing in tournaments in February it was a daunting task to pick the Baller of the Month for such a stacked month. That makes this player that much more impressive.
Congratulations to your February 2019 Baller of the Month, Josh Lyons from the University of Akron.
Josh has been a staple of the Akron Zips Dodgeball Club since their inception in 2014 and for good reason. Season by season he continues to improve in every aspect of the game, from catching to throwing and helping lead the team to a 15-7 season thus far. Josh has proven time and time again that he is the unsung hero of the Akron program, until now. Below is the interview that I conducted with Josh.
Colby Briceland: You ready?
Josh Lyons: Ready AF.
CB: Great! First of all, Congratulations on winning Baller of the Month in arguably the most competitive month in the league until Nationals. How do you feel?
JL: Thanks! I feel great. I’m happy to get the opportunity to get my real name out there, and not just “Harry Potter!”
CB: Haha, we’re going to address that in a bit. What is your key to being a successful player in the environment that the league is at right now? Since it is arguably the most competitive that it has been in a while?
JL: For me, success comes down to understanding your environment, and whom you are playing against. There’s so much talent in the league right now, you really have to take the time to learn about whom you are up against if you want to be successful. A lot of these players I’ve been playing against since my first or second year. I like to watch strong players so I will know how to deal with them when the time comes. Throw styles, on court aggression, catching etc. It’s good for picking up new strategies too.
CB: You’re one of the most known catchers in the league, (even if it’s by your nick name), what is your strategy when it comes to making those insane catches?
JL: Haha, close your eyes and hope for the best! But really, it comes down to giving yourself as much time as possible to interpret where that throw is going. Personally, I like to lean back as far as I can go and line up with a player’s throw arc, so I can trap it by my chest. Everyone throws different though, so experience and watching people throw in game is crucial. I feel like the most dangerous throwers are the ones I haven’t dealt with yet. Also, lots of baiting them, haha.
CB: Akron is on the cusp of their best season yet in their young history as a team. Why do you think after four seasons that this is the year that things are clicking?
JL: There are a few reasons! It makes me excited to think about how different the team feels this year, as opposed to previous years. First, we have an incredibly solid core of experienced players that have been around since or near the beginning at the helm, whom this season really means a lot to. You, Adam Pfeifer, Joey Stack, I lump Joe Scott and Brandon Snyder into this group too. Second, recruiting went so well this year! We got a ton of great new talent to build on our core experience. Jacob “R.O.Y.” Weber and Clay Egleston are two players that exemplify that. Finally, I think team chemistry is at an all time high. That is probably the biggest thing, honestly. We have been playing very well together.
CB: You’re one of the few current NCDA players to play Elite Dodgeball as well during your collegiate career. How has that impacted how you are now as a player as opposed to before?
JL: Elite has definitely improved my game, probably in every way. The points are so fast-paced and close quarters; you gave to really have to be alert at all times. Elite is probably what improved my catching game the most, honestly. You are forced to go for more catches in that environment. Once you are used to that, coming back to the NCDA feels so weird. Like, “Hey, there’s so much space back here!”
CB: What NCDA teams do you consider to be your personal and/or Akron’s rival/s?
JL: My personal rival would have to be SVSU, because we’re still feeling that loss. It’s not in the sense that I dislike them, just that I really want to play them again. Maybe I just miss Kenny. Akron’s would be almost anyone in Ohio who we have close matches with.
CB: That brings me to my next question. What player/s do you enjoy competing against the most?
JL: Hmm, well I always love my Ohio Legacy (Elite team) reunions! That would be Dylan Greer and Ben Johnson from OSU, Tom Morand from Miami, and the previously mentioned Kenny Mize over at SVSU. All those guys are outstanding players in their own ways, and what is more fun than competing with friends?
CB: Very true. What are your pre and post match meals?
JL: Night before is carb night. On the way there we got a banana, POP Tart and Monster Energy, (breakfast of champions). After is the first fast food place I can find. Ideally, Wendy’s. There, I order more than I need. Rinse. Repeat.
CB: Alright, we’ve got some staff questions now:
Hunter Ford asks: Why “Harry Potter”?
JL: So freshman year I show up to this weird dodgeball thing at the rec. Get addicted. Join the team. The usual story. Time to order jerseys; Adam P. goes “Dude you’d look like Harry Potter if you had glasses!” I think, sure so i write in “Potter” as my jersey name. We get the jerseys and it says “Harry Potter.” First name last name. Then it stuck, haha!
Kevin Bailey asks: what are your plans after college?
JL: After college, I would love get a full time engineering position near a city like Chicago, Boston, D.C., Baltimore, etc. I’ve spent this entire semester applying to jobs, so I’m trying my best!
Felix Perrone asks: If faucet ‘A’ can fill a bucket in 8 hours, and faucet ‘B’ can fill a bucket in 12 hours, how long will it take both faucets running simultaneously to fill that bucket?
JL: When did I wrong you to make me do math, Felix? 4 hours, 48 min? This is going to be incredibly embarrassing if that’s wrong.
(It was the correct answer)
CB: Any bold predictions for the rest of the season?
JL: I think there are still some Miami naysayers out there. When they get heated, they look outstanding. Final 4… Against none other than, AKRON for the semi-final match.
CB: Thank you for your time, Josh, and congratulations on being February’s Baller of the Month and only the second player from Akron to win the award! Any last thoughts?
JL: Thank you Colby, I’m honored to be featured this month! I’d just like to thank the NCDA for this opportunity as well as my teammates, as I couldn’t perform the way I do without their support. Here’s to Akron’s best year!
off record but I added it anyways
Thanks Colby! That was fun, haha. I swear to God if I screwed up Felix’s question… I may just drop out.
(Thankfully he answered correctly)