Kevin Nguyen is a former player of the NCDA, and current captain of the team Final Justice. In this interview, he will talk about his experiences as an Asian-American player and member of the community.
Leon Rockamore (CSU): What got you started playing dodgeball?
Kevin Nguyen: Gym class. We had a class called team sports where we would play 4 out of 5 days. I met former MSU captain Ian Childs there and he later on invited me to MSU practices after he started attending college.
L: When did you play in the NCDA?
K: I started practicing with the MSU team my senior year of high school. Continued that until I played at CMU during the 2015 and 2016 season.
L: Do you still participate in the NCDA even now?
K: Yes. I have been an advisor/mentor to the MSU team for the last couple years.
L: Did you notice the lack of diversity in the NCDA as a player on the court? What about outside the NCDA?
K: Not really. I think most teams struggled to get a full roster to most tournaments. Most teams brought whoever was willing to come in and be a part of the team regardless of background.
Outside of the NCDA, Elite Dodgeball and USAD have created a very diverse and welcoming dodgeball community.
L: Do you feel like the diversity in the league has grown over the years?
K: I didn’t see an issue before… 😅
L: What are your plans going forward as a dodgeball player? Any big goals you have set for yourself or your team?
K: I plan on continuing to play with my Final Justice team until I retire from the sport in 20 years or so. Not really a goal but more of an expectation for ourselves. We plan on beating Notorious, Dynasty, Kraken, and any other team willing to play pinch with us. While also taking strides in our open game as well and see how far we can take it there too.
L: Have you ever experienced discrimination during your time as a dodgeball player due to your ethnicity?
K: Not that I can recall. If there were any experiences, chances are I was not paying attention to them. For the most part, I generally stick to my team.
L: Have you ever experienced discrimination outside of dodgeball due to your ethnicity?
K: Yes. Unfortunately there have been regular occurrences throughout my life. I don’t necessarily care when they happen to me but I do worry about when it happens to other people.
L: Do you feel increasing dodgeball awareness in the Asian American community is something that should be stressed? If so, what would you do to assist this or would help to promote it?
K: I think growing the sport in general is important. I am always willing to help there especially when it comes to having NCDA players transition to the semi pro leagues.
L: What advice would you give to a fellow Asian American or minority players just starting out in the league?
K: I would suggest reaching out to other players and asking questions when you don’t understand something. For the most part, the dodgeball community is a very open and welcoming community.
L: With the Anti-Asian Hate sentiment on the rise in America, is there anything you would like the NCDA community to know or think about?
K: Everybody love everybody!
I’d like to thank Kevin for taking the time to share his experience with us. We love hearing from our players, current or former; and if you would like to be one of the Voices of the NCDA, feel free to reach out to us.