Torao Ota, a former member of the NCDA, will describe his experience as a minority player in the league.
Leon Rockamore Jr (CSU): What got you started playing dodgeball?
Torao Ota (VCU): I really liked dodgeball back in the day when I was in middle school and I was stoked to find out that people were playing dodgeball at the VCU gym.
L: When did you play in the NCDA?
T: I played all 4 years when I was at VCU from 2014 – 2018.
L: Do you still participate in the NCDA even now?
T: I don’t but I love watching the highlights that the NCDA makes from time to time.
L: Did you notice the lack of diversity in the NCDA as a player on the court?
T: There really wasn’t too much diversity within the teams themselves but the league as a whole had a lot of diversity. Most teams had one race that would dominate the roster but had couple other races here and there. However, I do want to mention that I believe VCU at the time had one of, if not the most diverse teams in the league.
L: Do you feel like the diversity in the league has grown over the years?
T: I do believe the diversity in the league has grown over the years because the dodgeball as a whole has gained popularity and interest from all kinds of people.
L: What are your plans going forward as a dodgeball player? Any big goals you have set for yourself or your team?
T: Nothing in particular but if I ever get a chance to play dodgeball again in the future, I would definitely love to play.
L: Have you ever experienced discrimination during your time as a dodgeball player due to your ethnicity?
T: None that I can think of. I was loved by every person in the NCDA community and I am always grateful for them.
L: Have you ever experienced discrimination outside of dodgeball due to your ethnicity?
T: I am thankful that neither my family or I have experienced discrimination at all.
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?
T: I think it should be stressed because dodgeball is a super fun sport that everyone should try at least once in their life. These interviews are pretty cool and would definitely promote awareness to this topic.
L: What advice would you give to a fellow Asian American or minority players just starting out in the league?
T: I would tell them just have fun and play dodgeball!
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?
T: There are a lot of different cultures in the Asian community and if you ever get the chance, ask them about their culture and learn something new!
Thank you to Torao Ota for taking the time to participate in this series. If you would like to be the next Voice of the NCDA, you can contact us at our email email@example.com.