Beyond the Opening Rush: Paths that Crossed

Posted on October 29, 2014 at 2:57 pm |


Someone once posted on the VDL Facebook group page that (and I paraphrase) VDL is like Fight Club. He recognized his waiter as someone from the league, and later that day his bank teller or whatever was another dodgeball player.

One of the things I love most about dodgeball is the diversity of people that it draws in, and the VDL community is a prime example of that. Through dodgeball, I’ve become close friends with people from all walks of life that I would never have encountered through my other hobbies or line of work – construction workers, chefs, musicians, firefighters, entrepreneurs, professional gamers, therapists, store owners, mental hospital security guards, YouTube stars…you name it.

I used to play competitive badminton in high school, and when after graduating I still played recreationally and coached. Badminton’s got a great community too, but the demographic there was very specific: 95% of my friends and acquaintances in that circle were Asian, fresh out of their teens, had some post-secondary education, and come from middle-class families. They were still fun, interesting folks, but (and it wasn’t obvious to me at the time) it was more or less a specific niche of people that were drawn to badminton.

But dodgeball attracts all shapes and types – it’s just so easy of a sport to pick up and learn to love. Like I said, players range from artists to analysts, lawyers to labourers (sadly, it doesn’t span all A to Z; I’m still waiting to meet another astronomer and a zookeeper). In turn, I’ve grown from meeting this vast spectrum of strangers from different worlds, and have realized that we often have more in common with people than meets the eye.

For instance, there are a TON of creative individuals in VDL – photographers, painters, musicians, bakers, designers. My conversations with them  and their successes often inspire me to pick up my own instrument to channel my creativity. Carmine once let me hold the video camera when filming one of his awesome videos (in fact, the early days VDL promotional vids were all made by him, and I definitely recommend checking them out: psst…this one’s my favourite) and it was such a thrill to be part of the filmmaking process that I dug out my old screenplay and picked up my pen, sat down and rewrote it. And then dug out some more old drafts, read them over, and attempted writing again.

Not only do these individuals teach me a lot about worlds I had little or no exposure to, but they also go on to become kindred spirits, almost like family. Claudia Tyzo (daring, assertive, and Polish – basically, everything I wasn’t) used to introduce herself to my friends as my half-sister and would walk into my house calling my parents “Mum” and “Papa” (and then proceed to sit down to a hearty homecooked Chinese meal). Jeff Kelly (whom I’m recently told used to be kind of a gothic punk in his school days, who knew?) once offered to egg my ex-boss’s office window because he was so outraged and indignant on my behalf when I got laid off. (And no, he didn’t, but probably only because her office was on the tenth floor.)  I mean, where do you find friends like that?

But you know the answer to that already. So keep your eye out and your mind open if you haven’t found them yet, because the next person that catches your ball might very well be your next best friend!

~ Michelle

Got a story? Share yours: msz[at]

Comments are closed.