Beyond the Opening Rush: First Steps on the Court

Posted on February 02, 2015 at 3:31 pm |


Welcome to Season 19! For some of you, this week probably marked your first introduction to dodgeball, and I heartily congratulate you on it. For many of you returning players, I’ll bet it was just a relief to just be back on the courts again, doing what you love and working off that Christmas turkey…or not.

To celebrate the beginning of another season, I pose to you a question I often like to ask new dodgeball players: how did you get started playing dodgeball? When I first meet someone in the community, the question of “How did you get involved with the Vancouver Dodgeball League?” always seems to crop up.

I’ll get the ball rolling. I used to play badminton a lot with a guy named Billy, who was heavily involved with dodgeball at the time. This was pre-season 10, and he was part of the (very small then) exec body. At badminton he used to go on and on about the great game of dodgeball, the fun people he meets there, the LEGENDARY pub night (yes it was legendary even back then), and all the cool community involvement they took part in. I wish I could say I was enticed by all these awesome-sounding stuff, but Billy’s sales pitch wasn’t good enough for me. I had it in my head that dodgeball was some silly game for people with anger issues who liked to fling balls around and hit things.

I never got talked into playing until one afternoon Billy called and said his dodgeball team was short a girl and if I’d like to sub. I was bored and didn’t have anything lined up, so I went. And as cliche as it sounds, it was one of the best decisions of my life.

I’m not even sure how I got hooked. The game was fun of course, but looking back, I think it was the fervour in the atmosphere I was most drawn to. People were so excited over every turn of events – the gasps and screams when a ball found its mark, the nail-biting tension of those waiting to be caught in, and the uproar when that game-changer catch happens. Everyone, not just your teammates, cheered when you make a catch. Gosh, it made me feel like a Superstar.

Everyone was so easygoing off-court too. Strangers came up to me to congratulate me on a catch, asked what teams I played for, and just socialized in general. Bizarre.

I’m embarrassed to admit that despite the fun I had that night, I kinda dropped the ball after that. I couldn’t think of people in my circles who would be interested in forming a team, and left the experience as a once-in-a-lifetime thing.

Well, good ol’Billy called again a few months later, and said his friend needed some females for his team. I was a little hesitant, but in the end I dragged out a girlfriend of mine to attend Dodgeball 101 where I met my future teammates. And I don’t know why I worried; everyone was super nice, and my team were all single-sign-ups too so none of them knew one another. Turf Toe Warriors was my very first team, and if I’d been told at the time that the team was named after a medical condition, this story might have turned out very differently.

If you’re reading this, you probably have felt at some point that dodgeball’s changed your life. Well, who made that happen? Give your friend/coworker/random-person-recruiting-on-the-Facebook-group a shout out, and say thanks for making it possible. After all, we’re all about community at VDL. And don’t forget to give the execs some love too! Happy week 1 and see you on the courts!

~ Michelle

P.S. We’re running a contest for the next edition of Beyond the Opening Rush – Valentine’s version! Submit your dodgeball love connections for a chance to win some sweet swag. Simply send in a blurb (a couple lines, a short paragraph, an essay if you really want) of love (between couples, friends, teammates, family) on the dodgeball courts to msz[at], and your name will be put into a random draw for a VDL prize pack, while your story might be part of next edition’s Beyond the Opening Rush coming out Feb. 14th. More details to follow on social media, so stay tuned to our Facebook page and Twitter!

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