*Webmaster was away so these are going to be posted a little later than they were submitted. Apologies to our resident blogger Cat!
The fall season has officially started for Dodgeball Winnipeg so this week I’ll be sharing with you the experience of my first game in the women’s league and some of the basics of dodgeball that I picked up. If I’m being totally honest with all of you out there in the abyss of the internet, I should tell you that I was a little nervous about this first game. I didn’t really know what to expect and despite having attended a couple Dodgeball Winnipeg events…or perhaps because of watching high level players doing their thing at those events, I was a little intimidated by the idea of showing up and ending up as a useless player on the court. As a person who tends to immediately be great at everything I do, that idea is horrifying. So, I had a bit of a hard time convincing myself that I just had to go to the gym and it would be a valuable experience even if I failed horribly and embarrassed myself and could never show my face again in the downward spiral that would surely follow because trying is the first step towards success failure. I’m glad I did end up going though because I had a blast! And now it will be much easier to get motivated to show up because I’ve met the other wonderful ladies on my team and we had a lot of fun playing dodgeball together.
But I digress, let me get back to the beginning of game 1 (October 4): You Can’t Sit with Us vs Wear Pink on Wednesdays. I got to the gym a little early so that I could watch the ends of the games happening before mine as a quick refresher on how the game is played. My brother happened to be there because he had a game earlier and he gave me some sage advice. He shared with me that the secret to doing well in this team-based sport is team work. I know! It’s shocking! But it’s true. After that last minute advice, it was time to enter the gym and meet my team. I had a vague idea of who everyone on my team was because we have a group chat going where we had previously introduced ourselves, shared our goals for the season and we also use it to keep everyone on the same page about details of the next game. But this was the first time I had met anyone in person except our team captain. Each team has 8 players and on mine, we have 5 players with previous dodgeball experience (some with a few years) and 3 newcomers, including myself. Which makes for a good mix on the court at the start with about a half the players not knowing what to do and the other half able to give us some advice as we went. It also helped that there was some excellent captaining happening on our side to keep everyone working as a team. The other newbies and I seemed to be catching on by the end of the first half. And I felt like I had a good grasp on what I was supposed to be doing by the end of the game (which we won 7-3! Yay!).
I’m really happy with the team I ended up being placed on. Everyone is really nice, encouraging, and the experienced players provided very useful feedback on my throws and how to better play the positions. Positions, I should note, which I didn’t even realize existed a week ago. I think I have already developed a preference for right guard and runner which included running for the balls at the start of each round and pretty much constantly faking throws to keep the other team on their toes. But I’m going to try to play the other positions throughout the season too to get a better grasp on each part of the team. I want to be a well-rounded beginner by the end of this season.
After having figured out the positions in the first half, with my right guard preference, I started to grasp some of the strategy at play in the second half. I learned there’s actually a difference in the strategic position of the guards on the court either more defensive or offensive depending on which team has to throw next. I plan on figuring out the basics for the middle positions in the next couple weeks and then going on from there.
The other important thing I noted has to do with my dodgeball gear. I made sure to bring my knee pads and elbow sleeve for my throwing arm to help reduce the stress on my arm which led to the one-handed driving home from my last post (and it seems to have worked!). Also, as someone who is constantly cold, I wore leggings and a long sleeve shirt. I’m told the leggings are a good call but the long-sleeved shirt was not a wise choice. Most of the other players wore t-shirts and tank tops and I will be doing the same next week. I did a lot of sprinting and may have been overly enthusiastic in my guarding fake outs so I was uncomfortably warm. As a bonus, I have include a picture of me below in the previously mentioned too much clothing which I will be ditching to hopefully end up a little less hot and sweaty. Running out of water halfway through the second half of our game probably didn’t help with that. So, I’ll be bringing my largest water bottle next time and ideally won’t end up with a mouth drier than a failed attempt at the saltine challenge.
I would like to conclude this entry in the spirit of thanksgiving which most of us celebrated this past weekend and say I am thankful that I wasn’t as sore as previous post-dodgeball experiences. I still had full use of my arm after the game and only had a bit of minor DOMS in my upper throwing arm and back a couple days later. But overall, I learned a lot and had fun playing. After speaking with the other newbies on my team after the game, I was a little relieved to hear that they had also felt a bit apprehensive about the first game and were also a little hesitant to come to the first game (not that any of us considered not showing up very seriously). Although I suspect there was a little less existential spiralling for them. But we all enjoyed our first dodgeball experience and expect to be much more enthusiastic about showing up to our next game!
Here’s to making the second game as fun as the first! I’ll see some of you on the court!
*Cat’s journey continues in her third article, which can be found here.
Past articles: Post 1