Balls to the wall

Winnipeg dodgeball is taking a leap to the next level

Winnipeg’s dodgeball community is demanding more competition and they’re about to get their wish. 

A new league, Dodgeball Winnipeg, aims to offer a more competitive atmosphere by using World Dodgeball Federation (WDBF) rules. The rules are used in nearly every other city in Canada. 

“It’s the logical next step in getting the sport off the ground,” organizer Stacy Huen says. 

Winnipeg Rec League (WRL) currently organizes a dodgeball league in Winnipeg, using rules unique to its league. 

While the Dodgeball Winnipeg organizers enjoy playing dodgeball in WRL, having a league that uses WDBF rules may cause Team Canada recruiters to actually stop in Winnipeg for tryouts, Huen says. 

And when people want to travel for tournaments, they will be used to the WDBF rules that are standard almost everywhere, he adds. 

The WDBF rules are less ambiguous, causing fewer arguments so people can focus on playing the game. They also use smaller balls that weigh less. Being hit by one of these balls stings less and the balls are less likely to jam fingers while being caught. 

Dodgeball Winnipeg is run by people who are already involved in the local dodgeball scene, which means the organizers understand the needs of the participants, Huen says. 

“That’s what we are looking to do, cater to what the community wants,” he says. 

This season, Dodgeball Winnipeg will offer a draft league. In the 2016 season, they plan to offer a women’s league, a co-ed league and an open league. 

In draft league, individuals sign up and are placed on teams based on skill level. 

Dedicated dodgeball veteran Natasha O’Reilly says playing in a draft league this season will be exciting. 

“Teams will be balanced with seasoned players and newbies. I love playing competitive dodgeball, but when you’re annihilating teams it doesn’t become fun anymore,” she says. 

Each year, individual players’ stats (hits and catches) are reevaluated and the teams are shuffled to keep the skill sets balanced. 

Winnipeg is one of the only cities in Canada that doesn’t have a draft league, despite its dedicated dodgeball community. 

Three-year dodgeball veteran Scott Brandt is not just enthusiastic about playing dodgeball, but also for having a dodgeball community. 

“The best part about the dodgeball scene in Winnipeg is the community… I have made many friends and many memories because we all care about the game,” Brandt says. 

Dodgeball Winnipeg isn’t just for people who are fiercely competitive. Anyone over 18 is also welcome to play. 

“Most people can dodge, catch, or throw. If you can do two of those, you will be a threat on the court,” Huen says. “Try out the sport you loved as a kid and you might just love it as an adult.”

Published in Volume 70, Number 7 of The Uniter (October 22, 2015)

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