Thursday, August 6, 2009

Video interview of Jimmers

I know it's been a long time since I updated this blog... but hey, here is some high quality content!

This is an interview I did with my teammate Adam "Jimmers" Jamieson. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

My back is killing me...

(me in the foreground, with Jill, Adam, Emily, and Jellybean in the background)

...but damn it's good to be back.

The Moth Balls played last night against a team called "I'd Hit That". Before the game even began, their captain admitted to us that they had never played dodgeball before and that if they broke any rules, we should just let them now.

Well, they knew that if the ball hit them, they were out. But that's about all they knew.

For those of you who are new to this blog, the rules were a big problem in both the recreational and intermediate dodgeball leagues I played in last season. In particular, head shots were contentious.

This team, however, knew next to nothing. To their credit, they were very honest and worked hard to learn the rules. They asked for clarification a couple of times and actually called their own teammates out over relatively minor infractions like holding on to a ball for too long or crossing the line.

I was impressed. They'll be a good team by the end of the season.

As for our team play, we actually played one of the best games, if not the best game, in the Moth Balls' history.

Jellybean had four catches, usually at key times. (Including one impressive catch where the ball bounced off her face.) Jill also had four or five catches. Good teams make the easy catches.

Perhaps most impressively, Emily held her ground and took out the entire team one round. She made catches, sniped some throws, and generally picked them off one-by-one. It was a fantastic performance.

My play was alright. I made one catch purely on instinct because I got hit in the nuts and my body automatically snapped in to a fetal position... fortunately, doing that trapped the ball between my knees.

Pathetically, at the age of 25 I am now playing like I am past my physical peak. I'm relying on clever plays and quick thinking. It gets me my outs, but I'm hardly as quick or flexible as I used to be!

Shoes. Shoes. Shoes. Oh my God. Shoes.

The first thing that I noticed last night? We have sweet shoes on the Moth Balls.

For starters, we had these brand new puppies on the court:

Your eyes do not deceive you. Those socks have the day of the week on them. Of course, it was a Tuesday, which means that they were either four days old, or Adam didn't know the date.

Also worth mentioning are Rob's blue and yellow shoes.

Rob only owns blue and yellow sneakers. He scours stores and malls and even eBay to make sure that his collection of kicks remain colour-coded. It's pretty damn awesome.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here we go!

After my brief sabbatical from the hardest hitting (and only) dodgeball blog on the internet, I am back to give you all the game stories, arguments, fights over the course of my twin seasons. Of course, I'll be continuing to write tips and strategies to make you a better dodgeballer.

Tonight's game, and all Tuesday night games this season, will be with the Moth Balls. There have been a few changes to the team; some players have stepped down from the roster. To make up these vacancies, we have some new additions to the team. Also, Jellybean, always more observant then me, noticed that we have been shuffled into a recreational league that has all new teams, as well as the bottom two teams from the least rec season.

Thursday night's will, for the fifth straight year, belong to the Evil Empire. My Dogs of War will gear up and step on to the court to fight the good fight and bring our particular brand of foam and latex anger to gyms across Toronto. Like the Moth Balls, the Evil Empire has lost a few players. So far, we've only been able to replace 8Mile with a former member of the black and silver: Hardcorey. However, I am trying to recruit at least one female player to give our girls a rest during games.

There are some storylines that I expect will permeate the year. Jimmers, Kannah and some friends have created their own team (the Fairy Dodgemothers) that will be in the same Tuesday night league as the Moth Balls. Our first game against each other will be three weeks from now and should be a slobberknocker. The Moth Balls will continue to challenge themselves and grow as players and athletes. The Evil Empire will continue to try and harness their prodigious talents and control their tempers. Both teams will be fighting not just for respect but to make sure that they win a championship.

It promises to be an exciting year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Time for some sexy Empire on Empire action...

As mentioned in my previous post, the Evil Empire's opponents had defaulted, so we opted to have a scrimmage amongst ourselves. Of course... getting enough players for two full sides was pretty difficult too. Smirnoff, Hot Sauce, My Pet Monster, 8Mile, Joh and Kate all couldn't come due to work, school, Australia and, pft, Christmas celebrations. So we went out and recruited some players. Jellybean returned for one game only, and our friends Mr. Kennedy and Bush League stepped into the fray. We also persuaded dodge-umentarian Jared Bryer to step out from behind the camera and take part.

Even then, we only had enough players for five-a-side, but it was still a hell of a lot of fun. We all got a chance to make some spectacular plays and, not surprisingly, everyone stayed loose and calm. Apparently, that's what it takes for us to have a good time during a game - - no opponents!

In the grand scheme of the ongoing development of the Evil Empire, it was a very interesting exercise because I learned a lot about my own playing style and my team.

(These are in no particular order)

Me - I leave my right arm totally open when I'm blocking a ball. Jimmers picked me off two or three times, and I think The Deal got me a few times as well. But I also learned that even people who've seen me play countless times have a tough time reading my throws.

Jimmers - Bastard is a wily dodger! And very fast too. He got across the floor for sweeping and striking so quickly that it gave us little chance to recover from our plays. As I mentioned above, he was also very accurate and observant enough to find a hole in my defense.

The Deal - For my money, the best player of the night. The Deal was virtually impossible to hit because his blocking is so strong, and if he didn't have the ball, there was a good chance he'd be able to catch anything thrown at him. His throwing was accurate and hard.

Jellybean - Her throws were incredibly well timed and accurate. Jellybean could also teach me a thing or two about positioning and conservative play. She was always in the right place to make the smart play and kept our opponents honest. Most impressively, when she was the last played on the court, she consistently delivered big catches.

Tool Time - Always a competitor, Tool Time threw as hard as he could, and benefited by the small gym, had incredible accuracy. He's also come a long way in terms of his dodging ability. No word of a lie, I saw him jump clear over two balls when barraged. This time last year, he just would've taken the hit.

Pocahontas - Damn, girl can throw. Even with an aching shoulder, Pocahontas was able to lay down some throws so strong they'd scalp you. Whenever I play a team, I quickly organize in my head who the biggest threat is, only to be superseded by who is an incredibly easy out. (Usually someone who is not paying close enough attention to the play.) Every round, she became my priority. She was so aggressive and, as far as I could tell, going through the same thought process that I was running through, I had to try and take her out as quickly as possible, or she'd get me.

Banana - I was really surprised by Banana's throws. They're deceptive. They have so much movement on them that they make you want to reach out and grab them, but they end up just barely grazing your hands. It was frustrating as hell from my perspective, but that's the point, isn't it?

At the end of the night we all voted on who the game MVP was, and just about everyone got a vote, but in the end, Mr. Kennedy ended up with two votes and the much desired Reg Dunlop Award!

It was a fantastic way to end the season.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The two sweetest words in the English language: DEFAULT!

On Tuesday night Moth Balls' captain and archives aficionado Marina emailed the team to let us know that there was a very good chance that our opponents for the evening (Not In The Face!) might have to forfeit the game. After some deliberation, the other team told Marina that yes, they would be able to show up, but might not have enough players for a proper game. Instead, the Moth Balls and Not In The Face! would have a mixed game with people just playing for fun. Jellybean and I both had some work to do at home, and the weather was crappy, so we decided not to go.

Now tonight's Evil Empire game is also ending in a default! Our opponents, SLAUGTERHOUSE, had to forfeit because they all work together and tonight is their work Christmas party. So we're going to have a scrimmage amongst our team and with some of our friends playing too.

So, alas, no game reports for you, my loyal fans.

However, I do want to note that the end of our dodgeball seasons does not mean an end to the content on this blog. Instead I'll be focusing on instructional posts or, maybe, just maybe, some allegedly funny posts.

Your hero,
Chudley #77

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

“Injuries put us on our guard” - Latin proverb

(Consider yourself on notice: I am not a medical professional. I am not a doctor, nurse or physiotherapist. Follow my advice at your own risk!)

After nearly three and a half months of playing dodgeball twice a week, I can generally sum up the experience in one word: painful.

As I write this, my right shoulder (my throwing shoulder) is aching in anticipation of tonight's game. My left knee has what's left of a sizable scab, undoubtedly adding to my impressively scarred leg-elbows. My back has more knots in it then a sailor's rope. The tendinitis in my elbow has become so strong that most of the velocity of my throws has been lost. My ankle, long ago diagnosed as having loose ligaments, aches on occasion.Wednesday and Friday mornings often have to start with some whey powder mixed in with my oatmeal. I can feel in my knees when rain and snow storms are entering the Greater Toronto Area.

In short, I am in rough shape.

Granted, I was stupid and played other sports over the course of the season. I subbed in on Lefty's floor hockey team and started playing in a Sunday night soccer league at BMO Field. Although these sports don't use my arm as much, they still worked my back and knees out of joint.

These injuries aren't just limited to me. I know my Evil Empire teammate Pocahontas is having serious shoulder problems. Last week her arm hurt so bad she needed help putting on her jacket after the game. Rob on the Moth Balls has often had arm trouble.

Fortunately, I am merely hurt, not injured. And yes, there is a distinction. An injury is something that requires the attention of a doctor. It usually involves profuse bleeding or something breaking. An example of an injury is described by Neil (better known as My Pet Monster) and I in the Evil Empire Dodge-umentary. Neil had dropped to his knees to dodge a ball, but also ducked his head, splitting his forehead on the gym floor. That is an injury. Being hurt is merely the aches and pains that add up over the course of a season. Bruises, tight muscles. Stuff like that.

So what is a dodgeball player to do?

Well, it's been my experience that these are some good ideas:

- Water, drink lots of it. Before games. During games. After games. The day after games. Almost all muscle pain and stiffness comes down to dehydration or built up lactic acid. Both require the intake of massive amounts of fluid. I remember one tournament I was in that lasted for an entire day and I barely had time to drink any water. I was incredibly sore for days. Eventually, my body flushed out disgusting amounts of lactic acid.

- Warm up properly. I have seen so many teams get on to their court and start to "warm up" by whipping the ball as hard as they can at each other. In my opinion, that is a poor idea because your muscles won't actually be warm and you'll be putting all kinds of stress on them. This is particularly a problem in Canada in the winter time when you will literally be cold. Instead, wear a sweatshirt on to the court while you're warming up and throw the ball slowly and lightly. Focus on the mechanics of your throw. Then lightly stretch. Your arm will thank me.

- Dope up. The advice you've all been waiting for: recreational drug use! If you've got tendinitis in your elbow (tennis elbow) then I would highly recommend taking a single ibuprofen approximately fifteen minutes before a game. It works like this: as tendinitis is an inflammation of the tendon (the rubber band in your elbow) an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen will pre-emptively shrink your tendon. When your elbow does inflame (and trust me, it will) it will inflame to approximately your normal size. It will still hurt, just not as much.

- Treat yourself to a massage. There are many legal and non-sexual ways to receive a massage. A convenient, though expensive option is to go to the Great American Backrub. There are several locations in Toronto's downtown core, as well as across North America. A less expensive, but slightly less convenient option is to visit a massage therapy school. For a significantly reduced rate, you can be used as a practice run for an aspiring masseuse. In the GTA, I'd recommend the Sutherland-Chan school.

- Use your head. As I have been told many times, it is just dodgeball. But that doesn't mean the strain on your arm is any easier. Don't throw the ball as hard as you can every time. Learn to use a variety of pitches, with off speed stuff. Don't throw directly at a target, but to its sides and hope that they reach out for a grab. Go for high percentage shots. Simply wailing the ball as fast as you can, as hard as you can, is going to hurt.

- Just because the game is over, doesn't mean your work is done. As I said above, make sure you drink lots of water after your game. If you've been sore after games a few weeks running, maybe it's a good idea to turn down the chicken wings and beer after the game, and instead go for grilled chicken on a garden salad washed down with juice. If anyone chirps you, point out that you're giving 110% for the team, unlike their half-assed play.

One excellent resource can be found here, at the WebBall website.

The last and most important piece of advice I have is know your limits. I am a ridiculously competitive person and am very suspicious of doctor's advice. However, even I know that sometimes you have to butch up and walk yourself to a doctor. If an injury nags for days or feels like more then just being sore, stiff, or tender, see a doctor. Preferably one who specializes in sports medicine, but a general practitioner is a good idea too.