The Blog

Youth Dodgeball

i Oct 8th No Comments by

Greetings, dodgeball friends!  The second installment of the Team Awesome Dodge-Blog is all about youth dodgeball, or as many refer to it as the future of the sport.  I have coached youth teams for years, well before joining Team Awesome and I often find it more exciting than adult dodgeball.  I thoroughly enjoy teaching our kids what our team has learned through our travels and I have a blast every time they apply our strategies and succeed in the game.  It’s also exciting to see young talent in the game as one day the youth will replace our generation at the forefront of dodgeball.  Our youth teams have traveled as far as Ephrata for dodgeball tournaments and if all goes well, we will bring a team out to Chick-Fil-A Richmond’s infamous Sports Challenge (Dodgeball Tournament)  this fall.

Personally I believe we have an obligation to promote dodgeball to the youth.  Ask yourself why you are where you are.  Everyone I know who currently plays says they first experienced dodgeball as a kid and the fun they had then motivated them to either continue playing or to pick it up again as adults.  How can we contribute?  There are a number of things we can do to get kids involved with dodgeball.  Outsiders to the sport tend to find competitive dodgeball quite fascinating.  For all the successful teams out there with trophies and titles, you can use your clout to visit YMCA’s or schools to simply play dodgeball with kids.  To hear you won an East Coast Championship, the World Championship or a huge cash prize, you will gain the interest of many young minds who are looking for a sport to get involved in.

Recently, Team Awesome’s youth teams took a trip to the Lansdale YMCA to participate in their Winter Challenge Dodgeball tournament.  There, our teams faced off against teams from Phoenixville, Norristown, Kulpsville and Lansdale.  Our friends at Lansdale ran a great event – well-organized, fair and forgiving at times, especially with the teams who were newer to competitive dodgeball.  The competition was the best we had encountered in a legitimate setting.  Within the younger age group (ages 7-11), Team Awesome Jr. was the crowd favorite but were missing a number of their experienced players.  Lansdale fielded by far their best team yet, hoping to end our three straight YMCA tournament winning streak.  Lansdale put on a fantastic show but our players adapted and drove it home with a 3-1 victory in the finals.

Day two welcomed the 11-15 age division, featuring Phoenixville’s first team appearance and Norristown’s first official team.  Probably the most exciting showing was in the semi-finals between our Indian Valley teams Cheeker Nation and Team IV.  Team IV almost took the upset with an early win and close games but Cheeker Nation pulled through and clenched the match-up 2-1.  Below is

 

This tournament was pretty important since we have a rivalry with the Lansdale crew and also a bit with Norristown.  There were two age groups, one for ages 7-11 and a second for ages 11-15.  For the younger division, there were two crowd favorites from the start – “North Penn 1” and “Team Awesome Jr.”.  This was a pretty big match-up as “Team Awesome Jr. had not lost a YMCA tournament within the last year and Lansdale was fielding their best team yet.  My dear friend Jeremy from the Lansdale Y had talked up his team for the past week.  three crowd favorites from the start, Indian Valley (Team Awesome)’s “Cheeker Nation”, Norristown’s “Mini Team Awesome” and Lansdale’s “School’s Out”.

 

As a coach, I have seen a number of youth tournaments across the area.  Much like most adult tournaments out there, the rules, structure and organization are pretty much unique to

Dodgeball World Championship 2013 Wrap-Up

i Sep 22nd No Comments by

Team Awesome returned to the National Dodgeball League’s Dodgeball World Championships for their 3rd year as a full team.  It was an exciting trip well worth the time and effort that went into it.  2013 marked the 10-year anniversary of the DWC and many changes were made in light of this milestone.  A trampoline division was added, the format changed to double elimination and two no-blocking divisions were added.  Over the course of 4 days, hundreds of games were played, thousands of balls were thrown and dozens of medals were awarded.  Here’s how our visit panned out.

 

The Trip Out

A few of us left the weekend prior but most of the team was set to arrive on Wednesday, August 7.  Unfortunately, Megan, Ed and Ryan ran into some heavy delays and did not get in until 2am PST on the 8th.  The lesson we all learned that day is to never fly JetBlue.  $90 bag fees, staff that does not show up in time for their shifts, cramped seats and poor service don’t make up for those cheap ticket prices.  Sam and I, however flew US Airways (and left our houses at 5am in the morning) for a few bucks more and our trip went without a hitch.  For those of us who arrived early, we spent much of the day at the pool and enjoyed the Vegas sun.   Before the tournament, we hit the strip, took advantage of some happy hour specials and met up with the commissioner and his lovely wife.  Fortunately, we had some time to relax before the marathon of dodgeball began.

 

Day One

Thursday night, August 8 marked the start of the 2013 DWC with the trampoline division.  This event was held at the new Sky Zone location in Las Vegas.  The facility was fantastic, with a catwalk for spectators that passed by all 4 courts and wrapped around one of them.  The courts were bigger (fortunately) than the courts back home in Oaks, PA, both long and wide.  The games were played with 8.5″ rubber NDL balls and instead of Sky Zone shoes (like in Oaks), players wore socks with a rough texture on the bottom for superior grip.  Most of us preferred them to the Sky Zone shoes.  The most important rule of the game was no blocking, and this provided to be a challenge as just about all tournaments on the east coast allow blocking.  Teams competing came from New York, Sacramento, San Diego and Canada.  In round robin, we were looking pretty good, but in the play-offs we had some trouble and the team cohesion just wasn’t there.  We did place 3rd and we had a great time.  This night marked the first Vegas experience for Ryan and Sam.
DWC 2013 - Trampoline Team - 3rd Place

 

Day Two

Day two was foam Friday, featuring women’s, co-ed no blocking, co-ed and open foam divisions.  Team Awesome played in the latter of the two and helped referee matches earlier on in the day.  Our co-ed team consisted of Matt, Drew, Frankie, myself, Sam, Megan and Sara, a friend from LA who played with us last year.  Our open line-up was Matt, Drew, Ryan, Ed, Frankie and myself.  There were plenty of teams in the foam divisions, including 3 teams from Boston, Washington, Rise, Doom, DC Dominion and a young team Crysis from Sacramento.  In co-ed eliminations, Awesome was sent to the loser’s bracket early by Doom, who overtook us in a 3-2 best of 5 match-up.  In response, we fought our way to the semi-finals and played Doom again, this time overtaking them 2-0 in a best of 3.  From there, we advanced to the finals to play Rise.  It was a great match with nothing but close games but after taking the series to the 5th game, Rise won overall with 3 wins out of 5.

DWC 2013 - 2nd Place Co-Ed Foam

Open foam was the last division of the day but before the division began, the Last Dodgeballer Standing competition took place.  Teams were split up so that no team was together on one side.  Many players took to the front lines while others cowered in the back.  After the numbers dwindled and the courts shrank, only Megan and myself remained in the fray.  When it was down to about the top 10, I was eliminated by the commissioner himself as he caught a ball I threw that hit another player on his side.  Megan hung in there and made it down to the final 3 and she and another player hit each other at the same time, leaving Boston’s Kate Kerrins as the sole survivor and the winner of the 2013 LDS award.

Open foam was even more intense than the co-ed division and eliminations began against the young guns of Crysis.  After winning that match and advancing past Boston, we had to face Doom yet again before advancing to the finals.  It was an epic match with a lot of fast-paced game play.  The final game came down to Ryan in a one-on-one and he sealed it with some great dodges and a solid catch.  From there, it was deja-vu, with Team Awesome and Rise once again competing for first place.  In the end, Rise took the title with 3 wins to 1.  It was a good match and at least we took home 2 medals!

DWC 2013 - 2nd place Open Foam

 

Day Three

Rubber Saturday was next and included no blocking, co-ed, open rubber and stinger divisions.  Awesome played in co-ed and stinger and we saw many of the familiar faces from the day before.  New teams included a team from North Carolina and a team of NCDA players.  In co-ed, we played against Boston, Doom, DC, Upstate Empire, Gummi Bears and Rise.  On our roster, was Matt, Drew, Ed, Frankie, Megan, Sara and myself.  We were knocked down to the loser’s bracket early by Doom but fought hard to stay in the race.  We met up with Boston next and advanced 2-0 and had to play a very seasoned rubber team, the Upstate Empire, who had defeated us 2-0 in the finals of the East Coast Championships open rubber finals just last June.  Awesome was firing on all cylinders and made sure every throw was made together and on point.  We advanced 2-0 and moved on to the loser’s bracket finals, where we met up with Rise.  Despite a few hiccups, it was a close game and we lost to Rise by 1 match.  Rise then went on to win the co-ed rubber division against Doom.

Stinger was one of the bigger divisions, as well as the most intense.  This division has the most adrenaline, as no one wants to get hit by those deadly 5″ rubber balls!  Our team included Matt, Drew, Frankie, Ed, Sam, myself and Glenn Tibay, a creepy friend of ours from LA.  Eliminations started out once again with our friends from Crysis.  We moved on to play DC and then Doom from there, who overtook us 3-2.  The last game of the series was starting out in our favor but a cross court shot from our opponents took out three of us and left one of our players alone.  We then played against Rise in the loser’s bracket and lost 1-2.  Rise ended up overcoming Doom and won two best of 5 series in the finals to take home yet another 1st place medal.

 

Day Four

Unfortunately, Sam and I could not stay for pro day but Team Awesome and the Philly Justice had a great day.  Megan became the 2nd professional female dodgeball player and the youngest player to be accepted into the NDL’s pro league.  She played alongside the Justice with Matt, Drew, Ed, Andrew Fox and Anthony Jennings.  The results have not yet been posted but with 5 players on the Justice and 6 on all other teams, I’ll just say a few upsets were had that day.  I am looking forward to the photos being posted as it looks like it was a fun day.

 2013 Philadelphia Justice

 

In conclusion….

This year was the best DWC experience we had so far and all the games were very organized.  It was great to see familiar faces yet again and it was also exciting to see new teams show up for the tournament.  The double elimination format was a great addition in our eyes and we are looking forward to the new NDL foam balls being brought in for next year.

We placed 2nd twice and 3rd three times, so it was a good showing for the team.  We are also proud of our three high school players, Sam, Ryan and Megan who made some big contributions to our success and are only at the beginning of their careers.  Goodbye, Vegas.  Until next year!

 

 

Souderton High School Tournament Wrap-Up

i Mar 29th No Comments by

It’s been almost two weeks since the Souderton tournament so perhaps my latest update comes as a delay, however, the Souderton High School FCA Dodgeball Tournament was a big success and Team Awesome was glad to be a part of it.  The Souderton tournament was organized by Rob Barbadoro and the FCA with all proceeds going to the International Justice Mission to free children across the world from slavery.  13 teams attended this year despite the bad weather and the winners received a substantial amount of money in Amazon and iTunes gift cards.  Nice!

Representing Indian Valley Dodgeball and Team Awesome were “Cheeker Nation”, led by captains Sam Jones & TJ Espenship and “Team IV”, led by captain Nick Fazzolari.  Cheeker had split up for this event since only 5 players were allowed on a team and many of our players were interested in participating.  Team Awesome’s role in the event was to officiate the event, referee, set up bracketing and scheduling of the games and generally hype up dodgeball.

The day began with check-in and team registration, which was a little hectic.  Since teams were permitted to register the day of, the event got off to a late start.  Once the games began, everything ran like clockwork.  On court 1, Cheeker Nation opened against C.B. West’s baseball team of seniors named “Money Shot”.  From there, Cheeker Nation swept their whole division and took 1st seed with a record of 12-0.  On court 3, Team IV held their own and seeded 5th overall behind Souderton’s “Captain Crunch & The Cereal Killers” (2nd), another Souderton team and “Money Shot” (5th).

Once eliminations began, Cheeker Nation and the next top 2 seeds got a bye and Team IV pushed through their first elimination match-up.  The next round, Cheeker played the Kamikaze’s and lost their first and only game before moving on with a score of 2-1.  Perhaps even more surprising was Team IV’s big upset over the C.B. West baseball team, thanks to big catches by captain Nick Fazzolari and Janae L.  As fate would have it, Cheeker and IV met in the semi-finals as they were placed on the same side of the bracket.  Both matches (best of 3) were close with one ending in a tie-breaker but Cheeker Nation edged out a victory and a place in the finals.  On the other half of the bracket, team “Chocolate Rain” of Souderton (6th) had a big upset over the 3rd seed and 2nd seed teams, winning 2-1 in the quarter finals and then 2-0 in the semi-finals.  This team of underdogs fought their way into the finals with many clutch catches and solid hits.

The finals were intense and Chocolate Rain started off strong in the first game, hot off their winning streak.  They were up 5 players to 3 but the Cheekers came back with many accurate hits, counter attacks, effective dodging and team work.  From there, Cheeker built up momentum, making catches and coordinating their attacks to make every moment count.  Chocolate Rain had many great dodges and hits but in the end, Cheeker Nation emerged victorious as the Souderton High School FCA Dodgeball Champions.  Their overall record was 19-1.  Chocolate Rain placed 2nd with a record of 14-9 and Team IV placed 3rd with a record of 12-7.

Cheeker Nation - 5th Annual Pennridge Domination Dodgeball, February 23, 2013

Cheeker Nation – 1st place at Souderton & Pennridge High School Tournaments

Not only did all top three teams receive cool prizes, the 1st place team was offered the chance to play Team Awesome.  Cheeker Nation practices with us on a frequent basis but this time we were on Cheeker’s home turf and there was an audience – so you know everyone was playing for keeps!  Cheeker Nation dominated the first round, and despite a comeback by Team Awesome, Cheeker emerged victorious.  Rounds 2 and 3, Team Awesome came back with a vengeance, making several key catches and dodges to overcome the champs.  These guys are definitely on the rise and really should come out to more dodgeball touranments…

Congratulations to Cheeker Nation for taking 1st place and a big thanks to Souderton, Rob Barbadoro and Brent Fink of the FCA putting on the tournament and for inviting us to help out.  Until next time!

Dodging Diabetes and Erie Tournament Re-Cap

i Mar 16th No Comments by

Another weekend full of dodgebal!  Two tournaments in two days and you can bet all of us were feeling it in the days that followed.  On Saturday, March 9, the guys headed out on a two-day road trip for tournaments in Erie and Maryland.  With no time to spare, they arrived in Erie for their 6th annual dodgeball tournament, where Matt and Drew re-united with NDL pros Pat Kitlenger & Phil Mineo from their former team, the Pittsburg Punishers.  Our line-up included Matt, Andrew, Ed and Steve Mac.  This was our first rubber tournament of the year so we were a little on edge going in.  The tournament was a blast!  It was great meeting new teams and seeing familiar faces.  In the end, Team Awesome took home 1st place, which included a sizeable -and shiny- first place trophy.

Team Awesome wins 1st place at the 6th Annual Dodgeball Tournament in Erie, PA.

Team Awesome takes 1st place!

Immediately after the tourney, Matt and the gang hopped in the dodge-mobile and jetted down to Rockville, Maryland for their 8th Annual Dodging Diabetes Dodgeball Tournament on Sunday, March 10.  After 9 hours, the guys arrived at their hotel at 4:30am in the morning, just in time to grab a couple hours of sleep.  It was not even 30 minutes later that the rest of the Dodging Diabetes team awoke to make the drive from PA.  Departing from the Indian Valley Y at 6am, Frankie, Megan, Rob, Steve and Christine headed to Rockville and arrived around 8:30.  The tournament began within the hour and pretty much everyone there were still waking up.  Teams from all across the Mid-Atlantic showed up to play.  Most were local, such as DC Social Sports, Goombay Dodgeball and He-Man while a few traveled several hours to get there, including Dinosaur Ice Machine and Bro Beans and a Sloot (aka Medics Dodgeball).

Dinosaur Ice Machine prepares for a match at Dodging Diabetes in Rockville, Maryland.

Dinosaur Ice Machine getting ready for a match at Dodging Diabetes.  Gotta love that name!

Round robin was intense and Dinosaur Ice Machine emerged as the early favorite with a round robin record of 7-1.  Team Awesome was close behind at 6-2.  Before elminations began, Dodging Diabetes held their annual Last Man Standing competition, where 60-80 players competed for this year’s title.  There was no blocking or catching allowed and as players were eliminated, the boundaries quickly shrunk.  It came down to the wire and in the end I ended up taking home the gold!

Last Man Standing at the 8th Annual Dodging Diabetes Dodgeball Tournament

Last Man Standing at the 8th Annual Dodging Diabetes Dodgeball Tournament

Before we knew it, eliminations were under way and Team Awesome went head-to-head with DC Social and then Dinosaur Ice Machine at the semi-finals.  Each match-up was close, coming down to the 3rd game in a best-of-3 showdown where we edged out a win.  Perhaps the most intense matches were during the finals against our friends, the Medics, where we landed two of our wins just seconds before the buzzer.  It came down to game 5 of 5 but in the end Team Awesome took 1st place.  On top of a trophy, we will receive a Wheaties box with our team photo on the front.  Neat!

Team Awesome takes 1st place at Dodging Diabetes in Rockville, Maryland

1st place – Wheaties box coming soon!

Overall, both tournaments were new and exciting experiences for our team and we had a great time.  We would like to thank the event organizers and competiting teams at both events for a great weekend.  We would also like to congratulate the Medics for taking 2nd place and Dinosaur Ice Machine for taking 3rd in Rockville.  The east coast has a lot of great teams and skilled players and we look forward to seeing all of them again soon.

Up next, we are hosting a high school tournament this weekend and following that, we have another youth Blacklight Dodgeball night the following Saturday.  Until then!

i Feb 14th No Comments by

Greetings, dodgeball friends!  The second installment of the Team Awesome Dodge-Blog is all about youth dodgeball, or as many refer to it as the future of the sport.  I have coached youth teams for years, well before joining Team Awesome and I often find it more exciting than adult dodgeball.  I thoroughly enjoy teaching our kids what our team has learned through our travels and I have a blast every time they apply our strategies and succeed in the game.  It’s also exciting to see young talent in the game as one day the youth will replace our generation at the forefront of dodgeball.  Our youth teams have traveled as far as Ephrata for dodgeball tournaments and if all goes well, we will bring a team out to Chick-Fil-A Richmond’s infamous Sports Challenge (Dodgeball Tournament)  this fall. Personally I believe we have an obligation to promote dodgeball to the youth.  Ask yourself why you are where you are.  Everyone I know who currently plays says they first experienced dodgeball as a kid and the fun they had then motivated them to either continue playing or to pick it up again as adults.  How can we contribute?  There are a number of things we can do to get kids involved with dodgeball.  Outsiders to the sport tend to find competitive dodgeball quite fascinating.  For all the successful teams out there with trophies and titles, you can use your clout to visit YMCA’s or schools to simply play dodgeball with kids.  To hear you won an East Coast Championship, the World Championship or a huge cash prize, you will gain the interest of many young minds who are looking for a sport to get involved in. Recently, Team Awesome’s youth teams took a trip to the Lansdale YMCA to participate in their Winter Challenge Dodgeball tournament.  There, our teams faced off against teams from Phoenixville, Norristown, Kulpsville and Lansdale.  Our friends at Lansdale ran a great event – well-organized, fair and forgiving at times, especially with the teams who were newer to competitive dodgeball.  The competition was the best we had encountered in a legitimate setting.  Within the younger age group (ages 7-11), Team Awesome Jr. was the crowd favorite but were missing a number of their experienced players.  Lansdale fielded by far their best team yet, hoping to end our three straight YMCA tournament winning streak.  Lansdale put on a fantastic show but our players adapted and drove it home with a 3-1 victory in the finals. Day two welcomed the 11-15 age division, featuring Phoenixville’s first team appearance and Norristown’s first official team.  Probably the most exciting showing was in the semi-finals between our Indian Valley teams Cheeker Nation and Team IV.  Team IV almost took the upset with an early win and close games but Cheeker Nation pulled through and clenched the match-up 2-1.  Below is   This tournament was pretty important since we have a rivalry with the Lansdale crew and also a bit with Norristown.  There were two age groups, one for ages 7-11 and a second for ages 11-15.  For the younger division, there were two crowd favorites from the start – “North Penn 1” and “Team Awesome Jr.”.  This was a pretty big match-up as “Team Awesome Jr. had not lost a YMCA tournament within the last year and Lansdale was fielding their best team yet.  My dear friend Jeremy from the Lansdale Y had talked up his team for the past week.  three crowd favorites from the start, Indian Valley (Team Awesome)’s “Cheeker Nation”, Norristown’s “Mini Team Awesome” and Lansdale’s “School’s Out”.   As a coach, I have seen a number of youth tournaments across the area.  Much like most adult tournaments out there, the rules, structure and organization are pretty much unique to

Volume One

i Dec 5th 1 Comment by

Greetings, dodgeball fans, addicts and enthusiasts.  This is hopefully the first of many editions to come from Team Awesome’s DodgeBlog, a forum for all thoughts and ramblings loosely related to the greatest sport known to man.  It may sound strange to some to blog about dodgeball, but there is a lot to talk about; from tournament recaps to rules and playing styles to dodgeball politics even, and we’re going to discuss all of them here.

But first, who are Team Awesome?  We are a group of individuals who enjoy playing dodgeball.  Aside from playing in tournaments, we also support charities and hold our own fundraisers.  In the past, our tournaments have raised money for Breast Cancer Research, Wounded Warrior Project, YMCA Strong Kids Campaign and a Norristown resident who lost his leg in a car accident.  The team was founded by Matt Giovinco and a few close friends in 2010 and since then grew to include numerous individuals across the east coast.

What’s next for the team?  Well we will be doing a lot of travelling, that’s for sure.  Dodging for Diabetes and Dodge 4 Cure are coming up, and we will probably be making a return to Vegas this summer.  Of course, we will be hosting our own tournaments throughout the year, including our next event, Team Awesome’s Pink Bowl in Harleysville on January 12.  Team Awesome will also continue to focus on charity work (after all, our motto is “Dodgeball for a Cause!”) and we have lots of great cause to support.  Until then, we look forward to seeing you on the court real soon.  Dodge on, dodgeball fans!