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  • Writer's pictureDuane Wysynski

Dodgeball Canada: Secret Origins

The origin story of Dodgeball Canada doesn’t involve radioactive spiders, mutated genes, or an alien from a doomed planet light years away. But since some of the best origin stories DO involve these elements, I’ll do my best to work them in.

Dodgeball Canada wasn’t anything any of us were thinking about when we all first met while volunteering for a different (or Canada’s first?) national not-for-profit dodgeball organization. Some of us knew each other, and some of us didn’t. Duane and Chris were from Edmonton, Alberta and both had experience on the dodgeball court. Duane was active in his local league and not only did Chris help found Dodgeball Edmonton, he was also a member of the 2013 Men’s National Team who won gold in New Zealand (the land of radioactive spiders). Bethel lived in Toronto, Ontario and hoped to train her cat to become a serious dodgeball player (word is that she’s still working on it). Jen also lived in Toronto and was a member of the Women’s National Team in 2013 and 2015 and helped build in the team in 2014. Steve hung out in London, Ontario playing video games and eventually co-founded the London Dodgeball League.

But, just as mutated genes can change a person into someone else, this motley crew found itself changing as well…wanting to do more with the knowledge, friendship, and teamwork they had formed and wanting to do it outside of their current volunteer capacities. Goodbyes and well-wishes were said to their friends who remained in the organization, and they started a new dodgeball journey hoping to avoid as many head shots as possible.

In late 2015, after a few meetings and the temporary name “Canadian Dodgeball Society” was suggested, it was obvious that the team needed more players. Or should I say a coach…? That’s where Vic came in. He worked with all of us extensively as the Women’s National Team coach in 2015 and had the drive and ideas we needed to help build the Player Development portion of our new portfolio. Yet there was still one more player needed on the court…someone who had the knowledge to effectively spread the word about our new organization. Someone who could help organize all our marketing ideas into a cohesive plan. Someone who could be the captain of the team. Someone like Dave, who just so happened to be the captain of the Men’s National Team for the past 3 years.

One of the first things we discussed and all agreed upon, was that our new organization was to be member based, like many other national sports organizations in Canada. Having a membership structure means that our Class A and B members (leagues) have voting rights at our Annual General Meeting (an AGM is a requirement for all incorporated not-for-profits in Canada). Our Class and B members decide who sits on the Board of Directors and the direction the organization is going. Class C Members, who are individuals, do not get a vote at the AGM but have access to Board minutes, financials and bylaws, and have the opportunity to participate in discussion and engage with decision-makers. Our membership structure also provides a steady source of income so we have the funds to run tournaments, support Team Canada, and develop the sport in any way we can.

After many discussions, securing the name Dodgeball Canada, and becoming an officially incorporated entity through Corporations Canada, the next step was to spread the work involved and elect who would take on the various roles. A meeting was held, votes were cast, and our official Board of Directors was born with Duane and Bethel taking on the President and Vice-President roles, Jen taking on the role of Director of Finance, Chris taking on Media and Communications with Steve (who also is the Director of Policy), Bethel and Jen doing double duties as the Co-Directors of Programs, Vic taking on Sport and Player Development, and Dave looking after Marketing and Sponsorship.

I think you know the rest from here…Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, website (under construction), Team Canada qualifying tournaments and tryouts…the work has started and there’s much more to do and we’re only a little over a month since we went public. But we’re motivated, excited, and inspired by all the support and encouragement we’ve already received from players across Canada. We love the sport as much as you do and we’re going to give it everything we’ve got.

What do you want Dodgeball Canada to be? What do you think are some of the issues that we face in getting the word out about one of the fastest growing sports in Canada? How do you think we can grow the sport in Canada and around the world?

As long as your answer doesn’t involve an alien from a doomed planet light years away, we want to hear from you.

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