How to Win in Dodgeball
at least look cool trying

By Tracey Grimm
Lincoln School, Costa Rica

It can be said, in no uncertain terms, that the International ACAC Dodgeball Tournament is a highlight of the annual conference. What started with only 12 rag-tag teams at the TCU conference in July of 2006 has morphed into the epicenter of entertainment for higher ed folks and college counselors alike. Seriously, where else will you find cow costumes aplenty, David Zutautas on the mic and a gaggle of overly-competitive Jesuit university reps eager to trash talk anyone who mentions the fact that they were out in 1st round last year? 

{ Read the official #IntlACAC2017 Dodge Ball rules and sign up a team }

Clearly, I don’t need to encourage conference goers to attend this epic sporting event because the fun sells itself, but I do want to encourage all the winners out there to listen up, because I have some knowledge to drop. As a former Dodgeball Championess and proud team captain of the 2015 Champion Team We Are Hotter Than You, I want to share with you my top ten pieces of advice for winning an International ACAC Dodgeball Championship. 

Tracey’s Top Ten Tips To Reaching Dodgeball Greatness

  1. Visualize the end goal. The adrenaline coursing through your veins in the final moments, the last opponent knocked low by a ball to the foot, the roar of the cheers from hundreds of adoring fans, the victorious team picture immortalized forever on all of social media #IntlACAC2017. Also, the winning trophy is a giant chalice a la Lord Stanley that you can fill with beer, so if that isn’t a goal worth visualizing, I don’t know what is.

  2. Winners diversify their team. Just because all of your friends happen to all be representatives at the same type of Catholic university does NOT guarantee they are any good at dodgeball. Diversifying allows you to build the strengths you need to win. High school counselors? Check. College reps? Check. CBOs? Check. Scholar? Check. That one tall British dude you met at the college fair with arms for days? Check.

  3. No shoes, no shirt, how about a costume? Alternative footwear and clothing is highly encouraged. Not a single player from the 2016 tournament will forget that they were beat out by a team with a player who played the entire tournament barefoot. While shoes are technically required, crazy attire is also encouraged. Also, the cow costumes. Lou Greenwald and his Deja Moos play with all heart…..and udder. Remember, we are in it to win it, but also to have a little fun, so the more ridiculous the outfit the better. 

  4. Patience is a virtue. There are a lot of eager dodgeball players, but only one winning team. And it takes over three hours to separate the true winners from mere players, so you need to be ready for the long haul. Hydrate. Carboload. Stretch. And don’t forget to just sit back and enjoy an evening of conversation and friendly competition.**GRIMM ADVICE** Always keep your eye on the ball, even when sitting back and enjoying- you don't want that precious beverage to end up on yours or your neighbor’s lap.

  5. It’s all in the name. Naming your team is tantamount to greatness. Ask yourself: is my team name punny? Funny? Creative? Mildly inappropriate? Does it incorporate the use of the word “balls” in a meaningful way? If the answer is no, you need to go back to tip 1 and get your head in the game because dodgeball winners always have epic team names.

  6. Be nice to David Zutautas. Past President David Z started this tournament and he is the Commissioner. In past years he is also the guy who makes the bracket, so if you want some insider tips on how the whole thing shakes down, he’s a great person to rub shoulders with. And please, for heavens sake, pay attention when he calls the teams. See tip 4- the tournament is long enough without lollygagging.

  7. Find your cheering section. Nothing drives a team like having three dozen fans in the stands screaming their lungs out every time one of your team members picks up a ball. You’re playing to win, but you are playing for them too, your Superfans. Back to tip 4- it’s a long, fun evening. Pep up the people around you, chat with your colleagues, and get a section on your side.

  8. Never underestimate your ladies. Girls can throw. Hard. And catch. Don’t you put baby in the corner, because baby might be the one who takes out that gunner on the other team with a clean catch that puts you back in the game.

  9. Be cool. We are all in it to win it, but don’t be That Person who argues with the refs. In the end, it’s a friendly tournament and nobody wants to (tip 4) watch you waste time going back and forth over a call. Just sit on down and, tip 8, wait for one of your ladies to get you back in the game.

  10. Come on out.  My championship picture made it onto my 2015 family Christmas card- that’s how much love I have for this tournament. Winning aside, this is an event that many of us look forward to every year. And we want you to be a part of it. There are many, MANY ways to be active in International ACAC, including volunteering, committees, mentoring AND participating as a player in the Dodgeball Tournament. After all, you can’t win if you don’t play, so come on out, join a team and enjoy what is guaranteed to be the rockinest (I mean, it is Cleveland) dodgeball tournament yet! 

Tracey would like to thank Joan Liu, David Bernay, Ed Bustos, David Zutautas, Rosa Moreno and Alex Becker for their contributions to this piece.

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