By PHYLLIS HO
THE atmosphere was electric at the concourse area of The Summit Subang, Selangor last weekend, as students from different universities and colleges battled it out for the coveted title of Campus Dodgeball League (CDL) champions.
The dodgeball competition – exclusively for institutions of higher learning – saw nine top university and college dodgeball clubs participating.
After two full days of intense dodgeball action, culminating with Sunday’s nail-biting final, the Devil Dukes from UCSI University emerged as champions, holding off a stiff challenge from Taylor’s University’s Storm, who had to settle for a runners-up spot.
The annual tournament is organised by the Malaysian Association of Dodgeball (MAD) and is currently in its fourth year. However, this year will be the last time it’s held as a two-day event because from next year onwards, MAD will be launching CDL in a proper league format over several months.
For those who are unfamiliar with the sport, the rule is fairly simple – you throw the balls at your opponents, and dodge what they throw at you.
MAD started out promoting the sport in college campuses, but they’re hoping to reach a wider audience soon.
“We went straight into the campus market because we felt that the youth would easily accept a fun and entertaining sport,” said Ramona Yuen, the vice president of MAD. “Now the next step is for us to move into schools. Dodgeball is a game that is so easy to learn and play, so you don’t need to be very athletic.”
The popularity of the sport in colleges and universities has grown substantially since MAD first came to existence in 2008.
“We now have more than 20 clubs from colleges within the Klang Valley itself. We plan to reach out to schools as well but it will definitely be at a later stage, as we want to reach other states at campus level first,” she said, adding that having the Ministry of Higher Education on board has helped a lot.
Step by step
In March, Malaysia hosted the World Dodgeball Championship in Bukit Jalil. Six countries participated – Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada, the United States, New Zealand and Malaysia. The Malaysian men’s team placed fifth, and the women third.
“We realise where our level is in the international arena, and that’s why we must take things in stages,” said Yuen. “We have to teach people how to play first.”
Other than CDL, there is also the upcoming National Dodgeball Championship, where the top three teams from each of the four zones nationwide will compete, and the winner will represent Malaysia.
“When you play in a lot of leagues, and you play very often, that’s where you get to improve,” she commented.
Because of the lack of funds, there will only be a handful of tournaments this year.
“It all depends on the funds and sponsors. If we don’t have enough funding, it’s very hard for our association to run competitions,” Yuen lamented. “It’s tough but we still persevere because we know that it’s a sport that a lot of people like. We hope to gather the support of corporate companies in the future.”
More than a game
One important thing about dodgeball is the honour system. “It’s a system that requires the players to admit themselves whenever they’ve been hit,” Yuen said.
“They must put their hand up and walk out of the court without the marshals telling them,” she explained, adding that it is actually a great way to inculcate honesty.
“You respect your fellow members and also yourself when you have integrity, and that’s a good value to inculcate among the youth.”