A strong arm and a passion for competition helped a Saginaw Valley State University student recently earn a spot on the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association’s All-American Team.
Kyle Bruce, a mechanical engineering major from Macomb Township, said the All-American distinction was among his favorite highlights since joining SVSU’s dodgeball club in 2015.
“Playing on this team, you become like a family,” said Bruce, who plans to graduate in August. “I made a lot of friends in dodgeball, and this was a great way to end it.”
Bruce said he joined the team four years ago as a fun distraction from studies but quickly found joy in the highly-competitive nature of the National Collegiate Dodgeball Association.
“I remember traveling to our first tournament at Grand Valley State University, and realizing how seriously these teams approach the game,” he said. “I loved that competitiveness.”
Prior to his joining the club, Bruce’s experience with the sport involved a handful of games played in high school gym classes. His lack of familiarity with dodgeball was balanced out by his experience as a baseball pitcher in high school, though, and he quickly developed into a valuable player after joining SVSU's club sport.
“Having that baseball background gives you an advantage in dodgeball,” he said, pointing out that both sports rely heavily on throwing and catching. “There are a lot of other skills you need for dodgeball, but you can pick those up over the years.”
The National Collegiate Dodgeball Association plays its season over the course of the college academic year, spanning fall to spring. In total, 39 teams from universities and colleges across the nation compete in the association. Each roster features between 12 to 18 people.
While the league is not affiliated with the NCAA, SVSU lines up against students from much larger schools such as Michigan State University, University of Nebraska, Ohio State University, and University of Kentucky.
SVSU’s dodgeball club finished its 2018-19 season in April after placing sixth in the national tournament hosted at GVSU.
The tournament marked Bruce’s last appearance in an SVSU dodgeball club uniform, but he isn’t finished with the sport. Already, he has joined the Detroit City Notorious, one of more than 100 teams that constitute the league known as Elite Dodgeball.