Local player finds herself in Germany for dodgeball tournament

Whether it was in phys-ed class or on the playground at school, almost every kid growing up played dodgeball.

In dodgeball, players attempt to eliminate their opposition by throwing a ball at a player, attempting to hit them and knock them from the game. The first team to eliminate all the players on the other side wins.

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It's fun, it's loud and a great way to burn off energy.

It's a hit at the Northern B.C. YMCA that even has its own league.

So when 22-year-old UNBC student Melissa Lasure called up the Canadian Dodgeball Association in July looking for some information about how to start a league on campus this fall, little did she know the conversation would lead her all the way to competing at an international tournament in Stadt Koln, Germany, in early August.

Lasure was the only girl from B.C. on the team - the Royal Canadian Screaming Beavers - a team that competed in the 120-squad two-day tournament, the Dodge Beach Cup. It was an outdoor tournament, played in the sand.

The 80-team men's division allows for two females and five males per team.

"I started out playing (dodgeball) at the YMCA and had less than 10 games under my belt," said Lasure, who's entering her fourth year as an international business student at UNBC. "It (competition in Germany) was pretty crazy. The only time I got hit was when someone hit me in the face.

"I learned a lot. Dodgeball is a game that's played by thousands of people. It's fun, there's a lot of teamwork and there's a spot for everyone on the team. It's a methodical game. You have five other people standing beside you and you could lose it all in an instance. The first team to lose all their players loses the game.

"It was all about being inclusive and not about the competition. It's about having an open atmosphere."

The Screaming Beavers won all of their round-robin games in their five-team division and advanced to a semifinal match, which they lost. They then played for third place and won that.

Games are comprised of five-minute periods, with the object of eliminating the other team's players.

When Lasure first made the call to the Canadian Dodgeball Association in Toronto, she was calling on behalf of UNBC's JDC West team, a group of undergraduate business students who compete against other universities in Western Canada in areas such as academics, debate, athletics and social.

Lasure joined UNBC's JDC West team in her first year of university when she moved to Prince George from North Vancouver. She's now the athletics captain and dodgeball is one of the sports that she oversees. (The other is floor ringette.) She was looking for some advice on how to get started this semester.

She wound up being asked to play for the Screaming Beavers.

Lasure, who spent the summer as an intern in the economic development division of Initiatives Prince George, added a new title to her growing resume, director of communications for the Canadian Dodgeball Association. She spent Labour Day weekend in Toronto's Metro Convention Centre promoting it at Fan Expo Canada.

Now an ambassador, she wants to grow the game in Prince George.

"We'll be practicing at the Northern Sport Centre at UNBC and it would be great to have intramural dodgeball teams," she said. "This is such a great stress reliever. I dream of every other week that we'll have a scrimmage and I want to try to make it a community event and play against each other. This is great motivation to get outside."

The University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon will host the JDC West competition in January, 2016.

Student tryouts at UNBC are Sept. 16-17. More information can be found online at www.unbcjdcwest.com

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