Pub Sport Portal speaks to England dodgeball star and Dodgehub founder Brett Koenig
When you think about Dodgeball, you would be forgiven if your first thoughts were that of a 2004 comedy film with Ben Stiller and Vince Vaughn. To be honest, that was our first thought as well!
However, when we started to delve beneath the surface on our search for the Next Big Thing we actually discovered an extremely competitive and exciting sport with an incredible amount of potential.
Starting to get intrigued? Well why not hear from hear from a man who not only plays for the England Lions but also founded his own Dodgeball company, Brett Koenig.
Hi Brett, so where did your interest in dodgeball initially come from?
“I initially started playing at school in year eight in an ‘inter-form’ Dodgeball tournament. It was around two years later when I joined a local team, as my neighbour invited me along to give it a try!”
So exactly how popular is dodgeball at the moment in the UK?
“The sport as a whole is growing massively. Endorsed by Olympians such as Sir Steve Redgrave, the sport is rising at a great rate. New clubs are emerging everywhere at a great rate. At my University, in the first and second year we had to really drive hard for recruitment, but this year, people were seeking our club out and wanting to play Dodgeball. I can only see the sport growing; it is incredibly addictive, and requires a range of skills and is great for fitness.”
Playing for the England Lions must be a great honour, how did that come about and how proud are you to be involved?
“Absolutely, it is a real honour playing for your country. When you step out onto the court for England, it is a fantastic feeling; a completely new experience compared to playing at club level.
“After playing Dodgeball for a couple of years for my side, The Meteors, we progressed into a top ten national side. I went to England trials in 2011, aged 18, in the hope of making either the U19’s or full England side. I was delighted to have been selected for the full men’s side, and have since gone onto compete in Sweden and Italy, and most recently, Chester.
“2014 will see the England team head to Austria where we are hoping to win our fifth European title. I am extremely proud of getting into the side, and cementing my place as one of the starting six players, in an extremely talented squad.”
What was it that made you want to take your interest in Dodgeball one step further and create Dodgehub?
“I had been playing Dodgeball for around four years and I have such a great passion for the sport. It is truly an addictive sport to play, and along with three friends, we decided to set up a company to provide ‘everything Dodgeball.’ We had a range of goals we wanted to achieve and the sky is truly the limit.
“I am one of the four founders of Dodgehub, along with Simon, Chris and Alex. No one person is the ‘leader’ and we generally share the same views and ideas to move the company forward, and it is a delight to work with the other three partners. Our aim was to set up a website, printed products and eventually to be the place to come for anything to do with Dodgeball. After the successful launch of dodgehub.com and Dodge Mag, we are constantly striving to improve. We are delighted with how things are going but we acknowledge there is room for improvements. We have struck up a partnership deal with the Diamond Sporting Group and we have some great business relationships. The ‘Dodge Shop’ is the next item on our agenda, and we have many exciting ideas in the pipeline that we can’t wait to announce.”
How viable to do you think Dodgeball would be as a professional sport?
“It the moment it is tricky to say. Would I like to see Dodgeball as a professional sport? Absolutely. I truly believe the sports is just waiting to be discovered. All it lacks now is the public perception. The satirical Hollywood movie is fantastic and funny, but it promotes a few myths about the sport. Most people who start Dodgeball don’t realise how competitive and seriously it is played. I am all for both sides of the sport; a professional side and a fun, fancy dress style tournament side. Dodgeball is incredibly addictive, and I have never seen a sport where people get hooked so easily, and a big sponsor or more public access would kick start this journey perfectly.”
Finally, if you could envisage a dream scenario for the sport of dodgeball in the future, what would it be?
“Everyone of course looks to the Olympics as the ultimate dream scenario. Certainly in the long term, that is a great goal. But in the more realistic, shorter term scenario, I would love to see Dodgeball endorsed by a large sports company, or a household name sponsor. The chance to send the sport to thousands and for the public to appreciate it on a bigger scale would be fantastic. Furthermore, it would be great to see players paid to play (please) and train in full time complexes and so forth. Of course, seeing yourself on Sky Sports would also be great!”