Words: James Whiting
Images: James Whiting
Nicole Chasin works in online media and data management from across Los Angeles, Houston and Paris all throughout the year. She is also the founding team captain of the Team USA womens dodgeball team, which sees her constantly traversing the globe to compete. On a recent trip to LA Good Sport met up with Nicole at Pan Pacific Park to talk life and sport as part of an ongoing series that profiles people who are pushing their professional practices as well as their involvement in sport.
Where did dodgeball start for you?
When I moved back to LA in 2008, my sister had signed me up to play kickball to help me make friends. I didn’t really like kickball though so my sister pointed me over to the basketball gym and she was like “Oh hey, they play dodgeball in there, maybe you’ll like that better..” That was in October 2009. I signed up two days later and have been obsessed ever since.
How does dodgeball connect to the rest of your life now?
It’s a huge part of my identity actually because of the fact that I’ve been doing this for so long. In 2011 the international scene really started to build. There was a group of us who flew over to New Zealand actually and we visited about 7 cities. There was a huge nation-wide tournament held by Speights, the beer. They were holding 7 regional competitions to build their national team to send to Vegas for the World Championships.
In 2011 I was the only female to go abroad. And in 2012 we started the first womens side, which I had a lot of help with, and I’ve been captain ever since.
I’m a big supporter of the growth of dodgeball… I’ve been there from day one.
What keeps you pushing?
I think the social aspect, and the growth. I’m a big supporter of the growth of dodgeball obviously, and every year the World Championships have more and more countries participate – and I’ve been there from day one. For me I’m vested in the growth of the international circuit.
If you could change one thing about the sport?
There’s a group of us that are really trying to standardise it, because there are a lot of different organisations that play with different rules and different balls. So the one thing that I’d really like to see across all of these organisations is unification, which we’re working towards. Hopefully it will happen sooner than later but that’s one thing – we have a lot of segregation because there is a lot of variation and some of the competitive players are set in one particular way. There’s lot of holes that we can fix. Also aside from Chicago there’s not a huge womens dodgeball scene in the Mid-West or on the East-Coast and in the South. So growth specifically for women in those regions is something I’m really working towards.
Where would you see dodgeball in 10 years time?
Hopefully in the Olympics! There’s quite a few of us trying to make it happen. We’re all taking some meetings to make dodgeball as competitive as possible and to have as much media exposure as possible. Handball, table tennis and badminton are in the olympics, why not dodgeball? It takes a village but we’ll get there.
Why do you think sport is so important to a community?
The aspect or feeling of family. That is the one thing that we promote so heavily in this community – we even have a hashtag #dodgeballfamily – and we can’t grow without the support of each other. And the support of each other is what makes people want to join the community, in whatever different level that may be. From industry night where it’s very, very social right up to the most competitive, where you just want to be the best and push it to the olympics. There a lot of relationships that can be built here through dodgeball, no matter what. For example, we’ve seen a lot of loss in the community as well. If someone gets injured or some kind of life issue or emergency comes up, through this community a Go Fund Me will pop up and within in a day we’ll have raised upwards of $10,000 to help someone out. And it’s because this community grows and it’s international, we get support from everywhere. It just transcends anything else.
The aim is to make dodgeball as competitive and have as much media coverage as possible.