We can honestly say that the whole opportunity was a humbling one. The belt and trophy in hand I, Chase Feindel; Tyler Sybert, Alex Galloway, Jonny Garcia, Jesse Morquecho and Kirk Jones entered the Atlanta arena for a little worship. We entered the arena from side stage and sat one with the crowd. There we soaked in what would be the crowd we would be announced in front of.
Six young men became filled with unexplainable excitement as we looked around with chills down our back. We all took in the experience a different way, I openly expressed my excitement with squeals and small uncontrollable hops. Kirk was nearly silent quietly appreciating what an incredible opportunity God had provided. We listened to a few world-renowned speakers and participated in some incredible worship.
We were just an hour from "go time". The blood began to flow as we stepped back stage for our itinerary briefing. As we suited for our moment of glory, the anticipation was unspoken as we headed to our queue backstage. We waited as the 12-year-old Yodeler from Americas Got Talent did her thing. This gave us time for a short warm up and stretch session.
It was now our time, but the backstage ladies made sure I knew "not to leave until the music hits," and it did. Loud and clear and we hit the ground running. 10,000 fans clapping as we hit center stage.
The comedic hosts asked a few questions and we answered to small applause. Then he looked at me with a smirk on his face "You guys didn't know this but we are going to pass out dodgeballs to the first three rows and we are going to have you guys attempt to dodge them." I nodded my head and let him know it was game time. As I turned around and gave the guys the queue, the warm ups came off. In full uniform we set up and attempted to dodge 60 flying balls.
The first few balls came but to no avail, we put on a dodging clinic. From the famous Galloway spilt to the vintage Feindel/Jones back flip. And to top it off, we did a three-man drop down. Instantly, we gained the crowd's respect and cheers, but it wasn't until round 3 that we struck back.
I caught a ball from an unknown fan and fired it right back where it came from. The crowd exploded and now- it was on! It wasn't long till a sea of red balls filled the stage and dodging became secondary to protection. We struck first but the crowd had the last laugh.
We exited the stage after a short bow and walked off to a standing ovation. The 2006 NDL National Champs has been an honor and humbling to say the least. We now know that living life, as a champ is more than a victory but a representation of a great sport and a great corporation in the NDL. For that we say thank you, for the opportunity, the experience, and the birth of an incredible tradition that is Triple A Dodgeball!