Feature Player is an opportunity to celebrate people who go above and beyond within dodgeball. This week our choice is of someone who unquestionably drives the sport forward with a proactive and determined attitude. Over time, her love and belief in the sport has only grown, and she inspires that in those around her. When on the court, she plays to top level as a major part within a team, and holds her own when the pressure is on.
We spoke to Kelly about a number of things, have a read:
So how did it begin, when and where did you start playing dodgeball?
I started playing dodgeball at the University of Winchester in 2011. My housemates dragged me along to the taster session exceptionally hungover and I was the only one that kept going! That was the first year Winchester had a lot of interest from women and developed the University’s first women’s team.
What is it about the sport that keeps you playing?
I love everything about the sport. I love the high paced and competitive nature, which means I can continually set myself goals which require me to challenge myself. I am continually striving to be the best I can be and for my team to achieve the best we can. I also love the friendly nature of the sport; I’ve met my best friends through the sport and continue to make new friends and meet fab new people all the time. There are people I’m close with and still see regularly from all the teams I’ve played on. My house at University was known as ‘dodgeball house’ because we were a group of friends who all met through the sport; needless to say we were the base for many socials.
If you had a dodgeball superpower, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to fly! You could never technically go out of bounds and fancy flips for dodges would become the norm.
What makes playing in Wessex Wolves special for you?
The Wolves was set up the year before I finished Uni by the people I was closest with, so it was an exciting move for me to make. Since joining I’ve invested a lot of time in developing the club to make it the best it can be and I love seeing the growth of all the players and teams. I love playing for the Wolves because I get to play with my friends at a high level. Everyone at the club is so friendly and has a great sense of humour which makes the time on court and off court incredibly enjoyable.
If you had a Kelly Bowen dodgeball theme tune, what would the song be?
That is a really tough question – I’m not much of a music aficionado. I would probably say (after quite some thinking) Under Pressure by Queen, because I think I play best when the atmosphere is really intense and there’s a lot riding on the game or situation.
What is your most memorable moment in the sport?
Again another tough question as I’ve got so many with so many different people. I think I’ll say the moment I won my first ever medal whilst on the Winchester Bullettes. It was the South Coast Open 2012 and we came second after beating Bedford Bulls in the semi and then losing to the Dodgettes in the final. It was an incredible day and I still remember our celebration afterwards and calling my mum at the end of the day to tell her what happened. You don’t forget the feeling of your first medal, just makes you want more!
What is your greatest achievement in dodgeball?
I’ve got a couple of particularly great medal achievements in national and international dodgeball which mean something special to me, but I think my greatest achievement is when the Wolves achieved promotion to the top level competition of the sport. We went the entire league season without losing a game and followed it by coming in the top 5 of the next league. It’s an achievement because it was hard fought, particularly against close competition Meteors, with a fun and supportive team, even if heated at times!
What is your belief for the future of dodgeball?
I believe this sport is going to continue to grow rapidly. It is such an accessible and enjoyable sport to play meaning it has a very high appeal. As a teacher, I see and hear about the high level of interest that children have in the sport and how many sport coaching companies are now offering it as part of their programme of study. If we continue to gain the interest of children and young people the sport will have a very successful future.
What are your aspirations for the first British Dodgeball season?
I can’t wait to see what this season brings. We’ve got a new line up with some new faces on the Wolves team so it will be exciting to see some new players develop and the new team develop cohesion and playing styles on court. I’m really excited about the first open the Wolves are playing in as it is bound to be a competitive, fun and well run event!