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2017 New Year, New Me, New Bee

One year on from joining Manchester’s most friendly alternative sports club, Alexandra Charlton takes a look back at how she fulfilled her New Year’s resolution to get active and meet new people.

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2016 is nearly over. It’s been a whirlwind and the Manchester Bees have enjoyed lots and lots of dodgeball, community and social events throughout the year.

And I should know, because I held my first dodgeball in 2016. I threw my first throw, caught my first catch, buzzed through my first Bees’ social and helped out with my first Junior Dodgeball Tournament. I played in my first Open as a Queen Bee, and competed in my first Tournament as a Honey Bee. And then I did all those things a few more times. It’s been a great year.

Pre-2016, I was a normal-if-slightly-lazy, newish-to-Manchester young professional. This time last year, I made a new years’ resolution – or, thinking about it, I made two: to get more active and meet more people. When I decided to join dodgeball (and a quick Google search led me to the Bees), I killed two birds with one stone. Not literally of course, because bees are friends of nature.

In January, I started attending training sessions and met some of our coaches, who are the perfect balance of encouraging, experienced and passionate.

In April, I volunteered at the first ever Dodgeball World Cup, held here in Manchester, watching teams from around the world compete to become World Champions under the new 5-ball rules.

Me and fellow Bee Alice Heaney with Mark Croston of the UKDBA after a successful first ever Dodgeball World Cup!
Me and fellow Bee Alice Heaney with Mark Croston of the UKDBA at the end of a successful first ever Dodgeball World Cup!

In May, I played my first Open Tournament with the Queen Bees and my competitive nature really kicked in. If you’re interested in competition, there are literally leagues for that. If you’re more of a mellow, non-competitive sort, we run all-abilities training sessions on Tuesdays and have regular (bees) knees-ups at our socials.

Queen and Honey Bees' Squad Selfie with women's coach Alex Bembridge
Queen and Honey Bees’ Squad Selfie with women’s coach Alex Bembridge

One of the best choices I made in 2016 was joining the Bees. I got more active and made lots of friends in one simple step. Coming up in 2017, there is plenty to make you a busy bee: as well as regular training and socials, we’ll have the Bees’ summer league, Tour, and many other events. The 2017 European Championships will take place in Glasgow and, if previous international tournaments have anything to go by, there’ll be Player-Bees and cheer-bee-ders in attendance.

For anyone thinking about giving dodgeball a go, whether a novice or a seasoned player, our first 2017 all-comers session is 8-9.30pm on Tuesday, 10 January at Manchester Academy School, M14 4PX.

Come along and give it a go! From my experience, you won’t regret it.

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