2020 started off with such promise. With the early months breaking 2019 sales records, incredible footage and images from events passed to reinforce our brand, new feedback and ideas in the works, we stood poised to hit the Dodgeball community with more impact, better quality kneepads (V1.5s and V2s), products, and partnerships to really take Dodgeball to the next level.
Even kicked off a mini series breaking down epic moments in Dodgeball for the non familiar.
Yes, things were looking beyond optimistic. That was until the literal eve of launching our very first co-promotion with Ball Out Dodgeball and My Athlete Box, COVID-19 went from perceived media over hype of yet another disease to an actual, real life threat sweeping across the world and into our homes. Words such as quarantine, social distancing, and pandemic became staples of the household and were in every news report and virtually every social feed and it wasn't until long until we all started to see and feel the effects.
After just one round of the newly formed Premiere Tour from USADodgeball, Competitive Dodgeball as we knew it, was postponed. Recreational leagues soon followed and we all found ourselves in a world without Dodgeball.
While devastating to many, this feeling would be replaced with actual devastation and become the least of our worries. As the world seemingly flung itself further into chaos with the increase in racial tensions, riots, social and civil unrest, people losing jobs and loved ones to the pandemic, it became very clear to all of us just where our priorities lied, and unfortunately Dodgeball fell to the lowest rung.
While this post isn't meant to rehash the past, or reopen still fresh wounds, its to explain where Ballistae was in all of this especially when our last post was one of optimism and charging forward.
Ah, April. The first year of 2020...We were so young, naive, and full of hope then...
To be up front, Ballistae didn't truly go anywhere. Inventory was restocked, and the first version of the V2s (which are now dubbed V1.5s due to the manufacturer mishap) finally arrived in late August. We have legging prototypes on the way, new shirts, stickers, and even played with Facebook video ads.
Ah, April 30th...again...so...very, very painfully hopeful.
We even went so far as to dabble in hiring a 3rd party marketing platform to help with our social media presence, website overhaul, email distro list (that we used once), to help guide the sport into further legitimacy. (they sucked by the way and it was a few months until we were able to wrestle our assets back from them...exhausting)
Despite all of this however, the division that took place within the Dodgeball community, the loss of jobs, friendships, family and other serious issues that reared their ugly heads in the midst of COVID made it clear that Dodgeball was not on everyone's mind. Just getting through the year was all that mattered. It is with that in which we decided to take a backseat to current events as history continued to unfold before our very eyes. With the reminder of 2020 slowly creeping by, giving everyone a much needed break to focus on what matters most in life made the most sense.
One brilliant take away that we learned from 2020 is that the community is very resilient. From new podcasts such as The Women of Dodgeball, Drew and Crew being launched, to the accomplishments of the Ball Out Dodgeball Podcast to brand new endeavors such as Dylon X Cruz's Piece of Mind Podcast, our community found ways to express itself off the court just as well as on and during isolation. Throw in Brenda Kramer's refusal to let Covid detract her fitness endeavors as seen in continuous posts in her instagram: Body By Brenda, and Theme Song Thrown weekly events hosted by Tory Thompson and Markell Stokes as they tirelessly worked to keep the community together, each creation from the community has served as a faithful reminder that while Dodgeball has gone, the community has endured.
And so have we. It is with that sentiment that we will continue to operate behind the scenes, behind the noise and fall out that this year has created. We will continue to work on improving our company, our inventory, and perfecting our flagship products while slowly introducing new ones into the community while Dodgeball slowly adjusts and adapts to a post COVID world.
We will see you on the courts again someday. Until that day arrives, please be safe, take care of your loved ones, and remember that while dodgeball brought us together, it is through each other that we remain.
Happy New Year and here's to 2021!