As mentioned in the 2021 Half Year Update, the first quarter of 2021 was spent with a 90% focus on getting my company ready for mobilization. From June 2021 to late February of 2022, my deployment ran about as seamlessly as a Company Commander could hope for. We fulfilled our mission, and all of my Soldiers (except for the 11 psychos that wanted to extend) returned home safely.
I can write about it for days, but that is another life. Another blog.
Going into this mobilization, my Soldiers, and my mission would take all priority and Ballistae would take a back seat. Unfortunately, I made the decision that if it fell behind or away while I was gone, I would just have to commit to working that much harder to bring Ballistae back to where we were pre 2020. That was just a sacrifice I would need to make.
However, due to the selfless efforts and unending support of the community, Ballistae managed to stay afloat in between the periods in which I was not able to keep it up.
The following is a brief but very heartfelt and HUGE thank you to those that stepped up and showed me why Ballistae is here to stay:
Before I kick off the gush fest, I want to acknowledge Mark Acomb, for gearing up with Ballistae gear in hopes of getting some exposure during the airing of Discovery Channel's Dodgeball Thunderdome, in which, if you look at certain times, you will see the Ballistae logo on National Television.
You don't need to see it...but you know that's a Ballistae wristband right there...
This is me every time I see a Ballistae easter egg...
Even though I was still state side when this took place, I may as well have been in another country because the pre mobilization phase was really starting to pick up. I had just assumed Command, and I knew that my plate was going to be very full, but as long as efforts like Mark's continued, I would find a way to keep Ballistae going.
I had to.
Fast forward some months, and we are now in late May of 2021, when Vince Marchbanks took it upon himself to equip his team Faze Clan (a very famous eSports team) with Ballistae kneepads during the EPIC House of Highlights Showdown, a Dodgeball Tournament offering a $250,000 cash prize. While Vince' role was to coach the team, it was beyond flattering to know that he had our best interest in mind and wanted to support the brand that supports Dodgeball players by getting us even the slightest of exposure.
How cool is this?!
Knowing that these clips have racked up millions of views and that the team was equipped with Ballistae kneepads was a great psychological win for me.
Thank you, Vince.
I had this grand idea that Amazon would be able to fulfill all of my orders, and so MGst Kenneth Stover did me a huge solid and took about 1/5 of our inventory (at the time) and got them to Amazon so that I could point would be purchases to FBA.
Thank you, Kenny.
That lasted a good couple of weeks before I burned through all inventory sent to Amazon. Fortunately, I had a back up plan.
For the remaining months, one of my Army friends, CPT James Nelson would take the fulfillment of all orders...so if you unfortunately were the victim of an overly delayed order, or had any issues...please blame him lol. However, please note that for a small, small fee, he was our fulfillment service for a time (until April) and a big reason why Ballistae is still here to this day.
Thanks, Nelson. I owe you big.
As my deployment progressed, I was very fortunate to work with Regina Genoveva Badillo Vega (or Gii Gii Bave as well all know her) and the Lobos Club de Dodgeball to equip their team with kneepads, sleeves (coming very soon), and a SICK video (click here to watch) that really captures the athletic grittiness and intensity that we all want Dodgeball to be seen as.
Shameless plug: these mesh bags come free with each pair of kneepads. But also...watch the video...
Seeing our brand being repped by another team, in another country was huge and served as that nice reminder of our potential for growth, expansion, and of course, support.
Intermittently I would come across someone repping our brand even in their day to day life and all I can say is, Michael Davies, when the day comes and I can afford to pay influencers, I will be coming your way:
PAY THIS MAN
While this next shoutout isn't 100% about Dodgeball, I still want to shout out and show my appreciation for Nate Evans, an Arizona OG, teammate, former rival and great friend of mine that is actively sporting the Ballistae Headband wherever, and whenever he can, to include even while playing Tennis and showing me that we may one day branch outside of Dodgeball. One day.
Dodgeball first. But other sports...might be in the cards...
It is very cool and inspiring to see a member of the community take to Youtube to show current and potential players alike, the depth of Dodgeball via her channel: BryActive. This channel, hosted by two time World Champion (and all around bad ass) Bryanna London, takes on many topics regarding the sport, but has also taken an unbiased look at two of our products:
Other honorable mentions include:
- Alfred Kwan, who has subjected himself to be a kneepad tester, in hopes of helping us find that one all encompassing kneepad that will serve everyone, or find those who just don't quite feel the V1s or Sliders.
- Jen Woodlee, who without hesitation acted as a pack mule to help bring orders, FDC sleeves, AND our first foray with our new My Athlete Box to what I believe was the only tournament that took place in 2021.
Jen, if you're reading this, this is 100% for you.
- Sergio Leon, and Brett Kauble for helping me with customer inquiries, giving me someone to rap with late at night when I had a moment or two, and helping me stay focused and motivated to not only return to the Dodgeball scene, but ensure Ballistae takes the momentum we've generated over the years, and not lose it to a pandemic, or one of its members being deployed overseas...a recession...and apparently WWIII. Sheesh!
- Joe Fernandez, for helping kick off, fund, and maintain this incredible hobby now turned business and for offering feedback on what I hope will be the solid V2s we've been hoping for (2-3 more weeks)
Comparing another model prior to work. Atta boy Joe!
- Grace Song Burd, for being the ignition behind turning a simple idea into a legitimate business (there will be more blogs on this alone).
- Orlando "Hooch" Huicochea, or as I had to refer to him for the later part of a year, SSG Huicochea (Champion), for not only being an outstanding NCO, and fixing my generators, but also, despite my most stubborn attempts to not think of Ballistae, still found subtle ways to bring it up. Or not so subtle like beating some Ranger wannabes in a Dodgeball tournament.
Man, I am out of Dodgeball shape.
Jessie Soto, who dished out another awesome of piece of work, featuring myself and Hooch, former teammates on the court, and now in uniform:
Teammates on the court, and off...
Felix Perrone for working with Hephaestus' Forge Gaming and I on getting Dodge! A Tactical Dodgeball Game coming along, and for hours of laughter due to well...concept design...attempts
This literally killed me...
(on this topic, I do want to thank Joseph Chincarini for playing a paper walk through for us right before we left the states. Click here if you want to watch it unfold).
And last, but not least you. You, the reader. The player. The Dodgeball supporter. Whether you've sported our brand, or are just taking the time to read this, the Dodgeball Community has given me so much and truly helped me build a company that I hope is worthy of the sport, of the player, and of the community time and again.
So with that, I say thank you, from the bottom of my heart and I cannot wait to get back to "work."
Stay tuned for another actual update...soon.
PS - If you were not mentioned, I have copious notes of how you supported Ballistae and I will never forget. Stay tuned for an ambassadors page coming soon. ;)