Here's an absolutely scintillating topic that's being discussed on another forum. I have to preface it by saying that the participants are all over the age of 25, okay?
We've all played it. Stand in a circle, one or two in the middle have balls which they throw with intent to strike the circlees. You get hit, you're out. Or something like that. It's been a while.
Now there are two schools of thought to the dodgeball thing, as seen from the forum / adult perspective.
A) Many children are filled with trauma from this activity. Bigger kids tend to become violent in their pursuit of weaker players and throw the ball much too hard. Injuries can occur. Children who often lose in this game may carry feelings of inadequacy or victimization for years. Supervising adults often encourage the throwers by calling out "hit her, hit him!", which can also be psychologically damaging.
B) Dodgeball is an activity, a playground game. Bigger kids often win but it leaves a chance for a dexterious, quick child to win also. Kids see it as fun time, something to look forward to after several hours in the classroom. No one ever died from dodgeball injuries. Supervising adults understand the need for kids to let off steam by playing organized games.
You wouldn't believe the furor that this simple game has caused on the other forum (well, I believe it, since I go there a lot and it's a pretty wacky slice of the internet). A lot of the discussion is caused by the international troubles we are seeing right now, and the divisions among those pro or anti-war are pretty well matched by those pro or anti-dodgeball.
One fellow, whose internet handle suggests a shy but friendly fellow, has broken completely out of character in raging against the insanity of dodgeball, as he calls it. Something leads me to believe this dude got the crap whacked out him a couple of times and now is the time for holy war against those bullies who did it.
I got the crap whacked out of me too, and I moved on. Just how long can you afford to dwell on something that happened twenty, thirty, forty years ago? This is not a rape, or child abuse at the hands of an adult.
It's Dodgeball, for crying out loud.
If I interviewed my son on this subject I'm pretty sure what his opinion would be.
OF: Son, when you play dodgeball, do you have feelings of inadequacy or fear?
OF: I mean, did you ever wish to be counseled after a particularly tough dodgeball game in which you lost early on?
Ben: No, not really Pop. But I did wish I'd ducked a little faster.
OF: How do you feel about whipping a ball and hitting a kid smaller than you? Or a girl, for that matter?
Ben: Well, they'd do the same to me if they had the ball.
OF: But the pain son, the pain!
Ben: Oh that. From a soft rubber ball? You kidding?
I have a sneaky suspicion that most kids, who actually play the game, would serve up something similar to that. I don't think it's bravado, it's more like the reality of elementary school. Where well intentioned but totally clueless adults let their Psych 101 class run away with their common sense.
There's some precocious kid in fourth grade right now who's wondering, "That Mrs. Wilson is nuts. Always asking how I feel about stuff. Making me sit in that room with her talking and looking at those funny pictures and picking my brain. What a dweeb."
I've got a suggestion. How about we take all these 35 year old bedwetters out for a nice game of dodgeball. I get to be in the middle. Afterwards, we'll all go out for a nice beer and discuss our inadequacies at the watering hole with the A/C repair guy, the Pepsi route guy, the barmaid, the tax return gal.
Small wonder beer sales are up.
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