Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Did You Ever Think Dodgeball Could Be Worth $50,000?

If you are a certain age, the odds are great that you haven't given much, if any, thought to dodgeball since the 1st to 7th grade when you might have played it.  My younger sister and a friend my age both remarked on that.  My sister remembers that they played it inside the gym in bad weather - and Kansas City, Mo., could dole out bad weather with the best of them.  She also noted that the games were segregated - boys vs. boys.  She added that in spring, the boys played baseball; the girls played softball.  The dodgeball was smaller than a basketball, but made of soft rubber so no one got hurt.

Today, there is the Ultimate Dodgeball Championship, made up of winning teams across our great nation heading for a major confrontation in Chicago.  The prize is the championship and $50,000.

Dr. James Carlyle who brought it to Yale University in 1884 would be stunned.  He got it from a visit to Africa where he observed with great interest dodgeball between tribes for supremacy.  In today's world of suicide bombers, knife-wielding nut cases, a rousing game of dodgeball to settle something sounds downright pastoral.

There are only three rules - do not hit anyone with the ball.  Do not catch the ball.  Do not force an opponent out of the court.  If this sounds like a fun occupation, Target sells dodgeballs for from $9 to $20. 

Naturally, today the game has been banished from school fields and gyms because "some kids are not as athletic and can feel left out."   How athletic do you have to be fa chrissake?  Another reason it is banned is that it promotes "violence, exclusion and degradation." which would have sounded like tremendous good fun when I was a kid. 

And I wasn't considered particularly savage in high school when field hockey was the perfect game to bash hell out of your opponent's shins as pay back for slights and snubs.  All of us did it.  And we were all wearing shin guards so pretty much no harm, no foul. 

No this ban because a rousing game could hurt someone's feeeelings reminds me of a Rita Rudner tidbit - that she was an only child and therefore overprotected.  She said her tricycle had seven wheels - and a driver.

                                      Drones banned; helicopter parents welcome.


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