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When the odds are against you, keep your thoughts to yourself.

By wiredog in News
Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 05:12:01 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

From yesterday's Salt Lake Tribune comes this story about school districts banning dodge ball, and the national campaign to do the same. The reason? "Dodge ball sends an inappropriately aggressive message to children. "

For those who didn't play dodge ball in grade school, the rules are that students are divided into two teams and face off to peg each other with rubber balls (about the size of soccer balls ,or footballs, if outside the US) until one side loses with the elimination of its final player. Today's Trib has a commentary from columnist Robert Kirby listing some of the life lessons he learned from dodge ball, as well as some of the other "unfair" things he was exposed to in school.


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In dodgeball I was
o 1. Picked first 1%
o 2. Picked last 10%
o 3. Hit first 1%
o 4. Hit last 14%
o 1 and 4 7%
o 2 and 3 20%
o Thinking about pretty girls 37%
o Thinking about pretty boys 6%

Votes: 77
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Salt Lake Tribune
o this story
o commentary
o Also by wiredog

Display: Sort:
When the odds are against you, keep your thoughts to yourself. | 82 comments (74 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
Hurrah! (4.00 / 7) (#5)
by MarkCC on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 10:22:14 AM EST

I'm all for getting dodgeball the hell out of the school. I have vivid memories of it: it was the most vicious, sadistic activity that occured in school, and it was not just condoned but actively encouraged.

I don't have a problem with kids playing games in school. And obviously, in any kind of athletic game, the athletic, coordinated kids are going to win. No problem.

Dodgeball is cruel. The whole point of the game is to hurt the other kids. The whole dimension of deliberately inflicting pain on other kids is an intrinsic part of the game.

When I look at the linked commentary what strikes me is not really the point that the author is trying to make. It's that kids were throwing a ball at his face hard enough to break a pair of glasses, and that this occured frequently.

Sorry. That kind of behavior doesn't belong in school. When I send my kid to school, I don't expect her to come home with broken glasses because some vicious son-of-a-bitch threw a ball as hard as he could at her face.

Enforce some discipline around it - prevent the sadistic side of the game where you deliberately hurt the other kids, and penalize kids who deliberately injure others, penalize kids who hit other kids in the face, and maybe it becomes acceptable. Except then, of course, all the fans of the game will be up in arms about how you ruined that fine childhood pastime.

as with everything, (3.66 / 3) (#7)
by Defect on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 10:35:49 AM EST

A couple assholes can ruin anything.

In fourth grade dodgeball was one of the ultimate games, and we'd start recruiting players in the morning, hours before the "main" recess. But we never hurt anyone. We had our own rules, if you hit someone in the head, you were out for 10 minutes, and well that was pretty much the only rule. The difference between my experience and apparently others, is that we only played with people who weren't idiots, if you find yourself playign with violent people, then by all means, stop playing with them! No one's forcing anyone to get their ass handed to them in a simple kid's game.

If there aren't enough people who want to play a "nice" game of dodgeball, then i guess that's life and the kids are going to need to find something else to do.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Actually that's the issue (4.00 / 2) (#9)
by Karmakaze on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 10:55:53 AM EST

No one's forcing anyone to get their ass handed to them in a simple kid's game.
That is the issue right there. When Dodgeball is part of the school curriculum, a mandatory part of gym class (as it was in my school), someone is, in fact, forcing the kids to be beaten on. You were talking about voluntary games at recess, which is not so much the problem people are discussing.

There are all sorts of games played by children at recess that would be an order of magnitude worse if they were mandated by the teachers and curriculum. "Who Can Make the Unpopular Kid Cry", for example, is extremely popular, particularly among girls, but you wouldn't want an authority figure sponsoring it. Then there's "Who Can Jump The Farthest From the Most Dangerously High Rung on the Jungle Gym", which is a lawsuit waiting to happen (but also a lot of fun).

[ Parent ]

the point still stands regardless of my anecdote. (4.00 / 2) (#35)
by Defect on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 12:31:28 PM EST

That the jerks or other people who ruin the games should be removed or otherwise punished for being violent. Why ruin some people's fun just because a couple of people are being rough?
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
Re: Why ruin some peoples' fun? (2.00 / 1) (#39)
by MarkCC on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:25:35 PM EST

The problem is that the viciousness and sadism of the game are not just condoned, but actively encouraged by the very people who should be responsible for preventing them.

Put yourself in the shoes of the school board. You've got kids getting injured in this game, and parents threatening lawsuits because kids were injured by sadistic behavior as a part of a condoned school activity.

If you allow the activity to continue, even with new rules in place, and kids continue to get hurt, your school budget is in jeapoardy. And the people who will be expected to enforce the new rules are the very same people who encouraged the sadistic behavior to begin with.

What would you do?

[ Parent ]

hate the instructor, not the game. (4.50 / 2) (#45)
by Defect on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 02:01:54 PM EST

The problem is that the viciousness and sadism of the game are not just condoned, but actively encouraged by the very people who should be responsible for preventing them.

This is more a problem of the teachers, not the game itself. I also played dodge ball in gym and i loved it. We used soft, cushioney rubber balls, and the only time people got hurt was when every once in a while a ball would ricochet into someone's face. Hell, i received a bloody nose several times and still kept at it. The game is not inherently violent, but at times, generally by accident, it can be dangerous.

But what in physical education isn't dangerous? I could die of an asthma attack running if my teacher pushed me too hard. I could get an eye out in badminton with a "well" aimed shot from my opponent. The only danger in dodge ball comes from irresponsible teachers.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
[ Parent ]
You know the old saying... (5.00 / 1) (#56)
by error 404 on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 06:14:01 PM EST

Those that can, do.
Those that can't, teach.
Those that can't teach, teach gym.

I had a few great P.E. teachers. But most of them were bottom-of-the-barrel if not outright sadistic. The classes were huge, the supervision minimal. P.E. is not a high priority.

The school board had two choices: get enough high-quality gym teachers to supervise dodgeball correctly, or move to games with less potential for violence. Guess which is cheaper?

Electrical banana is bound to be the very next phase
- Donovan

[ Parent ]

The problem is... is it voluntary? (2.00 / 1) (#37)
by MarkCC on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:19:57 PM EST

The problem with what you're saying is that you're assuming that it's a voluntary activity.

First, it often isn't. In many schools, it's one of the official activities in gym class, and kids have no choice but to participate.

Second, even when it's voluntary, there need to be enforced rules about acceptable behavior. Whether or not it's voluntary, it is simply not acceptable to hit another kid in the face with a ball; it is not acceptable to throw a ball as hard as possible in order to hurt another child.

Make it voluntary, and rule out the sadism inherent in the game as most kids play it, and it's fine. But as it exists in a heck of lot of american school, it's nothing more than officially condoned violence and sadism masked in the guise of a game.

[ Parent ]

solution? (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by _Quinn on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 10:37:57 AM EST

   I went to a Quaker high school (I know, not exactly the age group we're talking about), where the rule was very simple: if you hit someone on the head, you were out, and they were in. It's a good solution, since it takes place in the context of the game. The other thing you need to do is make sure you're keeping the players within a decent range of ages. Of course, it was a Quaker high school, so we might not have had a problem with violent dodgeball for another reason... :)

Reality Maintenance Group, Silver City Construction Co., Ltd.
[ Parent ]
Traumatic memories of dodgeball (3.33 / 3) (#13)
by starbreeze on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:05:32 AM EST

Man, I completely agree... all it is is the girls hiding in the corners, and the boys whipping the balls at the most vulnerable kids. I broke my nose more times in elementary gym class than I care to remember. In fact, it shattered my bones so bad I had to have plastic surgery.

And even tho the rules were no throwing the ball above the shoulders... it happened. And all the coach did was say "hey, settle down" and then he went back to whatever the hell else he was doing.

It's traumatic...


"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor
[ Parent ]

Schools should not organise violent games (4.00 / 4) (#10)
by keyeto on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 10:57:26 AM EST

I'm from the UK, so never had the dodgeball experience. I'm glad.

Hitting people is violence, pure and simple. It doesn't make any difference if the implement you hit somebody with is a fist, rock, cricket bat, or even a football. When a school organises a game, then the pupils are forced to play it. Forcing children to be violent towards one other can only give them the message that violent behaviour is okay. This explains an awful lot about the unpleasant nature of US school culture, the education system builds it in from the very beginning.

Even sports like wrestling are not about violence. Physical contact and phyical strength, sure, but not hitting people.

However, I can easily see it's not quite that simple. When I was a kid, I really enjoyed British Bulldog, which is horribly violent, and has been banned by many UK schools. A quick description of the game is that you break up into two equally sized teams. One team has to run from one end of a playing field to the other. The other team has to stop them, using whatever means necessary. The teams take turns doing the running and stopping. Violent, yes, but at least it was organised by the pupils, and not an ordinary part of education.

"This is the Space Age, and we are Here To Go"
William S. Burroughs
Wrestling (anecdote) (4.00 / 1) (#48)
by Kugyou on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 02:51:30 PM EST

As far as violence goes, if there is an organized sport being utilized in its application, with referrees and punishments, then I don't have too much of a problem. A guy gets a bloody nose from something someone did against the rules? Throw them out of the game. But when it comes to school activities, it's often not a sport, but a diversion. Put the kids off to the side so they can play whatever and go back to reading Playboy. Allow me to share an anecdote:

Back in middle school, it was decided that the seventh grade boys would learn how to wrestle, varsity-style. So we got out the mats, had a class's worth of instruction, seperated into weight classes, and prepared brackets for the next day. What happened next involved more angry parents than I have seen in my life (aside from a recent racial academic profiling case at another nearby middle school). All the kids on the local High School's Junior Junior Varsity wrestling squad (the one they had set up for recruiting middle schoolers) show up to class in their equipment - pads, helmet, proper protection. Those of us who did not participate in organized wrestling activities were informed that we would *not* be given safety equipment, and that we didn't need it. The teacher then reiterated the rules and left the gym for the remainder of the class. In my weight division alone - and we only had one of the JJV wrestlers - two kids were bodyslammed, one given a groin pull, and one given a groin pull followed by a sharp blow to his genitalia. All perpetrated by the kid from the JJV squad. The one the teacher had told to be 'in charge', and make sure all the rules were followed.

Okay, why did Kugyou just say that? To illustrate my point. When you have an authority figure saying what goes and what doesn't, kids will "play nice". When the teacher is more interested in God-Knows-What than in ensuring the safety of the children whose lives are literally in their hands for an hour a day, then it's no longer a sport - it's free-for-all, and the strongest and fastest will win, by hurting as many others as possible.

A side note: In the commentary linked to in the article, this is somehow referred to as a proper lesson for someone to learn - that it's better to be the first to run away and let the big guys win. And people wonder why we want to take competitive sports out of required curriculum.

Dust in the wind bores holes in mountains
[ Parent ]
Wrestling and violence. (4.00 / 1) (#51)
by claudius on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 03:15:20 PM EST

Even sports like wrestling are not about violence. Physical contact and phyical strength, sure, but not hitting people.

Using "aggression" as your operational definition of "violence," let me state for the record, having done a bit of wrestling myself, that wrestling, like every other contact sport, is violent. Wrestling is 98% about exerting as much pain on your opponent as possible while enduring the best he can do to you. (The remaining 2% is about looking good out there on the mat). If you can do this, then you can score points. If you cannot, then you had better hope to be pinned quickly to get the ordeal over with.

A leitmotif of wrestling is taking a sharp and hard portion of your body, like a knuckle, chin, or elbow, and grinding it into a soft, fleshy part of your opponent's body with alot of nerves, e.g. his tricep, the small of his back, the spot on his shoulder between his medial and posterier delt, etc. This is done while trying to get the opponent in a position where you can throw or slam him into the mat so that he lands in an awkward and painful position. Swatting people isn't permitted (you lose points if you try it), and so people do their violence discretely wherever possible. Bone breaks and joint tears are not uncommon in wrestling. The violence that you identify in other sports is perhaps more covert, but make no mistake--it's there.

[ Parent ]
Oh, okay (none / 0) (#81)
by keyeto on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 10:35:13 AM EST

In fairness, I was using "hitting people" as my operational definition of "violence". That aside, discrete violence in a sporting context is, to come across as comedy British, damn unsporting. It's not supposed to have this kind of violence, but poor sportmanship is unfortunatly very common.

Incidentally, I chose wrestling as an example, due to a karate instructor friend. He has mentioned that you're supposed to pull the punches in competitions to avoid hospitalising your opponent. He has also complained about training people new to the karate, since they don't defend themselves properly by keeping their arms up in front of their upper body. If somebody is consistently getting hit, then the only way to teach them to do the defence properly is, to quote, "bop 'em one real hard, then they'll fucken' learn". I was wondering if this sort of training turns up in wrestling too, and just how much of a grey area there is.

"This is the Space Age, and we are Here To Go"
William S. Burroughs
[ Parent ]
WTH? (4.14 / 7) (#11)
by kostya on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 10:59:23 AM EST

What's wrong with you people? Ban dodge ball? Are you insane?

As I remember it, dodge ball was the only thing we looked forward to in Gym class. And perhaps I am the only geek here who can say this, but I was pretty darn good at it! Maybe the rest of you hated it because you got ganged up on? But I remember that dodgeball was the great equalizer: sure some jock could throw hard at you, but if you caught the ball, then he was out. If you got good at dodging and catching, you could actually take more people out than the throwers! But then maybe other people didn't play that version?

As for ganged up on, I think I have the ultimate story of "unfairness": North versus South. I went to school in Atlanta (South) for two years, and I grew up in Ohio (North). One day the kids clamoured for North versus South, and the gym teacher allowed it. The problem was that there was only four kids from the North. 20 versus 4.

Of course, three of the best dodge ballers were "Yanks". We lost, but it was down to 4 versus 1. Darn, rebels. It bugged me losing, but it also gave me great satisfaction that they barely beat 4 of us :-) (Other lesson learned that day: the south, particular Atlanta, will never forgive being burnt to the ground)

But then I guess I'm the only barbarian geek hybrid here who actually enjoyed dodgeball. It was the only thing I looked forward to in gym. I sucked at everything else :-)

Veritas otium parit. --Terence
I loved dodgeball, and I was a geeky as they come (3.66 / 3) (#28)
by georgeha on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 12:04:00 PM EST

heck, my biggest triumph in elementary school was winning dodge ball once.

I was small and agile, and could duck balls thrown at me. And one time, I was able to throw the last member of the other team out, victory!

[ Parent ]
I'm with you (none / 0) (#67)
by a humble lich on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:04:08 PM EST

Dogde ball was one of the few games I was good at. I may not have been able to thown balls, or catch them, or hit them with bats, or kick them, or hit them over a net, or do many of the other things we had to in PE, but I had a small enough cross-section that I could play dodge ball.

[ Parent ]
Bunch of wussies (3.50 / 4) (#14)
by 0xdeadbeef on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:09:35 AM EST

Come on, dodgeball is the one game where being small and agile is the highest advantage. In what other game can you taunt the big stupid jocks to hit you, and when you catch the ball, turn around and smear them in the face! God, I loved that game. If you can't take the heat, then don't play.

Much better than team dodgeball was the "survior" variant that I played as a kid. You start with two throwers on each side, usually the winner and runner-up of the last game, and they pick people off one-by-one. Each person out also becomes a thrower, so by the end, it's you against everyone!

Gym class vs Recess (2.00 / 2) (#15)
by starbreeze on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:13:51 AM EST

I think a lot of people are missing the point that for many kids, this was a required activity in gym class (Which I dreaded). Sure, if it's at recess, you don't have to participate. But gym is required.

"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor

Hell Yes! (4.22 / 9) (#16)
by slick willie on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:14:06 AM EST

By all means, I think we should get rid of dodgeball. It just isn't safe.

While we're at it, let's lose baseball. After all, we're basically throwing a ball as hard as we can toward the batter, who then tries to hit it back at us with a big wooden stick.

Next on the list: Soccer (or football, if you prefer). If I only had a nickel for each time I got kicked in the shins. What if that had been my groin? Or if I was playing goalie and took one right in the mouth? After all, in soccer, they encourage the use of your head to hit the ball.

Hmmm...definitely football (American). I don't even want to go into the brutish and Neanderthal nature of that.

Let's see, what else? How about Red Rover? When we played Red Rover, no one wanted to send Willie right over, and that hurt my feelings. That's got to go.

Fortunately, we've already 86'ed chasing girls (or boys) around the playground to kiss them, as that constitutes sexual harassment. I can't tell you how heavily that weighed on my mind.

The issue isn't the game itself, it's poor supervision, plain and simple. When I was a kid, if you hit someone in the head (on accident), you were out. If you did it on purpose, you went to visit the principal. Not only that, but playing Dodge Ball on the playground, outside of PE, got everyone involved in trouble.

If we let our kids grow up in an environment where everything is perfect, and no one gets hurt or their feelings hurt, they are going to be ill-prepared for life.

Would I be angry if my kid came home with broken glasses due to dodge ball? Damn straight, and I'll march right down to the school and make sure that whoever threw the ball pays for repairs on the glasses. If I can't get that name, then the supervising teacher will pay for them. The magic words are responsibility and accountability.

If you leave kids to their own devices, they can turn any game into an exercise in cruelty.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

Baseball (none / 0) (#72)
by jordanb on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 05:42:13 PM EST

While we're at it, let's lose baseball. After all, we're basically throwing a ball as hard as we can toward the batter, who then tries to hit it back at us with a big wooden stick.

Actually, when I was a child, baseball was the aggressive game of choice. If a pitcher beans a batter in the eye (me) because he's slow and geeky, the batter gets to walk to first base, where he can sit there and nurse his wound and splitting headache while the first baseman jeers at him while exchanging smiles with the pitcher.

Jordan Bettis
[ Parent ]
What's wrong with agression!? (4.40 / 5) (#17)
by tnt on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:17:57 AM EST

I've always known the game as bombardment, but maybe that's the Canadian name for it. I've always loved the game! It was one of my favorite activities in PE. I even played it in the (optional) lunch-time games we had.

I really don't understand what's wrong with agression. Agression and violence are not the same thing! Agression can make you compete harder -- be more competative. Agression can make you work harder. Agression can make you fight harder. Agression can make you play harder. Agression can make you think harder. (Agression can be a very strong driving force.)

I can understand making it optional for kids to play it or not. But don't ban it. If you ban it, you might be helping out the unathletic kids, but you are hurting all the athletic kids who do want to play it. (And I'm not saying this as flaimbait, I am serious. The wants and needs of the athletic kids shouldn't be ignored. Making the game optional to play [and not banning it] would satisfy the wants and needs of both groups of kids.)

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

Yes, bombardment. (none / 0) (#66)
by Otter on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 01:07:35 PM EST

In my childhood (Connecticut), this game was called bombardment. Dodgeball is something different - I forget the fine points but it involves the throwers standing in a circle around a target.

NASPE has gone so far as to put dodge ball on its "Physical Education Hall of Shame" -- along with such offenders as kickball, Red Rover, Simon Says, tag and musical chairs

I'm definitely pro-sports. I just put my hockey stick away for the summer and am awaiting the start of the softball season. But bombardment, or whatever you call it, always struck me as a nasty game. Throwing an object as hard as you can at someone else is a long way from even football or hockey. And then when you add the usual stew of junior-high school aggression, bullying and feuds, I've seen it turn really ugly.

To me the most interesting question is: who the hell would join the National Amateur Dodge Ball Association?

[ Parent ]

Hockey (none / 0) (#78)
by tnt on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 11:23:07 AM EST

You said:

I just put my hockey stick away for the summer and am awaiting the start of the softball season.

I keep my hockey stick stays out during the summer. (And every other time the weather is decent.) But I usually play roller-hockey (and not ice hockey).

Roller-hockey... there's a game I guess they could complain about... at least the way we play it anyways. Full contact and no pads (... except for the goalies).

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

[ Parent ]
Dodge this... (4.33 / 9) (#18)
by horslin on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:19:55 AM EST

This idea is absurd. Team sports don't send out "an inappropriately aggressive message", a team sport encourages participation and co-operation, and hand eye co-ordination.

The idea of a playground where students can't get hurt at all is also absurd. If children grow up in a sheltered existence, they won't have the skills to survive in the "real world". As much as we may want to, we can't shelter our children completely. To do so would show a complete lack of faith in our parenting skills. If little timmy gets scraped playing sports, he'll probably be better off in the long run.

If there is concern about children getting injured at school, a serious investigation of the reality of bullying should be conducted. This idea seems like another example of the administration of turning a blind eye towards the more serious problem of bullies.
"To be born a gentleman is an accident. To die one, an achievement."

Safety issues (3.00 / 2) (#20)
by starbreeze on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:24:38 AM EST

Yes but there's still the idea of some semblence of safety. When I was a kid, our playground has concrete under everything. After I cracked my skull open falling off the monkey bars, I think they wised up because now most playground have wood chips or that rubbery track.

Gym coaches looking away when the more violent kids whip balls at the more timid kids is irresponsible...

Making sure kids are safe and sheltering them are two different things.

"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor
[ Parent ]

Bingo (2.66 / 3) (#22)
by slick willie on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:39:44 AM EST

Gym coaches looking away when the more violent kids whip balls at the more timid kids is irresponsible...
Precisely the point I made, yet you modded me a 2.
Making sure kids are safe and sheltering them are two different things.
Precisely, which is why banning dodge ball, or anything other activity accomplishes nothing at all. It boils down to two words: responsibility and accountability.

"...there is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
--Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address

[ Parent ]
Perhaps I misunderstood the intent of your post... (none / 0) (#25)
by starbreeze on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:45:14 AM EST

Perhaps I misunderstood the intent of your post...

"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor
[ Parent ]

Good for them. (3.00 / 2) (#19)
by bsdave on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:20:30 AM EST

Over here in Australia, instead of dodge ball in primary school we have to play Rugby League in high school.

Full contact rugby is EXTREMELY painful, EXTREMELY tiring and EXTREMELY itchy (especially if your school oval has the same grass as ours). It sucks, because I'm tall and lanky (180cm, 70 kilos) and get hammered pretty bad, not picked on or anything, but still injured. And we're forced to play.

Of course, I get around it by not bringing my gym gear to class alot so that I wasn't allowed to play, but it means I get detention and on my report this term I received;

Physical Education - Skills: Inconsistant   Attitude: Poor   Overall: Unsatisfactory

I guess I won't be able to get into the Computer Science course at the University of Western Australia anymore. An Unsatisfactory in PE?! ;)

rugby (none / 0) (#64)
by wiredog on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 09:54:09 AM EST

When I was in High School (Langley HS in Virginia, USA) I friends in the rugby club. They had more minor injuries (black eyes, bloody noses, other bumps and bruises) than the football team, but fewer broken bones. Apparently that's true, in general, for rugby vs football across the country. Seems that people who wear protective gear hit harder than those who don't, and thus suffer/cause more serious injuries.

The idea of a global village is wrong, it's more like a gazillion pub bars.
[ Parent ]

school sports (3.80 / 5) (#21)
by Seumas on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:36:45 AM EST

Okay. This makes a lot of sense...?

Ban dodgeball, but not football, volleyball, basketball, soccer, discus, track and field or any of the other school sports? Football is certainly a contact sport and the weak won't survive in it. Even in non-contact sports, you'll be weeded out if you are not quick or accurate or powerful. Why is dodge-ball so unique? Hell, if anything, more (as in weaker, slower, etc) people can play dodge-ball than many of the other sports.

I guess the next step is to discontinue the practice of try-outs for school sports, because those who suck will have their feelings hurt when they don't make the team. Then they'll stop requiring you to actually make a touch-down or a field-goal in football and basketball to make a score. In fact, there won't be any scoring. And at the end of the game, both teams will ralley around the center of the playing field and sing "I'm okay, you're okay".

I knew there were a lot of pussies when I was in school, but now they seem to be running the place.
I just read K5 for the articles.

Other contact sports require safety equipment (none / 0) (#23)
by starbreeze on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:41:57 AM EST

Contact football requires wearing padding and helmets, volleyball isn't typically involving too much tackling, ditto for basketball. Soccer requires wearing shin pads, etc. In gym class we only played flag football because contact football was too dangerous for people who didn't know what they were doing.

Enough with the sarcasm... volleyball can be very dangerous and unsafe.

"There's something strangely musical about noise." ~Trent Reznor
[ Parent ]

But... (5.00 / 1) (#26)
by tnt on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:51:30 AM EST

But in Rugby, Hockey, and Wrestling you didn't wear any safety equipment, and all were `full contact'. And in PE class we never had safety equipment for Soccer.

Also, in PE, without the use of safety equipment, whoever wanted to, was allowed to play full contact football... which I always chose to play.

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

[ Parent ]
agression (none / 0) (#53)
by Seumas on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 05:05:53 PM EST

The issue isn't whether you'll get hurt though. It's that it encourages agression. And since anything male-oriented (such as testosterone) is taboo these days, being aggressive is an evil word.

The problem isn't that you'll get hit with a soft bouncy red ball. The problem is that after it happens, you might feel bad and you'll lose your self-esteem because someone else was agressive and you couldn't dodge your fat ass fast enough.

Of course, this has been going on in the academic arena for ages. Remember when you used to get whatever grade you actually earned? Now you are given "bounces" in your grading points if you're a girl or if you come from a specific ethnic background or if you come from a bad family. Hell, you can even get away with calling 2+2 22, because if we tell you that's wrong, it might make you feel bad about yourself.
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]

So why not use football gear? (none / 0) (#61)
by pin0cchio on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 02:48:58 AM EST

Contact football requires wearing padding and helmets

So why not suit up dodgeball players in padding and helmets?

[ Parent ]
because (none / 0) (#62)
by eudas on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 07:25:02 AM EST

'cause it makes 'em too slow to dodge anything?

"We're placing this wood in your ass for the good of the world" -- mrgoat
[ Parent ]
Dodgeball Sucks! (4.16 / 6) (#27)
by Blarney on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:57:38 AM EST

C'mon, do all you guys really love dodgeball so much? I hated the game. If I ever have kids, they will be encouraged to go and hide in the weight room like I did. This was an option at my high school, and I learned to take advantage of it.

Why did it suck? Because it involved going out there and having a volleyball chucked into my face as hard as possible! The instructor was well known for breaking the noses of people who had irritated him during games of dodgeball.

Also, it sucked that I wore glasses. Not the modern flexframe wires I wear now, but ugly-ass plastic frames - these were cheap, and my parents were NOT about to spend serious money on me. They were fragile, and if they broke, they'd be repaired with big blobs of glue and shit and I'd be stuck with them for a year or even more. Gives you a wonderful choice in gym, right? Either go out with glasses and have them broken, have to wear badly repaired glasses for the next year..... Or go out there blind, fling the ball around wildly, and get hit without being able to see anything coming.

That's fun? That's constructive? You people must be sick.

So all other sports? (4.00 / 2) (#36)
by compmajor on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:04:37 PM EST

So following that same line of thinking, should we ban soccer as well? After all, you can slide into people, and have a big chance of getting hit in the face w/the ball... you can even use your head to hit the ball. Same thing with hockey. I had my jaw & nose broken in gym hockey, so why should dodgeball get such attention? The problem is with the instructors & rules, or to give the kids an option of doing something else, not with the game itself.

[ Parent ]
Intent matters (2.00 / 1) (#41)
by Blarney on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:34:10 PM EST

I didn't mind soccer. In soccer, the goal is to kick the ball into the net. Were the goal of soccer to smash the ball into somebody's face, I'd probably not want to play soccer either.

Accidents happen, no matter what.

[ Parent ]

I think it all has to do with the kind of ball. (none / 0) (#71)
by jordanb on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 05:36:02 PM EST

I've noticed that there tend to be two types of balls used, vollyballs, and nurf or rubber balls. When I was in elementry school, we used rubber balls, and there was teacher supervision. You could not hurt someone with these balls. A ball to the face against my glasses didn't even hurt much.

I loved dodge ball, because I got to play. Sure, I sucked, but so did players on the other team. The sucky players could worry about eachother, while the good players would try to stay in the game long enough so they could play against eachother after we had all gotten eachother out.

There is no reason to play with vollyballs, except as in your case, where the instructer was using dodge ball as an excuse to hurt kids.

Just remember, any game could become an issue with too much aggression, but dodge ball can be a great game with proper equipment and supervision.

Jordan Bettis
[ Parent ]
What is this "team sport" business? (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by elenchos on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 12:11:30 PM EST

There are some here who describe dodge ball as being a cutthroat "Survivor"-like individualist game, which is what I remember playing for years in school, and some others who are calling it a team sport, and implying that you somehow cooperate to win. I've never heard of dodge ball played like that. How does it work? What are the rules? How many schools had the team version versus the every-man-for-himself kind?

I think it is somewhat relavent. Team sports can be a good learning experience, although in practice they are usually not, because of the incompotnece and selfishness of the adults involved. But what do you learn from dodge ball, other than to be a rat in a rat race?


Teams in Dodgeball (4.00 / 3) (#32)
by tnt on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 12:20:47 PM EST

When I played Dodgeball/Bombardment in school, there was team work... besides there being the two teams.

The best throwers would cooperate in `taking-out' players on the other team. And before anyone says that we'd go after the weakest kids,... we wouldn't. The worst players we could take out at any time. We'd cooperate to take out the best players on the other team.

We'd have to get in the correct place, and angle to accomplish this. Usually maintain a line-of-sight. Have timing, and communicate with each other to get the job done.

Alot of the strategies we used were complicated, and involved alot of teamwork.

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

[ Parent ]
the rules (4.00 / 1) (#42)
by hardburn on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:41:29 PM EST

Just divide up into two teams. Pick some sort of center line on the floor that marks a boundry between the teams. No one is allowed to cross that line. There are usualy about 15-25 balls to be thrown around. Sometimes, the balls are distributed to random players at the beggining of the game. More often, the balls are set up on the center line in a row, with each team against the walls at the edge of the playing area. When a whistle is blown, the two teams charge forward to get the balls. If you were one of the people to charge forward, you might get taken out quickly by those who ran up on the other team, so a good stratigy if you weren't good at such close-in dodgeing might be to just hang back and wait for the balls to get thrown around normaly. Depending on the gym teacher's rules, you are able to get back into the game if the person who got you out was hit out. Also, if you catch a ball, then the person who threw it is out.

One of my favorite variants was to set up a series of bowling pins on each side. The first side to get all their pins knocked down lost.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

[ Parent ]
Thanks. News to me. (none / 0) (#55)
by elenchos on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 05:42:52 PM EST

The only kind we ever played, from about 3rd grade to 10th was every man for himself. Everyone more or less in a random crowd (well, pressed up against the walls) looking around for a stray ball to pick up and nail someone with, and avoiding getting hit. In other words, there is only one winner and 29 losers.

The team version you describe isn't all that different from other team sports, in its advantages and disadvantages. I think the elimination part is the big defect in this game, even on those occasions when it is not played in an overly dangerous way. Once you are eliminated, you stand around watching.

So is there some shortage of gym activities for kids that makes it necessary to settle for dodge ball? I suspect there are alternatives that have are beneficial for everyone involved.

[ Parent ]

Eliminated? (none / 0) (#58)
by Captain Derivative on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 11:31:13 PM EST

In the variation of dodgeball/bombardment we played in grade school, elimination wasn't the end. If someone caught a ball, the person who threw it would go out and someone who had been eliminated on the catcher's team got to go back in.

That way, even if one side lost a lot of people, if those remaining just caught a lot of balls, they could bring their teammates back in. It also keeps those eliminated interested in the game -- they'd usually cheer for their teammates as they waited to be brought back in.

Man do I miss playing bombardment. Heh, it's one of the relatively few things about grade school I miss.

Hey! Why aren't you all dead yet?! Oh, that's right, it's only Tuesday. -- Zorak

[ Parent ]
There are two kinds of people in the world. (none / 0) (#59)
by elenchos on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 12:02:45 AM EST

Those who played vicious, cutthroat, desperate loner, you-suck-you-pathetic-loser dodge ball and those who played the kind and gentle, constructive team-effort kind of dodge ball. Might as well compare apples to organges.

[ Parent ]

Another Variant (none / 0) (#75)
by makaera on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 10:19:16 PM EST

The way it was played at my school was like this. There were two teams on both sides of a dividing line. Each team started with the same number of balls (soft rubber balls). If a player was hit, they had to go to "jail" which was an area behind the opposing team that with clearly marked boundaries. The interesting parts to the rules were that if a player threw the ball and an opponent caught it, that player had to go to jail, and the opponents could pick a player to let out of jail. Futhermore, if a ball rolled (or was tossed into) jail, the prisoners could throw it at the opponents. This meant that each team had to be careful not to let any balls get past or they could get attacked from behind. Sometimes teams would deliberately lob the ball over into the jail where their teammates could attack the opponents from behind, causing chaos. This added a very interesting dimension to the game.


"Ninety rounds in there," Joel Andrews said. "If you can't take it down with 90 rounds, you better turn in your badge!" -- from Washington Post
[ Parent ]

yay dodgeball (4.33 / 6) (#30)
by tokage on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 12:15:41 PM EST

This is actually one of the few activities I remember as being "fun" in school. I was somewhat of an outcast, really skinny, but surprisingly good at sports and such. I didn't get to try out for any teams, because my mom's religion didn't condone it, but that's another story.

Dodgeball could be cruel, yes. It could turn into a sport where children singled out other children to a certain extent. It was also a game of strategy and teamwork. No team wants to lose, if you're getting tagged often you'll be kept more towards the back. There is also the strategy aspect of you getting tagged, going behind enemy lines, then someone on your team managing to send you a ball so you can tag one of their players. Most schools I've heard of play where you have to keep your throws low(which obviously can be painful sometimes in itself). It's also generally played with soft rubber balls. The game itself eventually comes down to just a few more agile players, which a few times was me, being skinny and fast. Those are a few of my more pleasant memories of elementary schools, children on both sides watching just a few of us dodging balls from all directions, your teammates cheering you. Score one for dodgeball doing good things, anyway.

Getting back to the aspect of children taunting others, that has always been a problem. Some children have and always will be singled out and picked on. Almost all sports are of an aggressive or at the least, competitive nature. Competition sometimes inspires some of our lesser emotions to take hold, just as it can inspire us to rise above and achieve more than we usually would.

I think the problem is more related a few things. For one, schools being overcrowded leading to children being improperly supervised, children allowed to get away with being bullies unnoticed by school staff. Another reason is this age we live in, with the shootings and whatnot. Education staff, and indeed most of us are at a loss to truly explain this phenomena. Our children exposed to violence all their lives, be it on television, reading about it in the newspaper, playing violent video games with hormones running wild, parents often both working to support their children and maybe not being there like the should all contribute, IMO. The educational staff will just as soon remove activities which could be conducive to children being the target of aggressive activities, in hopes they won't be problematic later on. This is not the answer, in my opinion.

I think the educational curriculum and understaffing issues, our understanding of what's happening with our children, and indeed our nation/society is what needs to be addressed. Does anyone else sense that everything seems to be coming to a head? More violence, faster times, confusion everywhere, people becoming more detached from their communities. All of course brought to light to you by our fine media services, though they wouldn't report it if people didn't want to hear about it. As Bob Dylan sings, times they are achangin'. Our society is evolving into something other than most of us desire, all on its own. Maybe what some of us forget is that we created it, and could control it. I fear it's going to continue to get away from us, however, and that these will be looked at as the "good ole peaceful days" in 20 years hence(as the past often is, I suppose).

I always play / Russian roulette in my head / It's 17 black, or 29 red

Forget dodge ball! (3.00 / 1) (#31)
by Your Mom on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 12:16:45 PM EST

In middle school, we played wall ball. Every man for himself, and you threw the ball (usually a tennis ball, although a racketball really hurt) against a wall as hard as you could. When the ball came back at everyone if you touched the ball w/o catching it, you had to go stand facing the wall, and some lucky person got to peg you in the back as hard as they could. Now that was real fun.

"As far as I'm concerned, Osama bin Laden can eat a dick." -trhurler
I loved that game too. (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by tnt on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 12:28:52 PM EST

I used to play that all the time... at home and at school. (Although not in PE.)

I don't think it is played everywhere though. When I lived in Texas, we played it. (There were even variations of it, depending on which city, or neighborhood you lived in.) But when I moved back to Canada, nobody had heard of it. (I had to teach it to some of my friends, to play it. But it didn't seem to catch on.)

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

[ Parent ]
burn ball (none / 0) (#46)
by johnathan on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 02:03:42 PM EST

Well, we played it in Connecticut, and called it "burn ball." In our variation, if you touched the ball without catching it, you had to run to the wall and touch it before another player picked up the ball and hit you in the back with it. If you got hit before touching the wall, you'd get a letter. You'd lose when you got enough letters to spell "burn ball" or something else (occasionally vulgar). We also had the part about having to stand facing the wall while another player got a free shot at you, but I can't remember what it was that warranted that punishment.

The game was eventually outlawed at our school.

Her profession's her religion; her sin: her lifelessness.
[ Parent ]

Texas variation... (none / 0) (#50)
by tnt on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 03:07:39 PM EST

In the variation I played (in Texas) if you touched the ball without catching it, and didn't touch the wall before the ball hit the wall, then you also got a free shot on you -- having to stand facing the wall while the player [who hit the ball against the wall, before you touched it] got a free shot at you.

     Charles Iliya Krempeaux, B.Sc.
  Kuro5hin user #279

[ Parent ]
Dodge Ball Totally Kicked Ass, Dude (4.00 / 2) (#33)
by Anonymous 6522 on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 12:27:15 PM EST

Dodge ball in its various forms were the only game I liked to play in elementary school gym. In fact, I liked gym up until middle school when we stopped playing dodgeball and had to play "real" sports.

It kicked ass because I was better at it than most of the other kids in my school. I could actually dodge the ball instead of just standing and getting hit. I couldn't throw very well, but that isn't as much of a problem as it seems. When you can dodge almost everything that gets thrown at you, you get alot more chances to hit the other guy.

Of course, it was really hard to get hurt at my school because we used these little nurf balls, and the gym teachers wouldn't tolerate you being over agressive. IMNSHO, banning dodge ball is stupid. There should just be an effort to make it safer, like not using volleyballs (like some have complained about).

our variation (none / 0) (#63)
by barooo on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 09:01:57 AM EST

killball. Dodge ball played with a basketball. This was popular in the 6th grade for about 3 weeks, until someone got broken glasses and a pretty bloody nose. Then all hell broke loose.

Dodgeball was actually played in my HS P.E. class, and I kind of liked it. I'd usually be out pretty quick, but my favorite rule is the "if you catch it, they're out". I'd usually get a jock or two out that way. The game can get pretty violent though, but the teacher just has to keep an eye on things, and maybe take disciplinary action if someone goes too far. It's fun, and mostly harmless, like life itself.

[G. W. Bush makes] one long for the flashy showmanship of Calvin Coolidge, the easy eloquence of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the simple honesty of Richard Nixon.
P. M. Carpenter
[ Parent ]
The best game taken away! (4.00 / 2) (#40)
by hardburn on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:27:32 PM EST

Blast, that was one of the few games I liked in gym class.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

Heh (4.20 / 5) (#43)
by Elendale on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:46:55 PM EST

Was listening to this on NPR a week ago or so and thought at first, its a bit silly. Dodgeball? There are wose things that happen at school we should be going after. Then i thought back to my elementary education. Now, for myself, i was rather quick so i mostly avoided being hit (the big boys just stopped letting me play- no fun when you can't hurt him) but i do remember watching some of the more horrific incidents. Did you know a volleyball can break a person's jaw? What about causing a concussion by getting the back of your head slammed into a brick wall? Now dodgeball by itself isn't a very bad game, but the it does give an excuse for the more sadistic kids to just hurt people. I do note, however, that of the three biggest problem causing kids two of them are now sitting in jail and (though i'm not sure what he's doing now) one got sent to rehab after he stole a car, fled to Mexico (by the way, where i lived Canada was merely 100 miles away...) and was caught stealing gas on the border.

What's my point? All of you out there who are saying dodgeball is a harmless game didn't get to watch poor little kids having their jaws broken by bastards.


When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

Tolerated bullying (none / 0) (#70)
by Bigs on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 04:12:47 AM EST

You exactly describe the only problem with Dodgeball.. you give the bully's the oppurtunity to hurt kids without getting into trouble. That's what they should do something about, it's just lazyness to ban the whole game. We used to play it too and it was just plain fun :). We didn't use rubber- or volleyballs by the way, but weird foamish balls with a little rubber layer around it.

[ Parent ]
jaw broken? (none / 0) (#74)
by Requiem on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 09:23:55 PM EST

that's because you were playing with a god-damned volleyball. we always used these soft-ish rubber balls that were about the same size as a volleyball, but which had a lot of "give" to them. they could still sting, but they were usually pretty harmless.

[ Parent ]
Yep (none / 0) (#76)
by Elendale on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 07:01:07 PM EST

We had those soft rubber balls, but they were only used for games where harder balls couldn't be used. Still, those things really had inertia- you could snap someone's neck if you tossed one hard enough. The reason volleyballs were used is because the "big kids" didn't like the other balls- they (and i quote) didn't hurt enough.

-Elendale (morbid, but true)

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.

[ Parent ]
When everthing is outlawed (4.00 / 6) (#44)
by Zukov on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 01:47:29 PM EST

Only outlaws will do anything.

But seriously, this is great news. When everyone is completely pacified a few generations from now, anyone will be able to take over the Unites States with a butter knife.

While it is true that people will live in fear of maurading hoardes of squirrils, as well as packs of killer deer, the general _benefit_ of having the entire population dressed in identical brownish-grey clothing woven from vegetable fiber (cause people who wear colorfull clothing may offend others) and going about on foot (cause industry is "bad" and has been abolished, and all remaining bycicles have been destroyred cause they promote elitism) cannot be underestimated.

Naturally, not only all people are vegitarian, they can consume only dead plant matter, because the harming of living plants has been outlawed. So no fresh roots or berries for anyone- you have to wait till the plant dies or the berries fall off. And you have to take seeds out and replant them before you eat the berries, cause anything else is murder of an unborn plant.

Yes, thank you for your concern, I'm going off to a private area now so I can practice Tantric breathing and take my meds.

ȶ H (^

Yes, I have just bumbled upon Gnome Character Map. Please ! me.

Dodgeball as part of P.E... (4.25 / 4) (#47)
by jacwhite on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 02:35:00 PM EST

... is a bad idea!

My husband was studying to be a P.E. teacher, and he said that there is nothing that dodgeball teaches that can't be learned through another activity. While P.E. should be fun, it is still a subject. Want children to learn to throw? Use targets, then move into paired games to work in catching, too.

I have no problem with voluntary (hopefully supervised) dodgeball at recess. But the inherent violence of the game outweighs any of its educational benefits.

By the way, also out in modern P.E. teacher education is allowing students to pick their own teams. About time!

As an aside, my favorite elementary P.E. game was "blob". Large square field, one person starts off as the blob. Anyone touched by the blob had to join hands and become part of it. (Also join the blob if you go out of bounds.) Eventually you had almost the entire class as the blob, spread out and marching down the field. No escape!

oh yeah... (none / 0) (#57)
by jacwhite on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 09:24:48 PM EST

And it's not really much exercise, either.

Think about it: if you're clumsy or non-athletic, you usually get out really quickly. Then you get to go sit down while the jocks try to kill each other. Very few teachers bother to set up a second activity for those who are out of the game.


[ Parent ]
Not in Dodgeball III Team Arena (none / 0) (#60)
by pin0cchio on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 02:44:00 AM EST

Think about it: if you're clumsy or non-athletic, you usually get out really quickly. Then you get to go sit down while the jocks try to kill each other. Very few teachers bother to set up a second activity for those who are out of the game.

That is, unless the "second activity" is dodgeball itself. In some variations of dodgeball (including the so-called Dodgeball III Team Arena variation played on some playgrounds), your team scores a frag when you hit a player of the opposite team; the fragged player walks off the field to "respawn" at the back of the field. Most frags after 10 minutes wins.

Skeptic's reply: "Dodgeball III Team Arena? Next you'll be calling capture the flag Tribes 2."

[ Parent ]
I liked dodgeball (none / 0) (#73)
by Requiem on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 09:21:18 PM EST

And I was never one of the more popular kids, either. I was the one who programmed in BASIC and touch-typed, and I always had a blast with dodgeball. I was usually the last one off, though I couldn't throw worth shit.

I'm just curious, but how is dodgeball any more different from, say, football? Both are violent, football more so. I don't hear too many people suggesting we disassemble that hallowed American sport...

[ Parent ]
american football (none / 0) (#79)
by Puchitao on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 03:22:12 PM EST

is probably not banned because AFAIK most schools don't require kids to play full-contact tackle football in gym class. Ours never did, and we were an extremely football-obsessed school. We always played flag football or two-hand touch[*] in gym; tackling in either was a big nono. Football's big as a voluntary sport, but I've never known a school to require "real" american football as a phys-ed sport. Maybe that's just where I grew up (and the size our our schools -- buying the padding & equipment would have bankrupt us); did anyone's school have it as a required activity?

[*] For non-USians, here are some definitions: Flag football and two-hand-touch football are variations of american football that differ in what's considered a tackle. In flag, each player wears a belt to which two cloth pieces are velcroed. Managing to rip off one of the pieces counts as a tackle. Two-hand-touch is how it sounds: managing to touch the runner with two hands counts as a tackle. In either, a "true" tackle is grounds for penalty or elimination.

Perhaps we can do *snappy fun* with you everytime! -- Orz
[ Parent ]
Whatever happened to (4.00 / 2) (#49)
by Kinthelt on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 02:59:41 PM EST

old-fashioned rock fights?

We'd round up a good 20 local kids, walk on down to the local construction site (my residential area had lots of housing starts), and start throwing rocks at each other. Well, they weren't really rocks. Not many rocks in my area. They were actually sun-hardened clumps of clay. They were probably worse than rocks.

Ummm... Dirt clod fights (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by Zukov on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 05:33:52 PM EST

That brought back a memory I had forgotten about..

Hoards of filthy kids pelting each other with clumps of dry (and wet) clay. Making clay forts. Dividing labor between clod collectors and clod throwers. The development of the nuclear weapon ( the sling-shot, david and goliath type)

We had bloody noses, black eyes, people hit in the head.. and we kept doing it. Man, what a collection of vicious little savages we were. I won't even mention the natural evolution to B-B gun fights, in the days before paintball guns.

Fun at the time, though.

ȶ H (^

Yes, I have just bumbled upon Gnome Character Map. Please ! me.
[ Parent ]

IMHO (3.00 / 3) (#52)
by jd on Thu Apr 12, 2001 at 04:35:44 PM EST

I've never played dodge-ball, but I honestly can't see what it teaches, either. Learning isn't from a single source, and it's not as if kids can't (or won't) play whatever they please, once school is out.

When I was at school, Bulldogs was a popular game. Now, if you want to learn something, THAT was a game you -COULD- benefit from.

The rules for Bulldogs, for those who've never played: Two groups, one at either end of the playing area. One person in the middle. In the first round, the two groups have to cross the playing area, without being tagged. Each person tagged must stop, and is an obstruction until the end of the round. At the start of the next, and all subsequent rounds, the initial person and ALL tagged people so far spread out, before the signal to start is given. Last person untagged is the person in the middle for the next game.

What does this teach, that ALMOST NO other game does? There's no winners or losers, nobody can be unfairly singled-out, you can't avoid seeing the game from all perspectives... It's a child psychologist's worst nightmare!

What it teaches is to think. It's one of the few kid games that stretches a kid's mind, without boring them senseless in the process.

What it also does is devalue "winning". Since there's a constant rotation, and since the requirements are different, depending on what you're doing, the only "victory" is in whether you have fun or not.

What other games do kids play? Fives. Seriously, this game has been credited with producing people capable of winning wars.

Again, a quick summary for those who have never played: Find a wall. A wall with LOTS of rough sections, strange angles, and other nasty characteristics. Next, you need two teams. Each team has one or two players. Using their hands as bats, the teams must alternately swat a rubber ball against the wall, never permitting the ball to hit the floor. Score and serve as for ping-pong.

This game goes back several hundred years, at least, and is credited with being invented at Eaton. What does -this- game teach? Well, its unpredictability and random elements mean that the skill required is phenominal. But its simplicity means anyone who can move can play.

It also teaches something that, again, very few kid games do. That brute force isn't everything. That skill is a matter of awareness. That winning is about luck, as much as skill, making it less valuable than playing -well-.

if you ban that (none / 0) (#65)
by Pink Daisy on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:06:57 AM EST

Come on, banning dodge ball is a stupid idea. Sure, I was always last chosen and one of the first out, but if we ban everything that I wasn't good at, there wouldn't be much left.

Even if we just banned everything that I wasn't good at that was pointless and could be learned better through some other activity, we'd still be losing the entirety of grades one through twelve.

slippery slope (2.66 / 3) (#68)
by Puchitao on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 08:17:24 PM EST

Man, even dodgeball now? I'm tired of all these liberal do-gooder pussies trying to take away all that was great about childhood.

It's a slippery slope: first they ban dodgeball -- a completely innocent game about trying to throw projectiles as hard as you can at your peers -- and soon we live in some monochrome communist sexless sharing-games world where ALL of our childhood favorites are banned:

  • Buck-Buck: Nothing like a mild, Cosby-inspired game of Buck-Buck to get the blood pumpin'. One person grabs a fence, a tree, or the spoiler of some random person's car, and the rest of his team grabs on to him to form a "horse". The opposing team's goal is to run, jump on the horse, and attempt to collapse it. Granted, the number of injuries caused is immense, but you can't blame a sport for the actions of a couple over-agressive bullies.
  • Killer Football (or Killer Soccer, for you arrogant US-ians who think you own the English language): A slight variation of football, except that it's full contact and there aren't any teams, so to speak, or technically any goals or way to score. Essentially, one person dribbles the ball around the field, and everyone else tries to get it away from him in any way possible. A great game for geeklings, as it rewards agility and quick wit. This is a true thinking-man's game: the constantly-shifting alliances and the quick reflexes needed to avoid pummelling teaches children analytical-thinking skill's they'll need in tomorrow's corporate climate.
  • Killer Four-Square: Another popular "killer" game. Pretty much like Four Square, except you weren't rotated out when you miss the ball. You were rotated out when numerous projectile blows to the head rendered you incapable of continuing. Teaches endurance and "stick-to-it-iveness".
  • Smear the Queer: I don't really remember the rules for this one; it's basically Killer Soccer, without any ball. It was very popular on our elementary playground. I bet they'll try to ban this one too. To this I say: What the children do on their own time is their own business. Participation in Smear the Queer is entirely voluntary, except for the part of the Queer, who is chosen at random from the denizens of the playground and is required to accept the honor.
  • Death Card: I bet even card games will be banned next. In Death Card, the cards are shuffled and spread out face down on the floor. Players flip over cards one at a time. The goal of the player who gets the Queen of Spades is to touch a doorknob within 30 seconds. The goal of everyone else is to prevent him/her from doing so in any way possible. Teaches children the valuable lesson that Fate chooses her victims in an arbitrary manner.
I played all of these games when I was younger, and they helped me grow into the upright citizen I am today. (As a side note, the above games were usually only played by boys. The girls tended to sit on the perimeter of the playground and engage in mere conversation. I suspect this is the reason for modern womens' chronic low self-esteem and their general inability to rise in today's corporate hierarchies.) I hate to picture the anaesthetized, emasculated culture that our children's future will be if today's whining PC do-gooders continue this "ban everything that's fun" bullshit.

Perhaps we can do *snappy fun* with you everytime! -- Orz
ban sex (1.00 / 1) (#69)
by anonymous cowerd on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 11:15:03 PM EST

When I was a school kid I was really lousy at not just dodgeball but each and every sport there was, with the single exception of ping pong (I was bad at ping pong) and of course I concluded that the entire institution of Phys. Ed. was nothing more than a conspiracy for the monkey-men to flaunt their muscular superiority over us mentally advanced but physiologically challenged intellectual kids.

But the soul-destroying worst of it was when I went off to H.S. and all those girls started strutting around in their short short minis, showing off their newly lovely and delicately sculptured legs, gaily tossing their maddening hair, pursing their lipsticked lips, thrusting forth their high young bosoms, etc., etc. Gawd, when I was a one-year-too-young sophomore, the sight of those sweet young senior-class babes (I thought of them at the time as older women) was like unto a knife thrust right through my heart, all the more so because as a pimply twerp, I was nothing, nothing to them, and I knew it.

Oh God it's so awful to rememorate, it hurts even now, very essence of misery, and I think I shall pause writing and go gulp down a glass of wine. Maybe that will help.

Ahh. That's somewhat better. Any rate, upon reflection, my proposal to those wise skool admins who are banning dodgeball is that, as it were, they shouldn't prosecute jaywalkers and let murderers go unmolested! No, if dodgeball is a blight to the sensitive young person's nascent mentality, and indeed it is, well then sex is approximately a hundred thousand million billion times worse. That's where they should focus their efforts! I suggest saltpeter.

Yours WDK - WKiernan@concentric.net

"This calm way of flying will suit Japan well," said Zeppelin's granddaughter, Elisabeth Veil.

Our Balls... (none / 0) (#77)
by ductape on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 12:00:29 AM EST

...were the big red variant that, when they come into contact with you, emit a resonant "thwaing", not unlike a bell tone. I don't know where you loonies started using volleyballs, but that hurts! The whole point of dodgeball is to be quick on your feet.

I may not be so much the (physical) geek anymore, but in 4th and 5th grade, I was one of the best geeks at my school. So what if I wasn't liked, but I could play dodgeball and kickball like nobody's business. The cool kids chose me because I could catch those suckers...

enough of this ranting, lets just get around to banning sex, cause it puts women through way too much pain, right? And it's all our (us guys) fault for causing it....

--smd. #include <disclaimer.h>

Excuse me while I rant. (none / 0) (#80)
by kitten on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 12:41:57 AM EST

..I think phys ed classes shouldn't be mandatory in the first place.

I hated them in school. I despised every minute of them. I loathed and abhored PE class. I want to be very clear on this point: I am using the word "hate" about gym class.

In elementary school, I guess it wasn't so bad. At least some of the games were fun, and if you sucked, well, so what? It's not as if anyone really cared. And yes, you got hot and sweaty and disgusting and remained so for the duration of the day, but then, it's not as if you were trying to impress anyone at the age of 9.

It started to get bad in middle school. Day after day, week after week, and month after bloody month, we were forced to endure grueling runs in the heat and humidity or the bitter freezing cold; to square dance (truly horrible when you're a gawky little twerp and no girl wants to be your partner); to wrestle (hey, let's roll around on mats with sweaty guys!); and play inane variations of basketball or soccer. These excercises taught nothing and accomplished little in the physical training department, but we were forced to go through the motions anyway, and for who? for what?

It went from bad to worse in high school. Nothing like starting your day off by running around in a quarter-mile circle for half an hour like a lab rodent, being yelled at by a "coach" because you're not fast enough/too fast/not showing enough enthusiasm/showing too much enthusiasm/look like a moron.. to spend the rest of the day with your hair messed up, sweaty and hot, with your clothes completely rumpled from being shoved into tiny filthy one-cubic-foot lockers.

And what have I received for this nonsense?
Has my enthusiasm for sports increased? No.
Did this teach me the value of teamwork? No.
Did it increase my agility and physical prowess? No.
Did it, in fact, provide any benefits whatsoever? Hell no.
It detracted from my time, sapped my energy, and only furthered my opinion that by and large, school was just a place to keep kids off the street until they're 18.

I cannot think of a single redeeming quality of requiring PE to students as a requesite class. It was truly one of the most maddeningly pointless wastes of time I can think of. I could have used that time to finish homework or read - or even better, if the school board can't think of anything better to do with students than make them run around like idiots for an hour, then why not just cut the school day an hour short and let us all go home?

It all got better when, as a junior, I finally realized that nobody - not my teachers, not my parents, not any college worth its salt - gave a damn about my grade in gym class. After that I simply refused to "dress out" and sat on the bleachers completeing homework I hadn't bothered to do the night before.
Sure, I failed every gym class after that - and that sound you hear is the sound of NOBODY caring.

"High on my list of adult pleasures is that nobody makes me wrestle sweaty guys anymore." -Bill Watterson

"It was a weird school day, you know what I mean? Because it kind of like started of kind of normal. You have like English, Geometry, Social Studies and then suddenly you're like in "Lord of The Flies" for 40 minutes, you know, you're hanging from a rope.. you have hardly any clothes on.. Teachers are yellin' at you, "Where's your jock strap?" and kids are throwin' dodge balls at you. You're tryin' to survive.. Then its History, Science, Language.. There's something off in the entire flow of that day."
- Jerry Seinfeld

mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
Oh, yeah... (none / 0) (#82)
by decaf_dude on Tue Apr 24, 2001 at 03:11:04 AM EST

Censor violent video games, cut out the sex scenes, ban cursing, ban dodgeball... We're doing a fine job preparing the young generation for the "real" world!


When the odds are against you, keep your thoughts to yourself. | 82 comments (74 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden)
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