Monday, November 21, 2011

In which I go on a rant against dodgeball

Kieran doesn't have school this week, so this morning Mike put him into a half-day camp at the Southwest Community Center. Early in the afternoon he called me to let me know he'd been hit in the eye during dodgeball. Fortunately, they applied ice immediately and he seemed to be fine. But of course, what I wanted to know was why was he playing dodgeball at a day camp?? The camp was designed for 8- to 12-year-olds, meaning he was in the younger level of the kids.

Many schools across the country have banned the game of dodgeball, and I cannot say I'm unhappy about that. "Dodgeball is an elimination game and it uses individuals as human targets," said Charlene Burgeson, executive director of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education in Reston, Virginia. "These practices are not appropriate for physical education."

I remember being said target. As an unathletic, short, and skinny girl, I hated dodgeball (and Red Rover, since we're on the topic) with unbridled passion. I have long wished that I had a PE teacher like my brother-in-law, who could have inspired me to want to improve my physical fitness. Instead I felt humiliated and hated PE.

The internet is rife with stories about dodgeball injuries...eye injuries, broken fingers, even a chronic subdural hematoma. Facebook even has a group for dodgeball fanatics to post photos of their injuries with pride. Dodgeball is like the rugby of elementary school. Projectiles come hurling at you, and you have no protection whatsoever. Nowadays the good PE teachers who still play dodgeball use soft balls. In my day, we used hard playground balls. I'm not sure what they were using today at the community center.

I'm sure that Kieran is not the unathletic type who cowers during dodgeball--he's probably right in the thick of things, throwing balls with energy. But still. Not only did they play dodgeball, but they also watched a movie. And for this we were paying money? It's a good thing he didn't sustain a more serious injury, because he doesn't have an understudy. And fortunately he didn't end up with a black eye or worse.

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