Getting smacked around by rubber balls is traditionally one of the most humbling experiences of a lifetime. Dodge Ball. Even the name is frightening, it literally means “DODGE A BALL”. As in, if you don’t, you get whacked. I’m all for it. I encourage it.
Playing Dodge Ball is a lesson in life. If you can’t throw, learn to move swiftly and avoid the blows. If you throw well, you get out in front and pick off the ones who haven’t quiet figured it out yet. But, beware for out in front you face the challenge of potentially hard hits. If you can’t catch, you jump. If you can’t jump, you lunge. And, so on and so on.
Our children need Dodge Ball in their lives. They need to figure out what life is all about instead of being told everyone is a winner. Mostly because everyone is not a winner. They just aren’t. Usually there is a single winner and it is often not the strongest or best athlete. Just to toss out a a few names, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jimmy Buffet. I could go on. These guys may not have been the best, but I bet they were the silent types who caught the ball and scored an “out” on the biggest bully in school.
Dodge Ball hosts an underlying element of adversity. Yes, getting a ball thrown at your stomach stings, so figure out how not to get hit. Need a team to help you score? Generate a strategy of clever distractions while one kid comes from behind and takes out the hard throwers in the front. Basically, figure it out.
I can’t recall ever getting a medal for playing Dodge Ball or being offered a juice box and a bag of gold fish (seriously with all the snacks at kids sports) after playing a round. I can’t recall winning or getting hit so hard I had to hold back tears. All I do remember is that I loved the game. It was insanely fun. It had so many ups and downs.
Exciting and terrifying.
Kind of like, well . . . life.