It’s been becoming more and more common for schools to take dodgeball out of their physical education classes. Most of the time they claim that it’s too cruel to put kids through and that it can cause psychological damage. I realize that gym class can be a tough time for an adolescent, but for the time being let’s close the psychology books and talk things over rationally.
Firstly, the anti-dodgeballists claim that kids are forced to play the game against the will. In reality, they are absolutely right! Students are forced to play every sport in P.E. class, so how can they even bring this into the conversation? I was forced to do math homework every night, even when I didn’t want to but you didn’t see me complaining to the school board.
Also, have any of the anti-dodgeballists been in a high school gym class recently? Of the 30 kids in the class 27 of them want to play the game. Compare that to when they go outside to play softball where you have the girls picking wildflowers and the boys trying to catch the ball without a glove on I think you should be happy that you have as much participation as you do. Sure not everyone wants to play dodgeball in gym class, but I think you could argue that more don’t want to do the dance unit either.
Secondly, the anti-dodgeball wackos have labeled the game as a sport that causes psychological damage. As I stated above, I understand that gym class has given some people painful memories. For me, it wasn’t painful at all. However, the hour before in math class it was pretty painful for me when I failed the exam.
How is dodgeball different than any other sport in that regard? Don’t you think that Scott Norwood’s psychological damage from missing the game winning kick in Super Bowl XXV is worse than someone getting hit by a rubber or foam ball? Sure it might sting a little, but by the time you change back into your gym clothes I’m going to guess you’ve forgotten about it.
I think it’s also to point out that dodgeball forces you to develop a lot of different skills. Not every student has a great arm, so maybe they focus on catching. If they can’t catch, then maybe they have to become a matrix style dodger.
So the next time a mom with a school-aged child, that has nothing better to do comes up to you and complains about dodgeball being played in gym class you have something to combat her with. Though, if she is anything like the moms that convinced the supreme court to change the high school basketball seasons around, you might be in for a tough battle.