In my recent piece Banning Boyhood, I mention how there is a movement afoot in American schools to ban dodge ball. I couldn't devote much time in the piece to an actual defense of the game, as that wasn't its focus. Besides -- and my reader email vindicated this idea -- such measures are so preposterous that no explanation is necessary. Yet, there are a few things I want to say.
In my article I printed this excerpt from a David Limbaugh piece:
According to one anti-dodge ball crusader, ‘at its base, the game encourages the strong to victimize the weak. ... Schools preach the values of harmony, community and cooperation. But then those same schools let the big kids loose to see if they can hit the skinny nerd in the head with a hard, red rubber ball.'
Now, this portion of a reader's email is quite apropos:
I am tired of writers on the subject of Dodgeball saying it is a game of "the big and strong against the small and weak". Have these people ever played the game? I can still remember his name. Marc Fisher. The smallest kid you will ever see. He was definitely the runt of the litter. He and his ilk destroyed us big kids. Yes we were strong and we could whip that little ball but it was impossible to hit these fast little guys. Any time there was a standoff at the end w/Marc and and one of us big guys, we were the ones quaking in our boots, especially so if it was Marc who ended up w/ that little ball.
I am so tired of the above quote. They make it seem as if these big kids whip the ball at the helpless little kids and the girls just so they could have the pleasure of seeing the imprint of the ball in their faces. This is so far from the truth. There was an unwritten code. You never hit a girl full force w/ the ball unless she was a tough tomboy that was capable of taking your head off w/ the ball. If a kid was to unfairly hit another "smaller / weaker" kid then we all would ostracize that mean kid.
I point this out because I had a discussion about this very matter the night before receiving this correspondence. It isn't always the biggest and baddest that dominate in dodge ball. I would also add that I have to wonder if these critics have ever played the game, because in dodge ball you're not allowed to aim for the head; if you hit someone in it, you're out.
Now, I realize that dodge ball is a trivial matter, a pebble-in-the-shoe issue, but the way these malcontents have mischaracterized the game is typical of how leftists operate. These critics don't even know that aiming for the head isn't allowed and that the biggest don't always prevail. Either they haven't played the game and it's another example of liberals claiming to be experts about that which they're ignorant, or they're willing to say anything, whether true or not, that they think will buttress their agenda. The truth is that the last thing would have to explain much of this inanity, since the left always plays fast and loose with the truth. And I find liars despicable.
Quite frankly, I also find anyone who wants to ban a great childhood pastime like this game to be creepy; such an individual should be carted off school grounds in a rubber truck.
You know, I see in the vicinity of most every school a sign stating, "Drug Free Zone." How about making schools Nut Free Zones?