Dodgeball is Bombardment. Same Game. Less Suffering.

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This week I had the honor of watching The Evil Spawn play her very first game of Dodgeball.dodgeball_md

It wasn’t pretty.

Turns out little girls aren’t good at violence.

This makes me sad. 

You have a child.  You nickname her The Evil Spawn.  And yet, she embarrasses the family name with her kind-hearted nature (I can assure you she wasn’t raised like this).

She understood the rules of the game, but was confused by the “unspoken” rule.

That’s the one that says “I will do everything in my power to throw a ball as hard as possible directly into my best friend’s snout with the hope they will pass out from the indescribable pain.”

At least this is how I remember Dodgeball.

Which by the way, we didn’t call Dodgeball.

We called it Bombardment.

Dodgeball makes it sound like you have a chance of getting out of the way and you might not have to return to class with a giant welt on your face.

When I was a kid, good luck with that.

PE meant suffering.

There was no walking or aerobics.

There was pain and there was suffering.

Your choice.

Actually, it wasn’t your choice.  It was the seniors’ choice.

And they usually chose a double-helping of both.

It was called Bombardment because it was an act of war.

We didn’t play for fun.

We played for survival.

We didn’t look forward to PE.

We dreaded it from the moment we opened our eyes each morning.

There was no giggling.  No laughing.  No enjoying one another’s company.

There was only the stench of fear in the air.

We didn’t get in trouble if we hit our friends in the face.  We got in trouble if we bled on the gym floor (Coach’s Rule #1:  Bleed Outside).

These days the kids are soft.

And lucky.

And don’t even get me started on the foam balls they get to use.  It’s like getting hit with a sponge.  We used hard rubber ones the size of baseballs.

They hurt.  Bad.  The fun was in the pain.  At least that’s what the PE teacher told us.

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4 Responses to “Dodgeball is Bombardment. Same Game. Less Suffering.”


  1. CCHSnewGUY
    on Sep 15th, 2011
    @ 7:19 pm

    I’m a young guy, graduated in 2005, but can remember a day when I got in an argument with another kid in PE over a call in a game of Matball. I’ll quickly describe Matball. First off it was the most amazing game ever created and HAD to have been generated by a football coach. It was kickball meets dodgeball. You had to round the bases twice to score, and could stay on a base for as long as you wanted. Which meant we would load up about 30 people on third base and wait for a soccer player to kick it into the high reaches of the bleachers. Now to the argument…. I hit a guy in the face with the ball as he was leaping towards a base. I called him out, Coach called him out, his OWN TEAM called him out… Well he didn’t like that and we had words. Coach stepped in, “If you girls are gonna do this; then let’s do it right. Circle up class, unless these ladies aren’t big enough to finish the task.” Well, since it’s my story I’ll say he backed down. However in all reality I think the two of us conceded the thought and moved on. I think I had a point to this story but lost it somewhere down memory lane . . . . . .

    I’m a new teacher at a small rural school in KY; randomly I stumbled upon your blog and have been hooked for almost 6 months now. I love reading the way your stream of consciousness takes you from here to there and back again. I laugh, I relate (though seldom), and I reflect on how, in my short career of approximately 110 days, I’ve seen some similar things as to those you’ve discussed.

    Keep on keeping on sir!


  2. Laura
    on Sep 16th, 2011
    @ 11:01 am

    I can remember when someone had the brilliant idea that young ladies in highschool should have to take gym with the young men. We played things like field hockey together. I was pretty athletic in my youth, and was raised playing football with my five older brothers, but even I would step aside when the school’s nose tackle was coming at me full speed with a hockey stick in his hand.

    We also played co-ed dodge ball. We gals used dodge ball as a way to put the universe back into balance. All we had to do was aim slightly below the belt.


  3. Alicia Kessler
    on Sep 19th, 2011
    @ 2:05 pm

    Co-ed high school PE. It was the best of times……it was the worst of times….


  4. Carlton
    on Feb 7th, 2013
    @ 1:19 pm

    Dodgeball and Borbardment are NOT the same game. Balls are thrown. Ducking, jumping, and dodging will occur. The set up and rules make them totally different. Bombardment IS WAY more intense, and requirement a greater/better athletic skill set.

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