I know this seems like a random post, but it is not random; it is something I have been thinking about for years, and now has become a bit more personal. When I was a kid, we played dodgeball in school. This was a game that I loved because I was athletic, bigger than most of my classmates, had two very much older brothers who indoctrinated me into the game, and because I was agile and good at it, almost never got hit. From my perspective, this game was awesome because it showcased my talents and it was something at which I could shine. I never thought of this game from the perspective of anyone else but me.
As a teacher, I was first introduced to the idea of banning dodgeball in school from one of the first schools I taught at. Quietly, I thought the idea was absurd. Afterall, if kids want to play dodgeball on the blacktop, why not let them. They don't have to include those kids who don't want to play, so no harm done, right?
The longer the idea festered in my head, the more I began to question my own idea of the suitability of dodgeball at school. The longer I worked as a teacher, the more I began to appreciate the ban on dodgeball; when an authority sanctions activities in school, the implication of that blessing is that the activity is OK, it's appropriate. So, schools allowing dodgeball on the playground, or using it as a game in PE are essentially sanctioning some form of outright physical (possibly psychological) bullying.
I can now appreciate this game from the perspective of the other kids who are not as strong in it as I was because I now have two kids who are deathly afraid of this game. While my own school bans dodgeball, my daughter's school still embraces it. They even play dodgeball in PE on occasion. The prospect of my quiet, small, kind 8 year-old daughter being pelted by dodgeballs is pretty scary, but worse, the prospect of her being afraid of PE, school, her classmates or her teacher (who should be taking care of her at school) is even more frightening for me. I understand the ban now, and other schools should embrace it as well. Any thoughts? Comments?