Balls of Dodgery
Growing up in the 80’s there were two choices for radio: Phil Collins or Genesis. Unfortunately, both of those involved Phil Collins. Television for me was Fraggle Rock at 5 p.m. and G.I. Joe at 5:30. Other than that, my day was open and that meant that my world was at school and schoolyard games were not only games, but contests of fortitude that defined your place in the elementary heirarchy.
Today, it is completely unacceptable for physical education to make an appearance in grade school, because having any form of exercise interfere with a child’s set path to a heart attack by the age of 29 is whack. Back then however, tagging the new kid in the face with a dodge ball while his attention was elsewhere was not only condoned, it was encouraged. Here’s how you make a childhood:
-10-15 kids, add to elementary-school-size gymnasium
-Stir and add 1 chubby kid, one nerd that doesn’t pay attention to anything going on, ever, one girly-girl and a pinch of bully
-Mix with 5 red bouncy balls, enjoy
-Always aim for the head
-Always aim for the crotch, too
-Protect your head
-Protect your crotch
HOW IT ALL WORKS OUT:
In a typical 3-game set, it is a fact as sure as the French surrendering to a stern yelling-at, that you will see the following:
1-Chubby kid will be eliminated almost instantly. This isn’t to say that chubby kid isn’t good, it’s saying that he is only presented with two options and he must choose wisely.
First of all, chubby kid (CK) isn’t going to run and dive for the ball at the beginning of the game. If he does, he’ll be the last one there and inevitably someone on the opposing team will have beat him to the ball, stepped back and blasted him with a headshot that rips both of CK’s hands to his face followed by a guttural, “aauuughhh!!”
CK’s second option is to stay back while the speedsters snatch the balls and bring them back. After doing so and the first shot being fired, all hell breaks loose. Due to lack of mobility, CK will be behind a wall of athletic kids, who when fired upon, will either jump or hit the deck – this exposes CK.
CK’s lack of speed and awareness will get him blown up with either a headshot or gut shot depending on which route the athletic kid wants to take to avoid the ball. While CK makes his exit look somewhat accidental, his exit is planned due to fear of USC (we’ll get to that later). He will never win, and his options are limited…similar to playing rocks/paper/scissors when you only have two fingers and your opponent is an archaeologist
2-Lack-of-awareness-kid will have his glasses blown off. Unlike the chubby kid with his new backwards “Wilson” tattoo on his face, lack-of-awareness-kid (LOAK) is eliminated at random points throughout the match. More specifically, he’s eliminated, then sternly eliminated again.
The LOAK acts as if he’s confused about why others aren’t as confused as him. He’s permanently stuck in that zone you come into when you wake up suddenly from a night of drinking and it’s dark outside and you’re unable to tell if it’s night or morning.
The LOAK is eliminated 90% of the time in this manner: Ball comes in low and the LOAK tries unsuccessfully to clear it with some awkward 4-inch jump where his legs spread as if the left and right sides of his brain were playing Chinese fire drill at the exact moment of execution. Since the ball is roughly 10 inches in diameter, this often ends in a sprained ankle. Be it far from the game’s nature to halt for injury and the LOAK’s habit of thinking like a kaleidoscope, he adjusts his glasses, pulls up his black socks and stands up just in time to see a small red dot instantly overload his visual parameters.
To the rest of us, we see Timmy standing up as stable as a newborn pony, and Mike – the future QB for USC – launch a bullet that blasts the LOAK’s newly-foldable glasses into the bleachers while simultaneously snapping his head violently back and to the left*. The LOAK goes limp mid-air and his scrambled body hits the ground with a resonance that rivals the splatter of mashed potatoes thrown overhand onto a driveway
*Little known fact – when hit by a rubber ball thrown by a quarterback, the ball can actually wrap around your head for three-thousandths of a second. Enough time for your eye to want to take a field trip to the back of your face
3. Girly-Girl will cry. I know, I know, “How sexist!” Well, if you think girly-girls (GGs) get hit in the face with 80 mph projectiles and don’t cry, you probably also think that your unicorn has a chance to win at the next Indy 500.
You’ve seen GG. Her hair is always perfect, makeup always perfect, and she possesses no athletic skill whatsoever because sports are either “stupid” or “ew, for boys”. GG usually has a boyfriend that intimidates every other guy. He is also Mike from earlier.
GG gets eliminated 100% of the time by a hit to the butt, hamstring, calf or back. Note that these targets are all on the backside of the body – This is because GG never faces front. Why? Because dodge-ball is a contact sport and the only contact GG is interested in involves her butt touching bucket leather seats. As stated above, she will get hit with a softly-lobbed ball in the back somewhere and cry anyway. She won’t cry tears of pain, she’ll cry so Mr. USC gives her his attention after the game.
After seeing his girlfriend cry, USC’s testosterone levels will fill up faster and more intensely than Kevin Bacon dancing angrily in an abandoned warehouse. His power and speed meters rise to 125% and he turns into the Dragonball-Z of dodge-ball. This is one of the main reasons that CK comes complete with an early exit plan, because who needs to stick around for that shit? He knows that USC targets the weak…speaking of which…
4. USC will win, and high-five Coach (Yes, dodge-ball coach is also football coach) . Ultimately USC wins the game – All three to be exact. Don’t fret though; the coach running this fiasco used to be USC.
See, due to his dominance of sport, USC throws all of his eggs into one basket, the basket of the NFL. When USC realizes that he’s not good enough and drops out of USC the school to attend the University of Take Your Choice and graduates with a degree in Kinesiology, his options are limited. Ultimately he becomes a P.E. teacher and plays dodge ball 3 times per week and relives the glory days. If you’re really unlucky, your teacher will be in a recreational league for over-40-year-olds and tell you how terrible you are and how you’ll never reach his “level”.
While broken glasses, “nosliW” tattoos and sprained ankles are fairly common, long-term effects from dodge ball are rare, if any. Kids will walk away uninjured for the most part but learn valuable life lessons from the game.
#1- You don’t accomplish anything by standing around trying to not get hit
#2 – You’ll eventually make more money and be more successful than USC. In the event he does make it to the NFL, well…a broken clock is right twice a day
#3 – Enjoy throwing stuff at people because later on you’ll probably be arrested for it
Of course, you may remember it differently.