There are a select group of kids in New Hampshire who will never know the joy and defeat that comes from having to dodge, dip, dive, duck and dodge.
The reason, as you might expect, is that bullying is taking place during such activities, which they call "elimination" or "human target" games.
Not sure where this sentiment was when I was getting blasted in the face with a giant rubber ball at recess.
Well, Windham superintendent Dr. Henry LaBranche thinks he has seen quite enough violence under his watch, and he is putting an end to all the guff.
We spend a lot of time making sure our kids are violence free. Here we have games where we use children as targets. That seems to be counter to what we are trying to accomplish with our anti-bullying campaign.
Ah, anti-bullying. Well, I am quite passionate about the movement, so we are all good on the elimination of the time-honored game, right? No? Well, we shall discuss in due time.
Reportedly, a middle school parent complained that their son was bullied during a dodgeball game, and it served as the impetus for LaBranche to take action.
The committee looked at the National Association for Sport and Physical Education standards and found that dodgeball is a game with little physical merits and far more social detriments.
Which is what school board member Stephanie Wimmer offered with, "It came back that they were concerned with these human target games. When professionals in our own district are saying we don’t need these games and they should be taken out, I want to respect the contributions of our professionals."
It's not all doom and gloom from the land of New Hampshire dodgeball.
Pinkerton sophomore Jim Halkiotis participated in this year’s tournament. He said he’s never seen bullying or injuries in the game.
“If we go after someone, it’s usually a bigger kid determined to make their team weaker,” he said. “They know it’s part of the game and they understand that.”
Hell, one school district offered that they have even gone to using foam balls to increase the fun of games. I say why stop there? Let's have the kids just visualize playing a sport and nobody gets hurt. That way the fun gets taken to 11!
Now, let me continue by saying bullying is a reprehensible action that really needs to be addressed in the proper capacity. Kids should be monitored, and those bullied should be consoled.
However, this is freaking dodgeball—a game passed down from one generation to the next ever since a group of kids found a rubber ball and decided to annihilate one another with it.
I am not sure you can safeguard kids from every last manner of being singled out. A game of tag usually begins by going after the slowest kid possible. Even pickup basketball teams leave the least talented to be picked last.
Now, a dodgeball bedlam like the one below, we understand.
Still, there is a difference between bullying and being pretty crappy at a sport, and it's up to the adults supervising the games to make that call.
Abolishing a kid's game is going a little overboard.
It's a way of life, and we have all been on the short end of that horrible stick, but it's crucial to our development.
What about the poor kid who gets laughed at after losing a marathon session of "Duck, duck, goose?" What about the poor sap who gets clotheslined and mocked at Red Rover?
What about me, America? I was certainly the kid to lose out on some childish games, but like Dwyane Wade, I got back up.
Now, some kids will never know the joy of picking up a ball of hope and taking out their schoolmates with one devastating throw. If you have forgotten, recall that feeling with this:
Maybe I just remember kids' games with far less villainy and far more innocence. You can let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
There are far worse things in life than being awful at dodgeball, and there is no way to guard against that fact.
That's something we all soon learn to deal with.
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