Life Lessons Of Dodge Ball
By Rod Eccles
If you are at least 35 years old or older, you probably remember the wonderful gym class game called Dodge Ball. In my school, it was called War Ball. The rules are the same.
Of course there is a movie which starred Ben Stiller but most of us didn’t have an actual Dodge Ball Court to play on. It was probably either the gym floor or sometimes it was outside on the paved part of the playground.
In any case, most of us loved to play even if we were not any good at it. I am sure there were kids in your school who surprised you when they got on that “battle field” they became brave soldiers of fortune.
You know the kind of kid I’m talking about. He was usually smaller than most other kids his age and in his grade. Maybe he was tall but he was skinny. Probably wore glasses. Usually kept to themselves or only had one or two real friends.
They could have been one of the smart nerdy kids or they could of just been a sad sack loner. But when they got on that court they turned into someone else. They became brave, brazen and even bold.
You also probably noticed that the main jocks always seemed to get tagged out first. Well, first were the easy targets. The kids that didn’t really want to play or really did have two left feet. Then the big jocks usually went out.
The game usually came down to the surprising nerd types and the average kids who learned to strategize.
You are probably asking ‘what strategy’?
Let me tell you there really is strategy to this game. Sure it may look and act chaotic, but when you get down to the last few players on each side, strategy comes into play.
I remember a particular game in high school. It actually lasted longer than the average game. One side was down to one player. Yes, he was a tall, skinny nerd type. The other side had, shall we say three average types.
The odds did not look good but the nerd was smart. In our Dodge ball games there were many, many balls not just 3 or so. That is why it was so chaotic at the start of each game.
The skinny kid knew the rules and he knew them well. Remember he was skinny. We used different size balls. He grabbed the biggest ball he could and basically hid behind it. The other three would rapid fire at him. He would use the big ball to deflect the incoming volley.
The three on the other side thought all they had to do was gang up on him but it was an obvious strategy. It failed. One by one he would deflect the balls behind him making sure they did not cross the center line so the other side could use them again.
And before you knew it, the skinny kid had ALL of the balls. He lined them up beside him and began throwing as fast and as low as he could.
He would vary who he would target so one kid would be the target and get missed and another kid would go for that free ball and that is when another ball came and took that kid out. Two down.
One on one.
The skinny kid figured he had one shot. No, it was two. He lobbed a ball, not too high. He lobbed it with his off hand. Yes, the other kid took the bait. You see if he caught it, then the other kid would be out.
But he lobbed it with his off hand. In his good hand was one of the smallest balls we used. Out of nowhere a “fastball” came in. Boom. It hit its mark before the kid could catch the lob.
Underdog by 3 to 1 and he won the game. Even the gym teacher said he never saw anything like it before.
Sure, tall, skinny, nerdy kid got my “props” for it. And that made him feel good.
But there was a greater lesson. Never give up. Do your best. Always work smart. And always have a plan.
And even when it looks like you could lose, it’s OK to get sneaky as long as it’s within the rules. Never let the other side see your real hand so when you play it, they will be surprised and it will be too late for them to react.
Yes, even Dodge Ball can teach a life lesson.