The Hidden Lesson of Dodgeball

At dim sum the other night, the boys were lamenting the loss of kickball and dodgeball as traditional elementary school sports. According to child psychology experts, they are too competitive and foster low self-esteem. Now the kids practice running in place so no one wins. Everyone’s a champion. 

It was concluded that we’re turning into a nation of pansies.

As a counterpoint, I shared how much I hated those two sports, for a whole bunch of reasons.

First of all, I was always the last one picked, on any team, in any sport. Whichever team I ended up on groaned.

Second of all, I was always the first one out in dodgeball. I was always the one anyone aimed for, always with the same sinister sneer.

In kickball, whenever I was up, the entire outfield would move to inside of the bases, sending a message of what they thought of my capabilities. How I wanted to prove them wrong, to send that one ball over into the next school yard, to show them all who they were really dealing with. But I always choked. I never made it to first base, ever.

This other time after a brutal game of dodgeball, this girl Lisa came up to me and said, “Are you a virgin?”

I didn’t even know what a virgin was.

“Heck no, I’m not a virgin.”

“Oh, my Gawd! Katie Kelly isn’t a virgin!”

There were so many legitimate reasons not to like these sports. They made me mad, mainly.

This is me last summer.

Photo by Jim Sugar

Thank you, dodgeball.


About katiekelly

I grew up in a parking lot.
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