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January   4

Dodgeball? Oh My


Were the political correctness cops asleep? In Montclair, of all places?

The Montclair YMCA is offering a children's dodgeball league, starting later this month.

Dodgeball, as you may remember, is so controversial that, at least according to Wikipedia, it was banned from New Jersey schools in November, 2002. According to this USA Today story,

...the game is also being targeted as unfair, exclusionary, and warlike for school-age youngsters; some schools in Maine, Maryland, New York, Virginia, Texas, Massachusetts and Utah have banned dodgeball, or its variations, including war ball, monster ball and kill ball. "Dodgeball is not an appropriate activity for K-12 school physical education programs," according to The National Association for Sport and Physical Education, a nonprofit professional organization of 20,000 physical education teachers, professors, coaches, athletic directors and trainers. Dodgeball provides "limited opportunities for everyone in the class, especially the slower, less agile students who need the activity the most."

Poppycock, says James Goodger, senior program director for youth and family at the Y, who points out that the Y's become affiliated with the National Amateur Dodgeball Association.

"Dodgeball is actually a great social game," Goodger said. "I know it's got a stigma against it. I know it was banned in schools. It was perceived to be a violent sport. It's actually hilarious. Kids have a great time. It's the ultimate sport in which everyone can play. It's all about teamwork, fair play and honesty."

Ok, as long as you don't let the kids pick their own teams.

Meanwhile, in more youth sports weirdness, we've learned that they now teach yoga in Glen Ridge High School gym classes -- but students are required to wear sneakers.

January 4, 2006 in Buzz | Permalink


That is great news...the people have spoken.

Posted by: The Iceman | Jan 4, 2006 10:46:20 AM

Dodgeball is great for kids who WANT to play. A league is perfect. For those kids in gym class who are only ever targets it can be traumatic. It basically turns into the strong pummeling the weak.

Posted by: State Street Pete | Jan 4, 2006 11:16:33 AM

I support the dodgeball.

Posted by: lasermike026 | Jan 4, 2006 11:26:36 AM

"It basically turns into the strong pummeling the weak."

Kinda like corporate America.

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jan 4, 2006 11:35:36 AM

welcome back mike...were you on a holiday?

Posted by: The Iceman | Jan 4, 2006 11:52:58 AM

I remember in elementary school there were a few kids who just seemed to have killer arms for dodgeball, who could really make taking a hit on the wrong part of the anatomy a painful thing. Oh, what fun that was. Though it's not for everybody.

Yoga is great. Do it myself. But it doesn't replace dodgeball. The whole idea is to channel aggression into sports, but take the aggression out of sports.

Who is this James Goodger? Does he have any plans to run for governor?

Posted by: walleroo | Jan 4, 2006 12:56:58 PM

I am for the forced participation of all children in dodgeball, civics classes, learning a foreign language, playing a musical instrument, and all other manner of character building activities.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | Jan 4, 2006 1:07:52 PM

"Forced participation" in dodgeball equates with "character building activities"? According to whom?

I guess if we start them off in education camps, they may not need the re-education camps later in life.

Just got one of those chills up my spine again.

Posted by: crank | Jan 4, 2006 1:25:33 PM

Just to be clear, I am against forced participation in dodgeball! I kids shouldn't even be forced to play these other team sports (especially where kids pick who gets to be on their teams; do they still do that as they did in my day?). Why not let the less athletic kids do things at their own pace and participate in less competitive sports like gymnastics or apparatus instead? They can still learn how competitive the "real world" is in other environments than sports - the classroom perhaps?

Posted by: mauigirl52 | Jan 4, 2006 1:46:58 PM

ROC, as someone who attended Papist schools pre-Vatican II, I'm with you on this one. As long as all such activities are cheerily and equitably administered. Kind of like at Dotheboys Hall in "Nicholas Nickleby."

(None of it, however, will ever replace getting into the altar wine before the 8AM mass, the truly best way to set oneself up for 9AM gym class.)

And walleroo, you might wish to avoid such obvious interest in the pained agonies of dodgeball in the future, try to focus more instead on the joys of victory. Unless, mayhap, you turn out too to be a pre-Vatican II Papist.

Posted by: cathar | Jan 4, 2006 1:53:08 PM

There are a lot more physical activities that kids should be encouraged to do besides the aggro-making dodgeball.

Posted by: Krys | Jan 4, 2006 2:22:35 PM

Forced, Krys, forced, en-mass, like manditory PE classes through High School.

Posted by: Right of Center™ (8T) | Jan 4, 2006 2:27:45 PM

James Goodger is a great guy. He even does kids' birthday parties. Everyone loves him.

My son is so so pisst off that he's too young to be in the league. Yeah, maybe no one should be subjected to dodge ball against their wishes, but it is it a supremely great game. I hope there's an adult league.

Posted by: montclair_is_crazy | Jan 4, 2006 2:58:09 PM

Hey Ice. Yeah, I wish I could post more but I've been very busy.

Posted by: lasermike026 | Jan 4, 2006 3:00:11 PM

"forced" is such a mean word. Why not "compulsory"?

Posted by: State Street Pete | Jan 4, 2006 3:01:03 PM

Heh. Why use a euphemism?

Posted by: Chris | Jan 4, 2006 3:22:42 PM

South Park parodied this controversy last year, in both an episode and the following online game version:

Posted by: Jim | Jan 4, 2006 3:29:24 PM


The gist of PE is to get kids off their asses and into physical activity to avoid obesity. Oops, we didn't do well on that. But dodgeball? What a load of hooey.

Posted by: Krys | Jan 4, 2006 3:52:45 PM


Such cynacism. I could not disagree more. The purpose of sport is to teach them the virtues of bravery, teamwork, indivdual achievement, constancy and fortitude (among other things).

Posted by: Right of Center™ (8T) | Jan 4, 2006 3:59:00 PM

This is my first time in a public school. I know you probably think I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but I'm no elitist.

I think you've got some great facilities, and I'm really looking forward to making the best of it here at Grover Cleveland.

One footnote: I notice you don't have a fencing team. Well, I'm gonna try my hardest to start one up for you guys.

Posted by: Max Fischer, Rushmore Bombardment Society Founder | Jan 4, 2006 4:04:43 PM

Rushmore is a great movie! Good quote for this discussion.

Posted by: Jim | Jan 4, 2006 4:15:19 PM

Well even though I have very little... athletic competence... even I think that dodgeball would be more beneficial to us than what we do now in gym classes. I fail to see how line dancing is going to make me a better, healthier, or happier individual.

Posted by: Braenna | Jan 4, 2006 4:50:34 PM

Come on!!! Do you seriously believe that twice a week athletic activity was/is bad for kids/teens. Especially in this period where obesity in kids is reaching an epidemic level, I believe there should be a once a day physical activity class in every school. Even if it's walking around the building twice before homeroom. It gets the blood flowing and allows the children to become more awake and more attentive in classes.
Back in the day, I had a teacher who used to have us do five minutes of stretching before each class, and it made me much more awake and able to concentrate for the rest of the day.
I think gym class is increasingly more important as more and more schools adopt corporate sponsored lunches of pizzahut and mc-somethings with extra fat and carbs' which are served up with a can of cokeapepsi or other sugary fruitjuice fake...

Posted by: physed | Jan 4, 2006 5:00:04 PM

Amen, Physed.

My BF occasionally subs for phys ed teachers and he tells me how out of shape the kids are. Heck, he's got more energy than they do!

Posted by: Miss Martta | Jan 4, 2006 5:03:30 PM

played Bombardment nearly daily for three years in South Jr. under the tutelage of Mr. K, good times!

Posted by: j | Jan 4, 2006 10:03:10 PM

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