Dodgeball is not bullying

Researchers can’t leave well enough alone.  Dodgeball is under the limelight again.  This time by Canadian Researchers who never took a walk through childhood.  The relentless pursuit of demonizing everything about human nature is taking its toll on the high school experience.

Many things in the research push the bounds of logic, but the most ridiculous thing that the authors state is that dodgeball is the ONLY sport where humans are the target.  Apparently, they didn’t do the yeoman’s to do a simple search on Google.  And if they participated in high school, they would have known that other sports also have human targets.  Here’s just a partial list:

  • Tag
  • Hide and Seek
  • The prestigious Fencing
  • Wrestling
  • Karate
  • BJJ
  • Paintball
  • Sumo
  • Indian Leg Wrestling
  • Marco Polo
  • Thumb wrestling

If we take the supposition that the research is on to something, you have to ask – is it the tool or the human that makes other humans targets?  We all know that it is the human that is responsible for hate, death, and destruction. Not the tool.  Pens can write letters of inspiration or messages of hatred.  Guns can take lives, or they can provide food to survive.

The Benefits

What does all this mean?  We have to beware of the heckler’s veto.  The banning of every sport, speech, writing, and action based on some overly sensitive person will wreak havoc on our society.  So before you buy into the concept that dodgeball is bullying, let’s look at the benefits of dodgeball specifically.

  • Hand-eye coordination
  • bending
  • stretching
  • fast-twitch muscle development
  • lateral muscle development – side to side
  • backward muscle development
  • balance development
  • teamwork
  • leadership skills
  • ownership and responsibility – being the last one to win for the team
  • fear diminishing
  • reflex development
  • critical thinking skills
  • strategy building
  • stress inoculation
  • cardio conditioning
  • protection of weaker players

Dodgeball and other so-called human target games can and do provide a fantastic amount of physical and emotional benefits for those that play.  The responsibility lies with the instructors and coaches overseeing the games and sports to ensure that they do not turn into a negative experience for the players.

The Coaches Responsibility

The risk of these games and sports are easily managed thru supervision.  Coaches have a responsibility to oversee the students, to teach, to educate, to shape and mold good citizens, to uphold diversity, to uphold civility and good sportsmanship.  It’s when coaches fail to discipline that they enable the negative attributes of these games or sports.  But when they support the right aspects, the benefits of these games and sports far outweigh the bad.

It’s time society stops catering to one or two people and look out for the greater social good.  The higher social good is building a human that is capable of dealing with the adversity of life.  Bankruptcy, divorce, money matters, housing, car crashes, the sudden death of loved ones, war, and many other hard things.

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