Dodgeball: More Than Just a Blow to the Head

Boy Wonder’s never been the athletic type. He enjoys a good bike ride and wrestling match with his brother every now and again, but he’s usually content drawing or playing video games.

In my feeble attempt to keep my kids busy this summer, I scoured our local parks and rec brochure for an activity, any activity to keep Boy Wonder busy and active. From the wide variety of choices available, he selected a dodgeball league. Dodgeball. As in balls a-flying at the head and other vital organs dodgeball. Hmm.

“But Mo-om! I play nation ball at school. I’ll be fine,” he begged. Nation ball? Is that the same as dodgeball? He wasn’t sure but he thought so. God, I hoped he was right. What is going to happen to my inexperienced kid in a league of dodgeball professionals up to 12-years-old? Would he survive it? I wondered.

Reluctantly I signed him up and lived in dread of July 13th, the first day of dodgeball, and likely, the first day of many frozen peas to the noggin.

We arrived at the park and before I managed to get my right butt cheek out of the driver’s side of my vehicle I was hit with a release-of-liability waiver to sign. My, how very comforting.

To my surprise the dodgeball league was coached by not one, but three coaches from our local state university. There were drills, pep talks, rules, and more rules. “Balls to the head are an automatic out so aim carefully, my friends!” Coach 1 of 3 warned.

As I made my way to a shady spot outside the danger zone, I watched Boy Wonder get pummeled in the face and the boy parts with lightening fast rubber balls and emerge smiling. Before long he was catching, dodging, blocking, and dripping in sweat from matches well played.

When the final whistle blew and the kids were dismissed Boy Wonder made is way over, simply beaming.  “Mom,” he said, “I only joined to because I wanted a trophy but now I think these kids are going to be my friends probably.” Probably indeed. Another big step, young lad. Another very big step.

As we walked back to our car we were stopped by a coach who shook his hand and told him he had remarkable talent. “Me?” he asked. “Of course you,” the coach said as he patted him on the back.

While Boy Wonder might have joined for a chance at a trophy, I have a feeling his dodgeball experience is going to leave him with even greater personal rewards.

Have you ever enrolled your kid in a dangerous sport?

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