The Games I Used to Play

Is it me, or has political correctness gone a bit too far? When political correctness reaches the hallowed grounds of recess, then I think a revolution is in order.

Understand, I’m not just talking about ridiculously PC schools freaking out because a kid saw a gun in the clouds. I’m talking about games! Does anyone remember the amazing games we used to play when we were kids? My favorite part of the day when I was younger was recess or PE. It was the time when we could let go of all of our boring pretenses of maturity and be kids for a little while.

Now, all of that is on its way out. In 2013, a school district in New Hampshire voted to ban dodgeball. Dodgeball! They said they did it to discourage bullying.


Dodgeball isn’t about bullying. Dodgeball is about fun. I’m not sure what they were thinking when they decided that banning dodgeball would cut down on bullying. Although I’m sure that some bullying does occur during dodgeball, bullying can happen anywhere. It actually makes less sense that bullying would occur inside a structured and supervised game, than say, in the halls when no one’s watching. In fact, in my experience, most bullying I’ve seen occurs during lunchtime, not PE. Are they going to ban lunchtime too?

What I want to know is how crappy their PE teachers must have been to allow bullying in the gym during dodgeball. Honestly, it’s not hard to segregate teams so that they are equal. I’m not just blowing smoke here. I worked as an assistant to a PE teacher for three years. I know what it’s like to have students in a class who don’t like each other. The simplest way to fix it is to just put them on the same team. No possibility for bullying there. I’ve seen dodgeball bring kids together. At its core, it is still a team sport. When they’re the last one in on your team, it doesn’t matter how much you don’t like someone; you’re still going to cheer for them.

The article I read about said that the school district that banned dodgeball and “other human target sports” also said that they work hard to make sure that their kids are violence free. I’m not going to tell you that dodgeball is entirely safe. No contact sport is. I’ve been on the receiving end of a few dodgeball head shots myself. I’m okay… mostly. But it’s not hard to make the game safer. Outlaw head shots for starters. It’s a lame excuse, as I’m sure that it’s just as easy to get injured playing something like soccer or baseball. Personally, I’ve never received so much as a bruise from playing dodgeball. I have, however, had bruises larger than my hand from both soccer and softball. Actually, I had a concussion from playing soccer.

And what about red rover? You remember red rover. It was that game where two teams line up across from each other and then you call kids over and just clothesline them. Surely, that game was banned with the order to ban all “human target sports.” That means that there will be a generation of kids at that school that never get to play red rover. It’s an atrocity, I tell you!

One last problem I have with this banning of dodgeball is that one of the reasons that the school district gave was that not all students can participate equally.


So what?! In what game can any two students participate equally? From baseball to soccer to freaking duck, duck, goose, every human being is on different level athletically. When did that become a bad thing? Some students will be weaker, and some will be stronger. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either. In fact, I think these games prove to be wonderful tools for teaching important life lessons. What better way to teach stronger students to stand up for the weaker ones, to protect them. What better way to teach the weaker students to grow stronger.

To a larger point, when did it become bad to be bad at a game when you’re a child? This is the time when you’re supposed to learn how to do things. With most of the things you do when you’re young, you’re going to stink at it when you start. It doesn’t matter whether it’s dodgeball or playing an instrument, if you don’t do it, you won’t get better.

Failure is a good thing. Without, we would never grow. I’m afraid that we’ve become a society that doesn’t allow people to fail. I can see it in all areas of life. At the top, our government bails out banks and car companies because it believes that they can’t fail or disaster would occur. At the bottom, stupid school districts ban dodgeball because some kids aren’t good at it. This politically correct idea that you can’t allow kids to fail because it will crush their precious self-esteems needs to go away. Look at me. I’ve failed plenty in my life, and you know what, it hasn’t hurt me one bit. I come back stronger and more capable every time.

Heck, even the Mythbusters got it when they said that…



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