History of Dodgeball (ck’d)

Seriously? Who invented the game dodgeball? Since I’m writing this post 12 hours earlier than you can possibly read it and since I just played a few games with the youth and since I am super tired I will take it upon myself to answer the question. Without any of those pesky, boring facts getting in the way to slow me down.

The earliest known game was between Cain and Abel. Of course, Cain had an advantage being the well-known stinker that he was. It did develop Abel’s agility. When they played they didn’t play with pansy Nerf balls. No, no! They called their game dodge-rock because they played with, well, you know, rocks.

The cycle of dodgeball is to peak in popularity for a few years and then wane for a bit. The next time it became en vogue was during biblical times. A group of townspeople would gather strangers or law breakers outside the city wall and play. Of course, the victims didn’t call it dodge-rock or even dodgeball. They called it stoning. Tomato, tomahto. The same basic principle was at play. If something is hurled your way – avoid it.

It took a while before the sport became popular again. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t until King Henry VIII played it with his wives that it caught the public eye once more. Sorry, I should describe it like this: he “played” the game with his wives.

It became a favorite sport of the royals after that. They would gather groups of peasants together for some rousing games. Of course, the peasants were only the dodgers never the throwers. If I’m not mistaken, that’s how a few of wars have started. The Hundred Years’ War? Dodgeball. Sure, dodgeball gone very, seriously bad. But dodgeball nonetheless. Games always run the risk of becoming quite hostile. Even today. True, no major wars over it but still…it can divide a classroom.

If I’m not mistaken, the Native Americans came up with their own version. It was called “dodge the arrows.” The white man didn’t understand the game and for some reason mistook it as a hostile gesture. So, they took the Native American’s land. All because of a silly game!

This misunderstanding might have ended the whole dodgeball fad for good if it weren’t for WWII. The American military used the game to train GI’s for combat. After the war, homecoming soldiers were desperate for work. Most settled for jobs as school coaches where they could continue to yell and belittle their soldiers students.

That is how most of us came to know the sport. The alpha players that looked at it as a challenge they could win. And the rest of us betas just really hoped we survived the game.

Then Dr. Spock came into play. Dodgeball was again on the chopping block. Suddenly, it was deemed an aggressive game that was about to be thrown out with the bathwater. My theory is all those betas grew up and realized they didn’t want their kids subjected to the same trauma they went through. I’ll have to check on that, but I’m pretty sure that’s accurate.

photo courtesy the web

photo courtesy the web

And then the movie Dodgeball came out. Which provided yet another resurgence in popularity. Thank you very much Ben Stiller.  Now it’s thisclose to being played at the Olympic level.

Yeah, none of that is true. But if I piqued your curiosity check out the history (with the facts) here.

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