Dodgeball is any of a variety of games in which players try to hit other players on the opposing team with balls while avoiding being hit themselves. This article is about a well-known form of team sport with modified rules that is often played in physical education classes and has been featured in a movie, Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. In the United States, the game is typically played among children 6-12 in elementary school. However, internationally, the sport has also emerged as a popular middle school, high school and college sport. It is also popular in informal settings and is often played on a playground, in a gym, or in organized recreational leagues.
There are many variations of the game, but generally the main objective of each team is to eliminate all members of the opposing team by hitting them with thrown balls, catching a ball thrown by a member of the opposing team, or forcing them to move outside the court boundaries when a ball is thrown at them.
Rules dictate both a minimum number of players needed to start the game and a maximum number of players allowed on the court at any one time. The minimum number of people per side is typically the same as the number starting the game. There is no universal limit on the amount of players allowed in a team/game; the person/people organizing the game choose the amount.
After a player is eliminated, he may re-enter the match if another player on his team catches an opponent's thrown ball on the full (provided his team does not already have the maximum amount of players on the court). In some versions of dodgeball, where the game is played on a basketball court, if the ball is thrown into the opponent's basket or it is thrown and it hits the backboard on the full, everybody gets resurrected from the thrower's team. In some versions of the game, they make the players hit something else in order to revive the team. In some rule-sets, players must be resurrected in the order that they were defeated, but in others, the catching player may choose the player to resurrect.
Some leagues allow players that have been eliminated to assist their team by directing thrown balls back to the players on the court, while other leagues confine eliminated players to a designated area off the court and prohibit them from participating in the game until they are allowed back on the court.
Any number of dodgeballs may be used in a game, but between five to ten is common. Exceptions are usually made if a court is particularly small or if many people participate.
There is no standard worldwide measurement or material for a dodgeball;However, most dodgeballs are roughly the size of a volleyball and composed of foam with a thin plastic shell. Some dodgeballs are made of rubber. Some leagues allow the use of multiple sizes of dodgeballs in a single match, while others use one standard size for all balls.
A typical dodgeball game is usually played on a basketball court, netball court, gymnasium, parking lot, multiple tennis courts, fenced area or even an Australian Rules Football oval or soccer pitch. There is no fixed dodgeball court design. The game is picked on the best available surface that is usually one of the above mentioned. Unless it is a variation of dodgeball, the court must have a center line..
The uniform for playing dodgeball is usually physical education uniforms or short sleeve shirts, shorts and runners. Like the court, there is no fixed uniform. The players usually play in whatever clothing that they are wearing although they usually play in the clothing mentioned above.
Rules of play
At the beginning of a dodgeball game, the balls are lined up on the central dividing line (in some versions of the game, the balls are thrown in the air for the players to catch or divided evenly to both the teams pre-match). The players then rush towards the center line simultaneously and try to grab one of the dodgeballs and throw or roll it backwards to their teammates (they cannot pick up a ball and throw it instantly). This is known as the opening rush. Once the game has commenced, players throw balls at members of the opposing team in an attempt to eliminate their players.
When a player has been hit by a dodgeball on the full (i.e., without hitting the roof, the floor, any of the walls, or an outside object and rebounding off) and no one catches it before it becomes dead, that player has been eliminated and must move to his team's designated bench area (players are still out if the ball rebounds off another dodgeball and/or player and hits them on the full). The same rule applies if any number of people try to catch the ball but drop it. Depending on the rules and variation, "headshots" (balls thrown in dodgeball that hit an opposing player in the head) may either result in the thrower being out, or the person being hit being out.
If a player catches a ball thrown by the opposing team on the full, then the player who threw the ball is eliminated and the team that caught the ball can reinstate the player that has been out the longest (some variations increase the reinstatement limit). As long as the ball has been caught in any way and is held for two seconds, the thrower is out (i.e., even if the ball is caught between the legs, the thrower is still out). If a dodgeball hits an opposing player but gets caught by one of the hit player's teammates, the thrower is out, a player gets reinstated, and the player who got hit stays in. If the dodgeball game is played on a basketball court and a player throws the ball and it goes into the opposing basket and/or it hits the basketball backboard on the full, the whole team gets resurrected. (The ball is still counted to have hit the backboard or scored a basket on the full if it rebounded off another dodgeball or it was deflected into the backboard by an opposing player). If the ball hits the backboard supports and/or the ring but fails to hit the backboard or go into the hoop, there is no effect. Players cannot be caught out if the ball hits the backboard, backboard supports, and/or the ring.
Players can pick up dead balls and throw them back at the other team. Players are allowed to leave the confines of the court to gather balls that have rolled out of bounds, but cannot throw the ball until they are back inside the court. A ball thrown from outside the court cannot eliminate an opponent who is hit. It only succeeds in getting the thrower automatically eliminated. If that ball however is caught on the full, the opposition can reinstate the player that has been out the longest from their team. A player who moves completely out of bounds when a ball is thrown at them and does not catch that ball is also eliminated. If a player moves into the opponent's zone or picks up a ball from inside the opponent's zone without it fully rolling inside their zone, that player is out. Players can also get eliminated if their throw hits an opponent on the head, displays bad sportsmanship, or cheats. Kicking the balls is prohibited.
Depending on the rules of a particular game, a ball in the possession of a player can be used to block incoming balls thrown by the opposing team.
Once all the players on one team are eliminated, the game ends.
In popular culture
In literature, dodgeball in which smaller or weaker children are forced to play against older and stronger children is sometimes depicted as licensed bullying for the amusement of cruel gym teachers. Other writers retain better memories of it.
- In the Babymouse series' 2nd book Babymouse: Our Hero, Babymouse plays dodgeball; she fails as a kindergartener but defeats her nemesis in the game when older. Dodgeball has made appearances in other books such as Babymouse: Heartbreaker & Babymouse: The Musical.
- The 2004 movie Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story is generally credited with reviving interest in the sport, especially among young adults, despite referencing the sport as being about "violence, exclusion and degradation".
- The South Park episode "Conjoined Fetus Lady" and Season 1 of Freaks and Geeks depict dodgeball as a potentially violent sport.
- In The Simpsons episode "My Fair Laddy", the new gym teacher Coach Krupt has the students play "Bombardment", a variant of dodgeball where Krupt throws balls at students while screaming "Bombardment".
- In TV sitcom According to Jim, Jim, the main character, while a kid, hits Pierson with a dodgeball during a game. Pierson calls for a timeout, but Jim argues that dodgeball does not have timeouts. Pierson never forgives Jim for that hit even after 30 years, when he becomes a vicar.
- In the movie Chicken Little during gym class, the little animals appear to be playing dodgeball.
- The TV show Warehouse 13 featured a Baylor Dodgeball, stored in the Warehouse for causing the deaths of 5 military cadets during training. It can launch itself at high speeds and multiplies upon contact. Reverts to a single ball if one is caught.
- In the game Bully at sportive hours in gym.
- In the Total Drama Island episode "Dodgebrawl", the campers compete in a game of dodgeball.
- In the series Ed, Edd n Eddy, the character Edd never removes his hat from his head due to what he calls the "dodgeball incident."
- In the 2006 movie Jackass: Number Two, one of the skits involves playing dodgeball both in the dark and using medicine balls rather than traditional dodgeballs.
- In the Discovery Channel series Wreckreation Nation, host Dave Mordal competes in a WASA Dodgeball tournament in Denver, Colorado.
- In Greek, the ZBZs take on the IKIs in an all-girl match, resulting in a winning blow by Jordan to Frannie.
- In Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters, Percy and his friend Tyson must play a dodgeball game to the death against cannibal giants who want to eat him.
- The film Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium has a magical closet with a knob that turns to change rooms like the room of balls, where the three boys are amazed to see. It has every kind of ball including the red gigantic dodgeball standing as a curious boy named Jason (played by Isaac Durnford) opens the curtains by pulling the elegant rope. The ball bigger than him has the black letter "M" (which stands for Magorium) on it and when he touches it with his pointing fingertip, it rolls amongst him and when the door is sealed, he gets squished by the ball he touched. Mr. Edward Magorium opens the door and describes the giant ball as "impossible to dodge".
- In Episode S1E2 of Dexter's Laboratory, the protagonist is forced to play dodgeball in P.E., resulting in him being bullied in the process. He eventually takes revenge on his bullies with the help of a freshly invented Powered exoskeleton, dodgeball-style.
- In episode 'Letters' of M*A*S*H (season 9, episode 2), the doctors receive letters from school children asking various questions. One child says she would be rather playing dodgeball, but her teacher is making her write the letter.
- In the TV show 'Glee', this game becomes an important part of the character Kurt's campaign. He describes it a "modern day stoning."
In addition, the dangerous nature and associated risks of dodgeball have resulted in controversies, lawsuits, and calls to eliminate the game from school physical education programs.
- The largest game of dodgeball was played by 4,488 participants. It was organized by the University of California, Irvine on September 21, 2011.
- The longest game of dodgeball was played on April 5–6, 2011 at the Washington Avenue Armory in Albany, New York by the teams Hometown Dodgeball and Albany Dodgeball. The game lasted for 31 hr 11 min 13 sec.
Similar in concept, Japanese dodgeball have rules not found in other variations of rule sets. For example, the number of steps a player can take after receiving the ball is limited. Only one ball is played. The type of ball used is also different from the type commonly used in North America.
Usage in American vernacular
In some American idioms, the act of avoiding something or someone mildly unpleasant can be referred to as 'playing dodgeball.' Additionally, in a variant of the same concept, the term "dodgeball" is sometimes used to describe a situation in which an individual is caught between two untenable positions, in a reference to the version of the game in which players from the same team can surround opposing players from two opposite sides.
- U.S. intercollegiate dodgeball champions
- ^ Ford, Jeffrey (2007), "Botch Town", in Jonathan Strahan, Best Short Novels 2007, Science Fiction Book Club, pp. 472–473, ISBN 978-1-58288-267-3
- ^ Rhodes, Richard (1990), A Hole in the World (Anniversary ed.), University Press of Kansas, p. 159, ISBN 978-0-6716-9066-3, http://books.google.com/?id=gSh5AAAAMAAJ&q=dodgeball+%22my+sport%22&dq=dodgeball+%22my+sport%22, retrieved 2009-08-16
- ^ All Grown Up, Dodgeball Hurtles Toward a Higher Popularity
- ^ School dodgeball goes to court in New York
- ^ http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2011/09/uc-irvine-sets-dodgeball-record.html]
- ^ dodgeball/59992.htm
- ^ Mike Leonard, "Boy's letter about MCCSC dodgeball ban strikes a nerve" (September 4, 2011), Herald-Times (Bloomington, Indiana).
- ^ Tim Delaney and Tim Madigan, Sports: Why People Love Them! (2009). University Press of America: p. 4.
- ^ Jim Burns, Uncommon Games and Icebreakers (2008). Gospel Light: p. 30.
- ^ Adrian Beasley, The Outdoor Book for Adventurous Boys: Essential Skills and Activities for Boys of All Ages (2008). Globe Pequot: p. 69.
- D'Angelo, Chris (2008). If you got the Guts, We got the Balls: A book about Dodgeball. Dangerous Chris Print. ISBN 9780578015644
- Keyes, A. (2005). The Complete Book About Dodgeball. AuthorHouse. ISBN 1420875485
- International Dodgeball Federation rule book
- YMCA School Playground Partners: Dodgeball Games YMCA of San Diego County
- Dodgeball Nation Information on Dodgeball event and leagues from around the world.
- National Dodgeball League, directions for member clubs, and leagues in the United States.
- National Amateur Dodgeball Association
- National College Dodgeball Association
- International Dodge Ball Federation
- UK Dodge Ball Association
- San Diego Dodgeball Leagues
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