- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
?Hot rice—A batter fungoes a Softball, and whoever catches it throws it back and tries to hit the batter.
?Machine-gun fire, hotball and battleball—These are versions whose names make the game's beligerent roots only too obvious.
?Water dodgeball—This is—surprise!—dodgeball played in the water.
?Pom-pom-pullaway—The player who is "it" has the ball. "It" shouts, "Pom-pom-pullaway, come away or I'll pull you away." The players must try to run to the opposite wall without being hit by the ball—difficult when you're doubled over with laughter at what the other player has just said. Snowball pom-pom-pullaway can be played in really frightful weather.
?Spud—"It" throws the ball up and everybody runs. When "it" catches the ball, he yells, "Halt!" Everyone stops, and "it" tries to hit the closest person. In dodgeball, there are variations on the variations. If plain spud gets too boring for you—or the gym teacher—there are poison spud, dribble spud or pickaback spud, to name but a few.
As far as I know, dodgeball is played primarily in physical education classes. The qualities that make dodgeball physically educational escape me. This is not to say it isn't educational in other ways, for example in motivating a child to learn the intricacies of forging a doctor's or parent's handwriting and familiarizing himself with the symptoms of beriberi and other disabling diseases that are likely to get you excused from gym class. But dodgeball may have deleterious effects on the mind. For example, merely contemplating the game seems to afflict the part of the brain that controls short-term memory. In my gym class alone, scores of boys had to be excused from participating because of an epidemic of I-forgot-my-athletic-supporteritis.
When I left secondary school, I left behind John Doe and dodgeball. But even now, when I wake up in the morning to the sound of rain, my first instinct is to take out a sheet of paper and begin to write in my mother's hand: "Richard is a little under the weather today. His beriberi is acting up again."