Judy Kucharuk: The newly invented, politically correct perils of dodgeball


Red Rover! Red Rover! Please send your common sense over!

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In a world where we nitpick obscure topics of interest with the same relish that a momma monkey picks bugs from her baby’s fur, I bring you the Dodgeball Controversy.

When a group of B.C. researchers with too much time on their hands got together at a conference organized by the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, it was suggested the game of dodgeball is, and I quote, “a game of oppression.” 

OK, I can get behind a statement like, “Dodgeball is stupid with no redeeming qualities,” but are we actually going to call it oppression?

For thousands of years, in the absence of organized or supervised play, children have come up with a myriad of games using their own imaginations. Heck! They even created a game during the plague called Ring around the Rosie.

That isn’t to say that all of these game incarnations are appropriate, safe or appropriate to play during an organized physical education class, but projecting the term oppression is a bit heavy-handed.

The game of Red Rover could qualify for the same rhetoric as dodgeball. An inane game with few redeeming features, Red Rover encourages children to run as fast as they can and try and break through a chain of clasped hands. Of course, they choose the weakest link as their point of entry, therefore that game must also be included in the list of games that promote oppression.

What about the game of Tag? Could we not agree that, held to the same standards as dodgeball and Red Rover, that whomever is “it” is also being oppressed? Especially if the one voted as “it” is smaller, weaker and slower than the other children? 

Like I said, we nitpick obscure topics until they bleed while there are other, more pressing matters in the world to discuss.

What about overcrowded classrooms where only a percentage of children are able to flourish because of the competition for the attention of the teacher? What about our teacher shortage in British Columbia where districts are left with no choice but to hire individuals without a teaching background just to keep the classroom door open?

 Of course, that subject matter isn’t quite as exciting as doing a deep dive into the perils of dodgeball.

Judy Kucharuk is a lover of sarcasm, witty people and footnotes. You can follow her on twitter @judylaine

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