Dodging the Dodgeball

NDL_amateur_gameI remember playing dodgeball when I was in elementary school. All of the players are divided into two teams. Each team stands in a straight line facing (standing opposite and looking at) each other with a large space between the two teams. One member of a team takes a large heavy rubber (thick flexible plastic) ball and throws it at the other team members, hoping to hit a player. If a player is hit, he or she is out of the game. If the player catches the ball, then the thrower (person throwing the ball) is out. That’s how dodgeball was played in my school.

Few playground games require its players to throw something as hard as you can, with the intention (purpose) of hitting the other players. And who are the targets (things or people you want to hit)? They’re not the big, tall, fast athletic players. They’re the short, weak (not strong), slow players. So in dodgeball, the littlest players are the most often hit. I was little. I got hit a lot. I hated dodgeball.

In recent years, however, dodgeball has made a resurgence (increasing in popularity after a period of little activity or interest), not among children, but among adults. Adults are forming recreational (for fun) dodgeball teams and playing in leagues (group of teams that play and try to beat each other).

These games are very different from the schoolyard (area where you play near a school) games of dodgeball. While the teams may want to win and some players take it very seriously, for many leagues, it is only partly about competition (trying to beat other players or teams). A large part of the appeal (attraction; interest) is social (relating to other people) – meeting people, having fun, and being a part of a social group.

For this reason, some of the teams have silly (funny) names, have a mix of men and women, include longtime athletes and people who have never played sports, and often end in some social activity, such as having a drink at the local bar. Some teams even play in silly costumes (clothes to make you look like someone or something), with loud music playing in the background.

Dodgeball has become so popular among adults in some cities that there was even a comedy film made about it in 2004 called DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story. (An underdog is a competitor who isn’t expected to win.)

I’ve read that dodgeball has become popular in other countries. Is dodgeball popular where you live? In your city, are there recreational adult teams and leagues that play games or sports not normally played competitively?

~ Lucy

Photo Credit: NDL amateur game from Wikipedia

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14 Responses to Dodging the Dodgeball

  1. Dan says:

    Hello folks,

    Again, I saw many scenes referring to the game in American movies.

    In Italy it is called “prisoner ball”. Do not ask me why. Probably because the guy you hit becomes your prisoner. I am just guessing.

    Dear Lucy, I am so sorry you got hit so often at school. I feel like I wanna hug you for that.

    I do not remember playing it when at school, and having no kids I am not aware whether is played or not today. I guess it is played.

    Just the other day, I was looking on the dictionary for the term “color dodge” relating to a software like Photoshop (Gimp)

    Thank you Lucy

  2. Aécio Flávio Perim says:

    Yes, it’s true. In Brazil this game is called “QUEIMADA” and children love to play it in the afternoon in the frontyard of his homes. I remember when I was hit by the ball and was taken out of the game. It is an innocent game and brings a lot of fun. Old times!
    Aecio from beautiful Brazil.

  3. Lassana says:

    Hi Everyone,
    Hi Dr Lucy,

    Thanks for this very nice topic.
    It’s reminding me my youthfulness, when I was teenager, I had liked it.

    I don’t know if there are contests of this kind of game here in France.
    But a lot of young people like play at this game.

    It’s also proposed to pupils. When I was teenager, one of my sport teachers had proposed this game during a quarter of year. It was very nice and all my fellows have enjoyed play at this game.

    Thanks for reminding me these old times!


  4. Cauat says:

    Hi Lucy,
    Like you, I very hated dogeball! Here in China, I’m not sure how this game became popular in a short period of time when I studied in middle school.
    But while the player throws the ball to the other side, players could move in the little playground to doge the ball, also you could catch it.
    It just too many players! But even worse, this game with no teamwork to me, just like a boring game to bully other smalls!
    So, as I mentioned before ,it just popular for a short period in school. I think the most popular game here is basketball.

    best regards,


  5. Thona says:


    In Cambodia also play this game. It’s called ( Bos Chhoung ) in Khmer’s language.
    We always play in Khmer’s new year occasion.
    I remember that the loser have to sing and dance to respect the winner.

    Thanks for reminding me.

  6. emiliano says:

    First time I have listened about this game sorry Lucy but here I don´t know anything about it.

    Here there was a game similar to that we call it “Pies Quietos” and in fact was something like
    having two teams that was behind a line, but also could not be two teams, was something like
    eliminate one to onother and at the end of the play it was won by the one who remains safe.

    All players remind under a line, there is a ball in front of them at some distance, one of the
    players doesn´t play but said alout the name of one of the rest of the people who are behind
    the line. This one who is named run to take the ball and once he/she has the ball held said
    alous “Stop feet”….”Pies Quietos”…and all the players stand on their place without moving
    their feets.
    The player with the ball try to hit one of the other players who remain without moving their
    feets. If he/she hit one of the player this one is out the game, but if he/she doesn´t hit any
    this player it is eliminate from the game.
    Again the same action, all the players after the line, one of them called one of players and
    this one run to the ball. pmce the bold in his/her hands said alout “Pies quietos” and so forth.

    It is posible to form two teams, more interesting, or playing it without teams.

    I used to play this game with my daughters and nephews when they were children, and it
    was really funny.
    Also it was played on the schoolyards or in the field if you are in a safe place with not cars.

    Now I do think children do not play to it at least in the big cities. It is difficult to remain in
    the streets or find a place to play it. So it is better to play with the pc. or the play station.

    Another time, another way of playing.

    Well, as always sorry about the mistakes but I am not going to read the thext again. It is
    boring. I prefer just writing in the same way I could be talking with other friends.

    My best dear Lucy, as Lassana said you make us reminding other old times when we were
    children or we were Young with Little children beside us, my daughters and other friend´s sons.


  7. Peter says:

    Well,dodgeball is a silly game unless it is played with girls.
    What is the point of throwing and catching games with guys.
    We did play it every time we managed to talk girls into it otherwise it was a wate of time.
    With girls it is all exciting and fun. With guys , it is as boring as it can get.
    Dodgeball used to be popular here back in high school time.
    Nowadays , I barly see people even talk about it.


  8. Dan says:

    Hey guys,

    I am writing again, just to let you know that yesterday morning at five, when I was leaving for work I have spotted Mr Hedgehog.

    This is the first time this year I see it. In the afternoon I went and bought a couple of apples. He likes apples..

    This morning I checked the half apple ( I ate the other part of it) and to my satisfaction, it had marks of Hedgehog teeth on it.

    Sharing an apple with Mr Hedgehog it ‘s been an honor for me and source of joy.

    By the way, the cats looked at it suspiciously…

    That’s all, thank you all guys.

  9. Parviz says:

    Hi Lucy
    At least we learned what you were you up to when you were in primary school.
    Any way, we used to play a version of this game, where two persons would stand at each extreme of the playground and would throw the ball at a number of people in the middle.
    If someone got hit he/she was out. And s/he caught the ball he would have the privilege for a second hit.
    I liked this game very much. Cause I was very good at throwing the ball fast and far. I rarely missed the targets. They have difficulty dodging my throws.
    What made it more fun for me was that we played this game with girls. As they were slow and small they would get hit easily.
    There were some wicked girls that I was biased against. And I’d throw the ball hard at them, purposely.
    And that added more to the fun, when wanted to bribe me.
    Thank you Dear Lucy for bringing that memory up.
    I was having fun playing this game.

  10. emiliano says:

    Dear Jeff, Lucy, Warren and ALL FRIENDS OF THE ELS BLOG

    If you want to see pictures of my trip to London, and any more, just write on google
    the words

    emiliano gatufo

    it´s enough, several pages of google will open and you may see photos of London
    and some other more. Also the blog where emiliano writes even some videos
    of YouTube.

    That´s all, thanks to every one who take a look to my last work. It has been to me
    a happy very happy trip to London, since now also my City.



  11. Parviz says:

    Hi emiliano,
    I look at your pictures. I think you are a cute guy.
    Your picture are fascinating.

  12. emiliano says:

    Thanks dear Parviz, good news you could look them
    I hope other could do the same.


  13. Anna says:

    Hello everyone,

    We have similar game here in Uzbekistan, the name is “Vibivali” (Throw off). The idea is the same to avoid a throwing ball. Players from one team (let’s call “team A”) should stay in a center of a playground and try to duck from a ball (only one ball is used). Two players from the other “team B”(usually the strongest one) stay behind and infront of the team A tossing the ball in them. It is easy to hit players when there are lots of them in a center (5-7 persons). The best thing is that the last person who managed to stay not being hit, can return the team back if he/she catches the ball enough quantity of times for everyone.
    Well, I remember I was good at it. When I see children in our yard playing “Vibivali” I wish I could play with them. Hahaha, I think I would stick out like a sore thumb. I regred we don’t have the same leagues here in Tashkent.

    Thanks Lucy for the interesting topic. As usually, contribute a lot reading the blog.


  14. Val says:

    Yes, dodgeball is pretty popular game among children in Russia and Kazakhstan, and it has always been. I remember myself participating in that. But I personally haven’t seen adults playing this game, though maybe someone plays. Games like volleyball are much more popular among adults.

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