Of Dodge Ball and Other Indignities

I am not athletic. I’ll just put that out there up front. But it’s probably no surprise, right? Bookish at a young age equals nerdy equals non-athletic. I do, indeed, fit that stereotype. I’m the girl who feared/loathed P.E. class.

I remember the embarrassment of being chosen last for a team, any team (or not chosen at all, and simply assigned as the leftover). I mean, really, who wants a scrawny girl who’s afraid of the ball on their team? I get it.

Endurance is a big word in the sports world, right? It’s important to build up your endurance. To go the distance. Yeah, well, for me, P.E. was all about endurance – enduring the class.

dodgeball-memeI ran across this dodge ball meme, and wondered if it was true. Do today’s kids miss out on the opportunity to be hit repeatedly by a red rubber ball? Oh, the memories this meme dredges up. Dodge ball and Red Rover were among the most humiliating games. I was such an easy target. Remember the chant? “Red Rover, Red Rover, send Darlene right over.” Not sure how that was fun for my opposing teams, but I certainly got my exercise in Red Rover. I could never break through the line, so I spent a lot of time running from one side to the other. Actually, volleyball may have been the worst. At least with dodge ball there was a chance the ball would hit me in the backside, or the leg. But with volleyball, what are the chances of it not hitting my face?! I’m looking up. The ball is coming down over the net. The physics of that trajectory put the ball squarely in my face. Volleyball was pegged as a girl sport. But I hated volleyball, even if it was a girlie game.

Sophomore year of high school we still had a P.E. requirement. For the love of God, would this never end? But, wait! There was a new course offering – drill team. And it could be counted as a P.E. credit. Hallelujah! It meant I could escape the swim semester of P.E. Unfortunately, my euphoria was short-lived. The class was run by a battle-axe of a drill sergeant. And it turned out that her vision of a drill team and mine were quite different. The group ended up being on the hokey side, in my 16-year-old opinion, complete with short white cowboy boots, cowboy hats and vests. If I had hoped to also gain a point or two in the popularity standings by being part of this new half-time entertainment show, it soon became apparent that would not happen. But the opposite was a definite possibility. I could not be on this team. So, it was a P.E. quandary. Go back and suffer through regular P.E. class or endure the humiliation of drill team? In a stroke of good fortune, a friend and I cut a deal with the battle-axe. We were allowed to drop off the team, but stay in the class as long as we showed up and learned the routines. Whew! It was a sweet compromise, but the longest semester of my life.

Okay, lest you think I am completely inept and uncoordinated, let me say I was better with ropes than balls. I was able to climb the long ropes dangling from the gym ceiling, and I did have one somewhat athletic claim to fame. In third grade, I was crowned the jump rope queen. Champion of the entire grade’s jump rope marathon. I jumped the hell out of that rope for what seemed like hours, almost giddy, watching my classmates drop one by one until only one boy and I were left. At that point, my arms ached, and my legs were starting to shake. But I. Was. Determined. I did not stop jumping that rope until I saw him go down. And then . . . well, with my usual athleticism, I basically collapsed. Let go of that rope and sank onto the floor – right down onto my ankle. So, wearing my crown of glory, I was wheeled out of the gym in a little red wagon. Not even kidding.

Ahhh, glory days.

And what are your athletic accomplishments?

4 thoughts on “Of Dodge Ball and Other Indignities

  1. WOW! Can I relate to the dodge ball and volleyball. I hated them. Dodge ball was the worst ever. But I have to say I played a pretty mean fast pitch softball game!!

    Like

  2. Darlene, I can totally relate. How many times did getting hit in the gut wuth a dodge ball knock the air out of me? And I went to a college with a year of PE required (ungraded, at least). Try being a short woman assigned to fence with a 6 foot tall guy.

    But I did learn to slalom waterski in high school. That’s my only athletic success.

    Thanks for bringing up bad memories!

    Theresa

    Like

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