So a while back, the boy asked me to sign him up for dodgeball, because of SO MUCH FUN, MOM! JUST! SO! MUCH FUN!
And really? How can I say no to something that packs a fun punch like dodgeball does? The kids in my PE classes would play it EVERY SINGLE TIME they show up to the gym; they beg for it, in fact. I remind them daily that state teaching regulations INSIST that they have at least two NON-DODGEBALL days per year in gym class, so they whine while we drag out the parachute once in December and the basketballs once in January.
I think it’s because dodgeball rocks, unless you’re the petite little girl who likes to wear the frilly dresses with the big sashes that are reminiscent of Prom Night, 1988. I have that little girl in my 1st grade PE class, and she is not a fan of the dodgeball game. Not at all. And every time we take a vote in that class, the other 13 kids vote for dodgeball.
Her lone vote of LET’S JUST TWIRL IN OUR FANCY DRESSES AND MAYBE PUSH OUR AMERICAN GIRL DOLLS AROUND ON THE SCOOTERS gets shot down every single time. And then she usually ends up taking a dodgeball to the face and sitting in my lap on the sidelines to recover.
But, being the Mother of the Year that I am, I did sign the boy up for dodgeball at the local rec center, and let me tell you this one important thing:
Dodgeball, it seems, is a professional sport with EXTREMELY DETAILED rules and regulations and things you CAN DO and things you CANNOT DO, and oh my! My head spun from just reading the first page of the official league rulebook, so I skipped the other nine hundred and eighty-four pages, and I told the boy, “Just throw some balls out there and have some fun.”
This league, people, is not your typical PE class dodgeball.
It’s the Super Bowl of the sport, if you will.
We had no idea.
Thankfully, the boy’s good buddy, Kellen, was selected to be a random team captain, which meant that Kellen got to show up at the rec center one evening with five other randomly-selected boys, and they drafted players, exactly like the NFL does things. Bidding wars started; stats were looked at; bicep circumference was considered on each player. Apparently every child who had signed up to play was listed on a sheet of paper, and a number was written down right beside all of their names.
This number represented THEIR AGES, because the league is for kids between the ages of 10 and 14.
Kellen is a genuine math whiz, but when things were all said and done and the draft was final, people realized that the darling boy didn’t realize what those numbers represented.
Kellen, you see, picked his good friends to be on his dodgeball team, which is as things should be. Semper Fi, people. You don’t leave a friend behind. He has an entire team of 11 year olds.
And there are entire teams of 14 year olds.
We have none of those teenager-type people on our team. We are the youngest team… The shortest team… And also the cutest team.
And in our first game last Monday night, we were creamed beyond what a chef could ever hope to accomplish with a gourmet pea soup. We struggled to follow the complicated rules, after years of playing GHETTO dodgeball in PE class. And we had none of the testosterone that surges sometime AFTER age 11, so those 14 year olds drilled the ball like cannons at our short guys.
The boy took a ball to the face on Monday night and chipped a tooth. Oh, yes! We are sporting a dodgeball wound now that isn’t going to make our dentist smile.
But listen to this, people. We play double headers three nights a week. Each game is made up of six matches — winning four matches gives your team the victory and bragging rights, which 14 year old boys are good at doing when they shake hands after a game with a bunch of 5th graders who haven’t started to grow armpit hair yet. Yes, The Bullets (which is us) took a pummeling in both games on Monday night.
…well, our little team regrouped. We became the Little Engine Who Could. We became David, against Goliath. We were the Turtle, racing the Hare. And we beat two teams on Tuesday night, by the hair on our chinny-chin-chins, and then!
We replayed the team of 14-year-olds last night, and WE CRUSHED THEM!
Oh, people! Team Orange walked into the gym, and one of the taller ones who had already grown a mustache grinned and said out loud, “Oh, good! We play this short team of little boys! This’ll be easy!”
His pride went before his fall.
The Bullets put the smack down on them, winning 4 games to 2 last night, and Kellen’s mama, Sarah, and I cheered until we were plum hoarse! I never thought in my life that I would be cheering at a dodgeball game and yelling, “HIT HIM! HIT HIM!” from the sidelines, but that was me last night. And when Mustache Boy threw a zinger at my baby boy, and my baby boy CAUGHT IT, I pretty much jumped off the bleachers with thirty-two fist-pumps in the air and a whole lot of whooping that you can’t do as a spectator in a golf tournament.
Never underestimate The Bullets.
Before the game, Quinn and the boy sized the other team up. This is them saying, “That’s, like, a REAL mustache on that guy!”
(Well, you know my luck with a camera in a gym, under fluorescent lights. I twirl the ISO knob and push the F-stop button in crazy patterns, and shoot in any combination of different settings. Sometimes I get lucky and a picture turns out to be not so bad. The majority of the time, I might just as well be shooting with a disposable camera.)
The Bullets have learned to attack in groups of two or three. It doesn’t really matter if you’re as tall as a Wookie and 14 years old; when you have three or four dodgeballs blasted at you at once, it’s sort of difficult to dodge THEM ALL.
That’s strategy, people.
Bad pictures or not, those young Bullets are totally holding their own in this dodgeball league against all the junior high boys who have armpit hair. And deep voices. And who can touch the tops of door frames with their hands while standing flat-footed on the floor.
It’s because we’ve got spunk and grit and determination. And because our coach throws wrenches at The Bullets during practices.
“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.”
(Quick! What movie is that from?!)
Quinn, the boy and Kellen even took a moment to smile for the camera with their buddy, Bek…
This pack of boys makes me very happy.