Murray Williams lives and works in Northwest Arkansas. He tries to keep his blog up-to-date, but the pressures of life squeeze in and sometimes he just doesn't have the time. You can check out his full site at


Dodge Ball Forever

The sport of choice amongst the Junior Highers of FSM is definitely dodge ball. During the recent trip to Kansas City to do some work with the homeless, I found out the power of the dodge ball. Everyday we would wake up, eat some breakfast, and head to the City Union Mission to work. After work, the onslaught of one question would come. "Hey Murray, can we go and play dodge ball?" Wow, I must have heard it a million times.

I can't blame them though, when I was in Elementary School and Junior High, dodge ball was always my favorite PE activity. I guess there is something very exciting about lining up on either side of a gym, waiting for the whistle to begin the match, and staring into the eyes of the opponent longing to blast them with a red playground ball.

It speaks to the man/boy in me. It is visceral. It is war. I have never fancied being in the army or going to war, but there is something deep in me that desires the simplicity of the dodge ball kill. From the long bomb kill, to the close range laser-beam kill, to the "oops...dangit!!" he caught my ball and now I'm out, it is a game that never seems to get old.

That was the problem in KC. It never got old for the students, so we played it over and over.

I made the mistake of thinking that the students might be getting a little bored of the same old basic rules of dodge ball so I came up with a couple of alternative ways to play. What gave me the idea was watching one of our students who was incredible at not getting out. He was so good that he would be the last one standing on his team facing an onslaught from 10 to 15 students on the opposing team. He could dodge 6 and 7 balls thrown simultaneously. It was incredible. It inspired me to come up with a new version of Dodge ball called "Onslaught". The rules are simple. Everyone except for one player lines up on one side leaving the single player to face the "Onslaught". The object of the game is to simply stay alive as long as possible. To play it you need a lot of dodge balls and a stopwatch. It sounded fun to me, but the students soon rebelled and cried out for the old standard...what do they know. Whatever.

After that, I just let the game go. Why mess with a classic? Chalk it up to a lesson learned. Dodge Ball Forever!


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