Dodgeball as a Metaphor
This is basically a free ad for Skyzone. I'm glad there was no Skyzone when I was 10 or else I would've bugged my parents to go every single day until they strangled me. My wife and I take our kids to Skyzone once a year or so and my son even played in a dodgeball league for a session. Point is, today my son wanted to go to Skyzone, but all of his friends were busy, so I sacked up and tried my hand at some jumping.
It was fun, but in the back of my mind, I worried about blowing out my knees, so I did some light jumping to start. My son wanted to do dodgeball, so we meandered over there and found 2 courts open, one 12 and under and one 12+. He's 11, so he went toward the younger court. I said if he went to the older court, I'd play with him, there were 2 other Dads playing. He agreed and that's were our story begins.
About 12 players aside, youngest probably my son at 11, but most kids were13-15, mostly males, but a few teenage girls (and 2 other Dads). Ref said go, I bounced twice on the trampoline, then a dodgeball hit me square in the chest. I was out in, like, 10 seconds, didn't even try to catch the ball. I felt like the other players could see me wearing a giant imaginary dunce cap.
Bounced 5 times, out again, by the same 15 year old punk. My son was one of the last kids left on the winning team. I saw one of the other Dads get hit square in the face. At first I thought he was ready to fight, but after 2 or 3 seconds, he remembered where he was and smiled.
It was here where I had my epiphany. I was watching my son in game 2 when a thin, athletic 16 year old girl grabbed a dodgeball toward the back of the court and charged to the front at full speed. On the opposite side was a portly 13 year old boy who was walking slowly across the court. The girl screamed, "are you in, or are you out?" He said, "I'm in-" and a split second later, that girl tattooed that dodgeball square between his testicles. The boy immediately fell to the ground and began to cry. Dodgeball is awesome.
My 2 new goals are
-Don't Be the First One Out
I hung around toward the back with my son until the first player was knocked out. After a minute or two, a ball rolled up to my feet. I picked up that ball, channeled my inner 12 year old, and I brazenly charged to the front, looked left, and hit a kid on the right square in the back. He yelled and his friend thew a ball that went between my legs, about 2 inches south of my testicles. BUT I WAS STILL IN. 30 seconds later, I was out, but my team won and my son was still in.
My son is clearly better at dodgeball than I am, but that's okay. Only goal is not to embarrass myself. First time I got the ball, I knocked out two other players with one throw. That was my victory, Our team won, but not because of me. As I stood watching my son after I got knocked out, I felt like I was at Vegas playing with house money. Time to cash out before injury or embarrassment ultimately arrived. Thankfully my son approached me, beat red and sweating profusely, "can we take a break?"
"If you insist."