Xyra: I have no idea what planet you were playing on.

Dodgeball is a game in which members of opposing teams chuck heavy foam balls at each other over the line of a divided court and scream a lot.
Reccomended number of Players:
10; 5 on each team. No less than 6 or it sucks.

Field of Play:
Any good outdoor playground worth its salt will have an actual Dodgeball court spray painted on its surface. This is usually a rectangle divided exactly in half, each team gets a half. I would guess that Dodgeball courts have about 2/3rds the surface area of a Basketball court though when the weather sucks, an indoor Basketball gym is a likely candidate for a replacement. Pro Dodgeball players prefer a slightly smaller court so that the cowards don't have a place to fall back to. Basketball courts are notorious for offering a safe haven for the wienies. Using masking tape to section off the field is a great way to solve that problem.

Rules: The rules for Dodgeball are pretty straightforward. This is another "House Rules" Sort of game, "Called Rules" are generally not acceptable due to the large number of players involved. Some rules may or may not include:
  • Outs: Outs occur when a person is hit with a ball and then the ball drops to the ground and when someone breaks another optional rule as described below.
  • Line Outs: No respectable game of Dodgeball will lack the almost crucial middle line out rule in which anyone who crosses or even touched the middle dividing line is instantly out of play. Encouraged optional rules include side and back outs in which the sidelines and backline of the playing field are also enforced with outs.
  • Catches: Catching the ball always means that the catcher is NOT out. In a lot of cases people play with the optional rule that when a person catches a ball thrown by the opposing team, one of his team members gets to come back into the game. If this is the case, all players who are "out" form a line on the sidelines. Whoever is at the beginning of the line is the next to come back in should a catch occur. I favor the catch-back-in rules, but some people play that once you are out you are out until the game is clearly won and a new game is started. Should a person be hit by a ball and catch it before it hits the ground, they are not out. Should a ball hit a person and a teammate catches the ball, they are not out. Should a ball hit a person and it fly back to the other side of the court where an opponent catches the ball, they are in that case out. Should a ball bounce off someone and hit someone else and then hit the ground (no matter what team the second person is on), it can be played that they are both out. That rule is optional and should be called before play.
  • Multiple Balls: There is of course the option to play with more than one ball. This makes the game quite interesting and adds a certain element of strategy to the game. Should one side hog all of the balls up and throw them all at once, it greatly increases their chances of hitting an opponent.
Team Play: Team play is a major part of this game. You want to make sure to protect your good throwers. and let the good catchers stick it out in the front as the throwers retreat back.

Winners: The winning team is the team that has one or more players left when the other team has none.

Back to The REAL Games Metanode
When I was in Boy Scouts, we used to play a highly-structured version of dodgeball; we had another name for it, but it's been two years and many life changes and I can't remember what it was. It was fairly similar to the dodgeball described in moJoe's excellent writeup, incorporating some of the house rules as "official" rules:

  • We always played with two Foursquare balls, no more, no less.
  • When someone was "out", they went into an "Out zone" outside the opposite team's boundary line. If the ball crossed the boundary line, say from a powerful throw by Team 1, any 1 (pun intended) Out could get the ball and throw it at Team 2; if they hit a 2, the thrower ran back to Team 1's "in" territory (they were immune from hits until they reentered the In) and the 2 hit was Out.
    A popular strategy was for a team to hold onto one ball and throw the other over the heads of the opposing team to their purgatory, creating a "squeeze play".
  • If someone was thrown at and they were holding a ball, they sometimes were able to bounce the incoming away using their held ball; this did not count as a "hit" against the holder.
    If, however, someone holding a ball was hit, they could not take the ball with them to Out.
  • If the ball was thrown and someone from the other team caught it, the thrower was "out"; if it bounced against multiple people and then touched the ground without being caught, everyone hit was "out"; if it bounced against someone and got stuck in the bushes lining the commercial driveway where we always played, it hadn't touched the ground and so didn't count as an "out".
    • The court was shaped thusly:
      2222|                 |                  |1111
      2222|                 |                  |1111
      2222|      Team       |      Team        |1111
      2222|        1        |        2         |1111
      2222|                 |                  |1111
      2222|                 |                  |1111
      2222|                 |                  |1111
      where the shaded areas were where the "out" people went,
      numerals indicating which team went where.

There is actually a National American Dodgeball Association. Tournaments are held regularly in Schaumburg, Illinois - both indoor and outdoor. Dodgeball has been banned in some school districts and many more are contemplating banning it. The rationale is: "Dodge ball is one of those games that encourages aggression and the strong picking on the weak." I prefer the game as described by Bathail - that's the way we played 30 years ago in elementary school.

The following is an abbreviated version of the rules printed in the Official NADA Rule Book:

THE TEAM Teams will be made up of 6-10 players. A minimum of 6 players will compete on a side; others will be available as substitutes. Substitutes may enter the game only during timeouts or in the case of injury.

THE FIELD The game may be played indoors or outdoors. The playing field shall be a rectangle at least 50 ft long and at least 30 ft wide, divided into two (2) equal sections by a center boundary line.

The official ball used in tournament and league play will be an 8" rubber-coated foam ball. Participants must wear shoes. No metal cleats will be allowed.

The object of the game is to eliminate all opposing players by getting them "OUT". This may be done by:

1. Hitting an opposing player with a thrown ball below the shoulders.
2. Catching a ball thrown by your opponent before it touches the ground.
Game begins by placing the dodgeballs along the center line. Players then take a position behind their end line. Following a signal by the official, teams may approach the centerline to retrieve the balls. This signal officially starts the contest.

The first team to legally eliminate all opposing players will be declared the winner. A 10-minute time limit has been established for each contest. If neither team has been eliminated at the end of the 10 minutes, the team with the greater number of players remaining will be declared the winner. In the case of an equal number of players remaining after regulation, a 3-minute sudden-death overtime period will be played.

Each team will be allowed one (1) 60 second timeout per game. At this time a team may substitute players into the game.

Rules will be enforced primarily by the "honor system"*. Players will be expected to rule whether or not a hit was legal or whether they were legally eliminated. All contests will be supervised by a field monitor*. The field monitor's responsibility will be to rule on any situation in which teams cannot agree. THE FIELD MONITOR'S DECISION IS FINAL - NO EXCEPTIONS.

*Exception: During tournament play, All Semi-Final and Final Round matches will be officiated by no less than three (3) N.A.D.A. Officials. These officials will rule on all legal hits, out-of-bounds and 5-second violations.
During play, all players must remain within the boundary lines. Players may leave the boundaries only to retrieve stray balls.

Matches will be decided using a "best-of-three" format in which the first team to win two (2) games will be declared the winner.

Protests will only be accepted in cases involving use of an ineligible player. Protests of judgment calls will not be accepted.

N.A.D.A. Code of Conduct
1. Understand, appreciate and abide by the rules of the game.
2. Respect the integrity and judgment of game officials and N.A.D.A staff.
3. Respect your opponent and congratulate them in a courteous manner following each match whether in victory or defeat.
4. Be responsible for your actions and maintain self-control.
5. Do not taunt or bait opponents and refrain from using foul or abusive language.

A True Underdog Story

This 2004 comedy, written and directed by newcomer Rawson Marshall Thurber, is about two gym owners and the dodgeball game that decides their fates.

The improbably named White Goodman (Ben Stiller) is the owner of the fabulously successful chain, Globo Gym ("We're better than you and we know it" is their motto); he is a sleazy preener with a buff body and a skin-tight body suit. Across the street from one of his gyms sits the shabby Average Joe's, owned by Peter La Fleur (Vince Vaughn), a friendly shlub who doesn't have a business bone in his body.

La Fleur finds himself threatened with foreclosure of his mortgage after ignoring repeated warning letters; he can only save his business by coming up with $50,000 fast. He's ready to give up, but his posse of misfit customers hatch a plan: they're going to go to Las Vegas and win the dodgeball tournament run by the ADAA (American Dodgeball Association of America), getting the prize money, which is exactly $50,000!! But White, who's itching to buy out Average Joe's and add it to his empire, gets wind of the scheme and puts together a team of his own, determined to take the prize.

There's lots of jokes, some funny, some less so, and plenty of physical gags; thankfully, the potty humour is kept to a minimum. The actual tournament scenes are quite realistic - and will make you relive your high school days with joy or dread, depending on how it was for you then.

But the best part is Stiller, who will do anything for a laugh at his own expense. He sits in his office with electrodes clamped to his nipples, giving himself shocks to train himself to avoid junk food. He inflates his crotch to bulging heights before meeting Kate (Christine Taylor, Stiller's real-life wife), the pretty banker who's handling both gyms' business. He hits on Kate repeatedly, not being put off when the very thought makes her gag ("Some cultures eat only vomit" he chirps obliviously; "I read it in a book!") When he goes to her house to try to win her over, he wears a white leather leisure suit that compliments his feathered hair and fu manchu moustache perfectly.

Matching the manic Stiller for heights of absurdity is the crazed former dodgeball champ Patches O'Houlihan (Rip Torn) who shows up to train the clueless team from Average Joe's. His bag of tricks includes wrenches, which he throws at the hapless newbies (because "if you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball") as he teaches them the five D's of dodgeball: dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge. By comparison, Vaughn practically sleepwalks through his role.

Approach this movie for what it is - an unapologetically low-brow comedy that roots for the nerds over the jocks - and you might find it quite fun. I did.

Oh, and keep watching to the end: there's an extra scene you'll miss if you stop watching when the credits begin to roll.

Dodgeball is good, but in grade school, myself and some friends came up with something even better. My school had itself a well stocked gym, one which they rented out as well. Some enterprising young classmate of mine decided to rent out the gym for a birthday party. Having access to all the gym equipment meant that we had oodles of choices over what games to play. After a few rounds of floor hockey (yes, if you are asking, I Am Canadian!) and more cake than you could shake a stick at, we invented what I consider the Best. Sport. Ever.

We never named it, but if I had to choose a name now, I'd probably go with "Dodgestuff".

You see, that was the point. It wasn't just the normal rubber balls we were a-dodging, but basketballs, volleyballs, rubber chickens, fuzzy dice, baseball gloves, and almost anything else we could get our hands on. We did mutually assent to making certain objects illegal to throw, such as baseballs, medicine balls, and hockey sticks.

Aside from our choice of weaponry, we changed the whole point from "Two equal teams going at it like rabid chimpanzees going after carjackers" to "One team attacks, the other defends, both going at it like rabid chimpanzees going after carjackers". One team would be defending from the stage on one side of the gym. We'd take the massive High Jump mats, stack them on top of each other, and the defending team would hide behind them. The other team would be out on the gym floor, and would try to attack the "base". The attacking team would use hockey nets (and whatever else they could find) as mobile shields to hide behind.

We ended up playing this game multiple times, so I ended up creating a number of strategies for it:

  • Taking Hockey goalie pads (lower leg pads, specifically), and strapping them to your arm makes an excellent shield. Just use it to bat incoming balls, chickens, what have you out of the way.
  • Actually, any form of padding is useful for blocking incoming projectiles. I believe one of my friends just carried around a gymnastics mat in front of him, knocking balls to the side. Then, when a veritable armory of weapons lay all around him, he'd drop the mat, grab the armaments, and scurry to a good firing position.
  • Rubber Chickens own all. Seriously. Our school had literally a bucket full of rubber chickens. Just grab one by the comb (the frill on the top of the head), and whip it at people like a Shuriken. It was my favourite piece of weaponry by far.
  • Right in the thick of battle, get your team to stop firing. Because we had a limited number of projectiles, if the other team keeps firing without realizing what our team was doing, we could gain a monopoly on projectiles, and could storm the other team!

I really recommend this game. It doesn't really have a winner or loser, it requires teamwork, quick thinking, and creativity, and it can be done with whatever objects you have on hand. It's a great game. Ahh, the memories.

I take no responsibility for injuries or destruction of property caused by playing this game. We had our fair share of injuries (no serious one, but everyone came out with at least a couple bruises), and some property destruction (I'm glad my school never realized why all those rubber balls were popped), so play at your own risk!

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