Dodgeball: Olympic Sport, My Ass
While there are many things I'd choose over dredging up memories from my screaming black nightmare of high school (like hand-washing Paris Hilton's unmentionables), I can't resist a good challenge.
My arch nemesis in high school was a girl I'll call Sporty Spice (even though her real name is Tracy Crawford). Sporty was a robust young woman, skilled in the Phys Ed arts. She was on the basketball, rugby, & bowling teams. Oddly enough, she was also a cheerleader. She was a mean girl. She was a Heather. Some people even thought she ruled the school.
But not I. I was the girl who had her period for four straight years in high school to avoid gym class. I cut PE to hide out in the bus parking lot and smoke cigarettes. I even once threatened to drop out of honors english so my teacher would talk the girl's volleyball coach (also my PE teacher) into letting me spend fourth period gym in the library. And even though I was the leather-jacket-and-black-eyeliner-wearing don't-f*ck-with-me-girl, Sporty decided to add another sport during our junior year: Random torture of the Queen of Saturday Detention, namely me.
Why me? I have a few theories. It might be that time in english class when I snorted out loud with barely contained hysterics when she read her essay, "why I love to cheer." Or the time I raised my hand in social studies and asked to move my seat because she hadn't showered after that afternoon's intramurals. I think the phrase I used was "smells like a goat's ass."
Her harassment predominantly consisted of passing me notes that said, "I'm going to kick your ass," and "Your [sic] a freak." And I think she once taped a picture of me cut out of our yearbook with the word "bitch" scrawled on it to my locker, but I can't be 100% sure it was her.
You might be asking, "KLo, WTF does this have to do with DODGEBALL, for crying out loud?" I'm getting there.
At the end of my junior year. I got called to the guidance counselor's office (yet again) to discuss my "nonparticipatory attitude with regards to specific requirements for graduation." One of them, with full compliance from my traitorous english teacher, was that I had to attend three full class periods of PE.
Ex-squeeze me? I ranted, I cajoled, I think I might have even summoned up a tear or two. But she refused to relent. Because it was in the last weeks of the year, my only option would be to attend the MWF schedule PE that involved the finals of a semester-long DODGEBALL tournament. Yes, people. In my high school, we didn't just PLAY dodgeball, we had TOURNAMENTS. The kicker? Sporty was one of the tourny leaders.
The first day I showed up for gym in my plaid boxer shorts, Converse high tops, and a Cure t-shirt, Sporty's eyes lit up like she'd just been handed the spirit stick at cheer camp. I knew I was in for it. Not only was I uncoordinated, I was also inexperienced in the ways of the "sport" that is dodgeball. In two 50-minute gym periods, I was pelted (pelted is too mild...it was more like battered) repeatedly. Once, I even ended up on the floor after taking a ball to the chest. It was social Darwinism at its finest.
On the final day, word had gotten around. The bleachers were peppered with students who were skipping another class to witness my humiliation. My rage had built up over the past week to the point of no return as I sat at home with ice packs on various body parts. The gods of savage teenage vengeance must have taken pity on me, because at some point during the game, I found myself clutching that red rubber ball. Instead of weakly lobbing it in her direction, hoping to peg her with the ball, I charged - breaking the rules and crossing the clearly marked line - until I got within three feet of my tormentor. Then I swung the ball up, with both hands, and smashed Sporty under her jaw. She fell backwards, the coach dragged me off the court toward her office, and the last thing I heard was Sporty, yelling "bith! You thupid bith!" Apparently, she had bitten almost all the way through her tongue.
To Coach Scary McThicklegs, I feigned ignorance: "But I didn't know I couldn't cross the line! I've never played before! I thought I was supposed to tag someone with the ball!" It worked, and I didn't even get a detention.
Game over. Freak girl 1, Sporty Spice 0.
So you want to know my real feelings about dodgeball? It's barbaric, stupid, and ridiculous. Yes, it takes skill to tag someone in the ass with a ball, but you're still TAGGING SOMEONE IN THE ASS WITH A BALL. It pits the mighty against the meek, which in my opinion, is akin to making an Olympic sport out of me playing Trivial Pursuit with chicks who have appeared in Girls Gone Wild videos. I prefer to pick on someone my own size, intellectually speaking.
A post script: I actually ran into Sporty Spice a few years ago, right around the time of our 10 year reunion (that I didn't attend). We had a really pleasant conversation about sports and Nike versus New Balance cross trainers. Because she works at Lady Foot Locker. At the mall. Full time.