Competitive Spirit



We had a cool Dodgeball Tournament as a back to school round up last Fall. It was a grand success! Over 100 kids showed up making red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and lots of other color teams representing 11 neighborhoods in brackets. The rules were simple:

  • Squads line up mid-field on either side of the court
  • They wait for the Ref to sound a Fox 40 whistle
  • Anticipating the Whirrp ♫
  • Off they go, scurrying for ammo!
  • Wham! Zap! Whoa … trip, roll … Owhh … Hey, you’re out!
  • But when they actually catch one mid-air, a teammate gets miraculously reincarnated ☰

The acoustics of the gymnasium make it really exciting too. Each amplified “whoomp” gets everyone caught up in the action! When the match is finally over though, there’s just one or two sole survivors. The lone victor represents the winning team that advances to a tougher bout. All the earlier casualties sit against the wall disengaged on their phones or cheering for their champion at least. Oddly enough the theme of the tournament was Build up the Body. We noticed the paradox too … so we agreed to have a debrief station during the bye round for a few quick questions:

Reflecting on the overall event what do the teams seem to represent?
What’s the feeling of the gym?
Does the theme fit the spirit of the game?

  • It’s us against them
  • Good vs. Evil (we’re always good, they’re always evil)
  • It’s Light vs. Dark
  • Emoting: it feels good to hit them, and even seems kind of violent

Fortunately we had time to follow up with transformative criticism. You do know they feel the same way about you right? They view you as evil and feel just as bad as you when hit by your flaming darts. So what are other ways we might re-imagine the whole match as more positive and collaborative? What might the teams represent then?

  • They’re zombies and we’re throwing light
  • We’re zombies and they’re throwing light (wait wha!?)
  • We throw uplifting words instead of hurtful words
  • We’re somehow fighting poverty together
  • It’s a job with different tasks
  • We’re two valves of a beating heart
  • It’s like dancing

They were SUPER creative, I was so proud! Finally they traced a teammate onto posterboard and wrote their answers into the outline of their Ultimate Dodgeball Player – to imitate – and imagined a name. It was all fun and games and they even seemed more composed on the way home.

“divide the inheritance?” – Luke 12:13

Acoustic: Purple Rain
Artist: Prince & the Revolution, arr. A.Levine (2o16)

“They’re after me lucky charms!” – the Leprechaun

* rights restricted to Prince version


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