Most games that have widespread appeal reflect some facet of a larger (and often more violent) human experience. The sport forms of many martial arts, football and rugby, even chess, are all cleaner, more civilized, sanitized versions of conflicts. Granted, using ‘rugby’ and ‘civilized’ in the same sentance seems a bit contradictory, but rugby is generally at least marginally less lethal than archaic combat.
In this vein, I realized something yesterday: the game of ‘dodgeball’, at least the forms of it I have seen and participated in at various schools, is really nothing more than a cleaner, more civilized, and sanitized version of flinging poo.
Consider: you have two teams, usually of 15–30 people or so, in a large open space (generally an indoor basketball court, where I was) with a line down the middle. Each of these is just about the right size for a troop of apes (for good reason; humans think in other terms of conflict, when other sizes are involved). You have a plentiful quantity of ammunition laying about on the ground. You grab it up as fast as you can, and fling it at the opposing side, without bothering to aim in more than a general sense, because the projectiles are not really very aerodynamic. You try not to get hit by the same stuff being flung back at you — in many cases the exact stuff you just threw at them.
I mean, all that’s missing, really, is a giant black monolith in place of one of the basketball goals at the ends of the court.
Oddly enough, I was actually pretty good at dodgeball. Probably the only team sport I can say that about; while I played both soccer and basketball, my main ability in those involved being able to overrun most of my opponents by simply being too clumsy to stop in time. Few people are dumb enough to play chicken with an 18‑wheeler that has no brakes… But I was actually *good* at dodgeball.