Professors from three Canadian universities declared, during a presentation at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, that dodgeball was de-humanizing to students and harms their peers.

Researchers said they initially set out to interview students about general physical education courses but they kept hearing the same message from students.  That message was that they hated dodgeball.

Here is where the interviews get wonky.  After the researchers began to dig in deep about why they the student did not like dodgeball, they started to ask persuasive questions.  The questions were based around political theorists Iris Marion Young's "Five Faces of Oppression".  Which is in her 1990 book "Justice and Politics of Difference".

The Five Faces of Oppression are:

  • Exploitation
  • Marginalization
  • Powerlessness
  • Cultural Imperialism
  • Violence

I write "persuasive questions" because that is exactly what they are.  They professors identified what they thought was a common problem and asked only the students question based around these 5 categories.

"How does being hit make you feel?"  "Are you sad when you don't get picked first to play?" Are some of the questions I recklessly speculate they asked.  Leading and feelings questions.

Do they ask them "How do you feel when a teammate catches a ball to get you back in the game?" or "How does it make you feel to win?"

Joy Butler, a professor who studies pedagogy and curriculum development at University of British Columbia, gave some quotes to the Wall Street Journal.

"I think of the little girl who is running to the back to avoid being targeted" Butler said. "What is she learning in that class? Avoidance?"

YES! She is learning not to get hit.  Also she is learning on her own that, although her parents told her she can grow up to be whatever she wants, she will not be a professional softball player.  On her own she is learning a small life lesson.

If only Rikon Stark would have played dodgeball in Westeros.

Butler went on to say, "The competiton is about annihilation one's opponent, and the true definition of competition is between two evenly matched teams.  Well, kids, stack their teams, and they really enjoy beating the other team. What's the enjoyment of that?"


When the Yankees sign a top free agent, sports fans cry foul.  When "The Announcement" happened, sports fans threw their arms up.  When Durant went to the Golden State Warriors, fans could not wait to see them lose.

Because during games like dodgeball, we learned that it was not right to have stacked teams.  But because of Physical Education, we learned that you still must play the game and try to beat any team put in front of you.

This paper is set to appear in the journal European Physical Education Review.




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