As part of the annual Fitness Week, the Athletics Council arranged physical activities at lunch every day between Jan. 30 and Feb 3. to celebrate and encourage exercise in the community, including a game of Quidditch on Booth Field, a session of Wii Dance in the Collins Room and a game of dodgeball, perhaps the most famous of all schoolyard games, in the Gymnasium.
Four years ago, a week-long, all-school dodgeball tournament welcomed high turnout and general hype among the student body. However, this year’s game, held on Thursday Feb. 2, did not have the same high levels of attendance or enthusiasm.
“[In 2008] my team of eighth graders ended up making it to the final round against Nikki Speed ’08 and her team of seniors,” Erika ’12 said, remembering the tournament. “We were really scared, but somehow we ended up winning, and I still have the Dora the Explorer playground ball to prove it…I had so much fun in 8th Grade, but this time around it wasn’t as large of an event.”
Intended to be a grade-level activity, with a healthy dose of friendly competition between the classes, the low turnout caused the three smaller games based on age to dissolve into one larger game so that everybody could play at once.
And while the purpose of Fitness Week is to encourage the community to partake in fun activities that get hearts pumping and blood flowing, some members of the community, such as All-School President Madeline ’12, were surprised by dodgeball’s inclusion.
When some members of All-School Council suggested including a game of dodgeball in their plans for Spirit Week in January, other Council members shot down the idea because they were under the impression that dodgeball wasn’t allowed at the School.
“There’s just this misunderstanding of what you can do and what you can’t do,” Madeline said. “Dodgeball has always fallen under the category of a violent game and bullying and something we are not allowed to do.”
However, Athletic Director David Collicutt said there was no Marlborough policy against the game, although he said “dodgeball is not included in the P.E. curriculum.” However, as lunchtime games do not fall under the P.E. curriculum, dodgeball was deemed appropriate for Fitness Week.
NASPE, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, officially maintains that “dodgeball is not an appropriate activity for K-12 school physical education programs” because “the students who are eliminated first in dodgeball are typically the ones who most need to be active and practice their skills” and because “it is not appropriate to teach our children that you win by hurting others.”