The cult section of the literary world

Flash Fiction Friday: The History of Dodgeball

by Bradley Sands
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This week I bring you an informational text on the true and actual history of the sport of dodgeball. Feast your eyes on this.
–K.A.

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Dodgeball was invented by the Vikings near the end of the eighth century. They would often relieve boredom during voyages by competing against villagers who lived by the sea. Originally, dodgeballs were not thrown by human hands. Instead, they were fired out of cannons. In addition, the earliest dodgeballs were made out of iron rather than rubber. Although the game’s original rules permitted both teams to throw the dodgeballs at competing players, only visiting teams took advantage of this while home teams focused entirely on getting hit in the face.

Two centuries later during the Crusades, the sport was popularized when Christian soldiers challenged Jews and Muslims to a dodgeball tournament with a prize that included an affidavit declaring the winning team’s favored religion as “The One True Religion” and a $25 gift certificate to Pizza Hut. The Christians defeated The Muslims in the final match with four team members still remaining in play. Since history is always rewritten by its victors, the Catholic Church bribed the editors of history books to depict the Crusades as being won through a series of violent battles rather than good sportsmanship. This period is also known for its innovative use of human hearts instead of iron balls, which were safer and more fun to play with.

The tradition of picking teams began in thirteenth-century England during the time of the Black Death. Naval captains who had too many gangrenous body parts to look good in their military uniforms were enlisted to lead dodgeball teams consisting of plague victims. The wizard kings of Europe felt an intramural dodgeball league would raise morale amongst the sick and keep them from devouring the brains of the healthy for the few hours each week that they spent running away from human hearts. Unlike the team captains of the modern age, the captains of the Middle Ages did not select players in the sequence of most skilled to the worst. Instead, they chose players based upon their degree of physical grotesqueness, which hurt the feelings of players who were more likely to arouse the opposite sex.

A century later, the Aztecs introduced rubber balls to the game. Their national pastime, Tlachli (English translation: fun blood sacrifice for very hungry caterpillar), is commonly thought to be an early version of Soccer where all the players had their arms and legs cut off prior to each match, but new studies have proved this to be incorrect: Tlachli was a form of dodgeball that was conceived independently from the dodgeball leagues that had come before it. The explanation for this has been a subject of much controversy amongst archaeologists. Physicist, Noriv Stringer, proposed the theory of morphic resonance as the explanation for the phenomenon. Just as it is easier to wake up later in the day rather than earlier in the morning due to energy building up in the Earth’s morphic field due to the collective successes of early risers, Stringer believes the chances that other civilizations would develop dodgeball on their own significantly increased once the Vikings invented it.

In 1520, the Aztecs taught Spanish conquistador, Hernán Cortés, to play Tlachli. Minutes later, he avenged his humiliating defeat by killing them all. After returning to Spain, he introduced the sport to the nation with much fanfare. Madrid would soon suffer from what is known as The Dodgeball Plague of 1528. It began with a typical game of dodgeball being played in the street. As people drove or walked by, they felt the urge to join one of the teams and abandoned their plans for the day. The game spread throughout the city, and within hours, every person in the city who wasn’t a window-fearing recluse had joined in. The dodgeball plague lasted for twelve days, ending when the French invaded the country and released all of the Spain’s bulls into the crowd. By the time it was over, thousands had died from exhaustion, heart attack, goring, stroke, and getting hit in the head with a ball. To avoid dodgeball-related deaths in the future, King Charles I decreed that anyone who hit a competing player in the head with a ball would be eliminated from the game.

The Mayflower set sail for America in 1620, carrying 102 passengers, 30 crew members, and 42 dodgeballs. Like the Vikings did before them, the Pilgrims passed the time by playing dodgeball on deck. Since the supply of balls was meager and the players kept accidentally throwing them overboard, the Pilgrims instituted a new rule that rewarded players for catching the balls thrown by the opposite team that eliminated the thrower. After three months at sea, the Mayflower landed on Plymouth Rock, bringing dodgeball to the new world.

In 1775, war broke out between the American and Great Britain. This would be known as the Revolutionary War, and it was a war unlike any other. Leaders from both armies signed a treaty in an effort to limit casualties, agreeing to do battle through an enormous dodgeball ball game that involved every one of their soldiers. The game would not end until the entirety of one side had been eliminated, which would determine the outcome of the war. It did not take long for American soldiers to realize that eliminating their opponents by hitting them with bullets was a lot more satisfying than hitting them with rubber balls. Despite the British soldiers’ objections to death, their predisposition for honoring treaties lost them the war.

Prior to the Civil War, The American Dodgeball Association of America added the rule that if a member of a team stepped over a boundary, they would be eliminated. During a scrimmage between The Northern Log Cabins and the Southern Hushpuppies, the referee eliminated Hushpuppy, Braxton Bragg, for stepping over the Virginian border. The Hushpuppies disagreed with the referee’s call and whipped his bare back with thin metal chains until he succumbed to infection. Displeased with this, the Log Cabins called the Hushpuppies “big meanies.” This hurt the Hushpuppies’ feelings, made them cry, and caused them to secede from the United States on the behalf of the South. Because of this, dodgeball players realized game boundaries needed to be better defined. This resulted in the division of North and South Korea, the construction of the Berlin Wall, and Qin Shi Huang traveling back in time to build the Great Wall of China.

Dodgeball did not become part of the physical education curriculum in schools until the nineteen-fifties when school boards decided to teach students the best way to destroy their enemies (with red, rubber balls) and how to separate the weak from the strong. Today, the sport is an important rite of passage that prepares adolescents for futures of prosperity and total domination.

 

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Bradley Sands is the author of several books including, Please Do Not Shoot Me in the Face: A Novel, Rico Slade Will Fucking Kill You, and Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy. He’s not a porn writer. He’s a scholar. Find him here.

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