2002.11.27 Too late for dodge ball

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

Some people complain about being born too late. They look back at the way things were a few generations ago and they wish they could have been a part of it.

For others it’s just the opposite. Born too early, they didn’t have the opportunity to take part in what’s available now. There were no jet airplanes/TVs/computers, etc. available when they grew up.

The too late/too early dilemma entered my mind during this season of football. In regard to the so-called pigskin, I guess I was born at just the right time. No regrets, other than the fact that I scored only two touchdowns.

I still think I was cheated out of another one during an eighth grade game, but superintendent Henry Geisler, serving as referee, ruled that my forward motion was halted and the play was dead. Actually, I broke free and scored when those incompetent defenders couldn’t bring me down. Mr. Geisler acted too fast, but what can you do?

If I would have been born earlier, I’d have been part of an era when a football helmet had no face mask. If I’d been born a generation later, I would be part of the current era when football is a year ’round endeavor—at least for the dedicated players who are expected to hang out in the weight room all year and grow abnormally large necks.

Those guys are easy to spot and I know I wouldn’t want to be part of it. I notched six years of football during my era in the 1960s, but I wouldn’t make it these days. I don’t think I’d be the kind of football player that contemporary coaches would appreciate.

I suppose there are some kids today who think they were born too late. They missed the days when football started around Labor Day and ended in mid-November. That was it until Labor Day.

Some kids today were born too late for dodge ball. A few schools are dropping it from their gym classes. Now before you start complaining about “political correctness” and all that stuff, listen to the arguments.

First of all, dodge ball supporters say the game provides an opportunity to teach throwing mechanics, catching skills, agility, hand-eye coordination, and lateral and forward movement.

Is that what really happens? Physical education class is supposed to develop skills, but look what happens in dodge ball. The clumsy and the slow are the first ones to get hit. They aren’t learning anything by sitting on the sidelines, but that might just be where they feel most comfortable.

Dodge ball has made it onto some writer’s Gym Class Hall of Shame. It’s called a punishing game that pits “athletic kids against clumsy ones, aggressive against timid.”

In 1995 a PE task force suggested national standards for students in every grade to achieve. For someone in a small town, these guidelines might take a while to put into place. Get the buses lined up for field trips, too.

A 12th grader should be able to participate in a tennis match with some consistency; pass the Red Cross intermediate swimming requirements; navigate a kayak through white water; successfully play racquetball; demonstrate skills for a black belt in karate.

Here’s a quote from “The Death of Dodge Ball” in Northwest Education Magazine.

In schools where PE has managed to hang on, enlightened teachers are introducing kids to activities they can take with them through the years. Instead of dodging a hard rubber ball, kids are mastering cool moves on inline skates and cross-country skis.

Instead of doing a million jumping jacks, they're learning to maneuver mountain bikes, balance unicycles, bounce on pogo sticks, juggle plastic bowling pins—even manipulate wheelchairs with ease. They're paddling white-water kayaks. Dancing to Latin music. Fishing for rainbow trout. Climbing vertical rock walls.

 We wouldn’t have enough wheelchairs or pogo sticks to go around here in the small town.

And lacking trout, exposed bedrock and a white water river, I guess we’ll have to stick with football. Into the weight room we go.  You’ll know us by our necks.

    – Nov. 27, 2002 
  • Front.geese
    ON THE MOVE—Six goslings head out on manuevers with their parents in an area lake. Baby waterfowl are showing up in lakes and ponds throughout the area.
  • Front.little Ball
    Fayette's Demetrious Whiteside (left)Skylar Lester attempt to keep the ball from going out of bounds during Morenci's recent basketball tournament for fourth and fifth grade teams. Morenci's Andrew Schmidt stands by.
  • Front.tug
    MORENCI pep rallies generally end with a tug of war. The senior class entry, shown above, did not advance to the finals. Griffin Grieder, Alaina Webster, Kyle Long and Jazmin Smith are shown at the front of the rope, giving it their best effort.
  • Accident
    FAYETTE resident Patricia Stambaugh, 64, was declared dead on the scene of a single-vehicle accident Friday morning south of Morenci. Rescue units were called around 9 a.m., but as of Tuesday, law enforcement officers had not yet determined the time of the accident. According to Ohio State Highway Patrol, Stambaugh was driving west on U.S. 20 when her Chevrolet Malibu traveled off the north side of the road and down a steep embankment, coming to rest in Bean Creek (Tiffin River).
  • Athletic Fields
    SPORTS COMPLEX—Fayette’s outdoor athletic facilities will include three ball fields for summer recreation leagues at the southwest corner of the school. The baseball and softball fields, along with the running track, will be constructed on the east side of the school. Outdoor athletic fields were not part of the new school project from 2007, but voters approved a $1.4 million levy for a school addition and the sports fields last August. Both projects are scheduled to be complete by July 20.
  • Front.teacher Leading
    PRESCHOOL MUSIC—Fayette band director Jeffrey Dunford spends the last half hour of the day leading the full-day preschool class in musical activities. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.band
    TROMBONISTS Jake Myers (left) and Max Baker perform Friday at the annual Senior Citizens Luncheon at Fayette High School. The National Honor Society and the FFA chapter teamed up to serve a meal to area seniors and to provide musical entertainment. Both the school band and choir performed. Additional photos are on page 7 of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.

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