Thursday, January 20, 2011

Dodgeball = Life?

At my church we have a few camps during the year for the kids. Since I like working with kids and being active, I sometimes help out with the recreational activities.

For the longer lasting camps we try to vary the activities, but I always try to make sure a certain activity is played at least once during camp: dodgeball! For anyone who has never played dodgeball, the game is played with two teams who line up on opposite ends of a court with rubber balls placed in the center. Someone yells go and both teams rush to the center to get a ball so that they can throw them at the other team. A player is out if they get hit by a ball or if someone on the other team catches a ball they threw. A team wins when all the players on the other team have been knocked out of the game.

Of course, when a game involves throwing objects at each other, there's always a chance for injury, but just about any recreational activity has that chance. Personally, I like having dodgeball as an activity because the rules are simple, you don't need a lot of equipment, and games can be played quickly.

And I think dodgeball is a good metaphor for life. Obviously, the more athletic kids will be able to stay in the game longer (survival of the fittest), which for the other kids might seem unfair. And nothing says life is unfair like a dodgeball to the side of the head.

But over time something else usually happens. When there's a kid who is more athletic you see the kids on the other team band together to try to knock that kid out of the game. One or two kids will the draw the athletic kid's fire, and when he is out of ammo, the others on the team will try to hit him when he can't defend himself. If they're successful, then they have a good chance of winning the game.

They see a difficult obstacle, they work together to overcome the obstacle, and they all win.

And that type of plan can help all of us, no matter what life throws at us. Even if it's a dodgeball to the side of the head.