Monday, September 12, 2005

Now I'm a Philosophizer.

This weekend, on a lark, I went to meet some people for a game of Dodgeball. I hadn't played since grade school, and I decided this would be a fun, social way of getting myself back into the groove of physical activity, since I am old, fat, and out of shape.

It was, of course, also Adams Morgan Day on Sunday, so not only was I psyched for a dodgeball game, I got to walk through a sea of cool vendors hawking their wares, including lots of cool food platters and stuff. (Of course, only then do I reach into my pocket to find that I have a grand total of $3 on me. Grrrr.)

Apparently the group usually plays on the tennis court on 18th Street at Wyoming Avenue. This is a good spot because the court itself is fenced off. The significance of this becomes apparent soon enough.

The tennis courts are, unfortunately taken up by some tennis devotees who weren't even playing tennis. Apparently the USTA wanted to set up shop on both tennis courts, and even though the second one wasn't being used for -- well, anything, they decided they didn't want to give it up for some dodgeball players.

So we migrated down off the street area and found an empty basketball court where we set up shop. Unfortunately, the courts don't have the advantage of being discretely fenced off, which means that wayward balls can result in ... "problems."

Even though people were lining the park with their little food products on their laps (no picnic tables to speak of), we went about our game. From time to time our balls would go flying out of bounds (get your minds out of the gutter!), from time to time resulting in some mishaps with these poor eaters. Part of me felt bad and wanted to offer to reimburse them the cost of their food, but I simply didn't have the money to do that for one person, let alone the number of people we affected (I counted three).

One woman -- who I swear was not there when we first started playing -- started fussing at us at some point. "Watch where you throw those balls!" she yelled at us, but at no one person in particular. She was pregnant, you see, so she didn't want to get hit by our balls (get your minds out of the gutter!). How she actually expected us to "watch" where the balls went in a game of Dodgeball? You aim at people on the opposite team. If your target gets out of the way, the ball will continue to move in the same general direction. You don't get some personal off-limits zone because you're pregnant and happened to walk into a dodgeball zone. Uh, I think it's called Get Out Of the Way.

Oh, and, friendly people that we are, we invited anyone who expressed an interest in playing to join us, including the neighborhood urchins. Cute little kids, though they cheated like no one's business. Eh, whatcha gonna do? Wait, just to amend that last sentence: The seven- to ten-year-olds were cute. The fourteen- to sixteen-year-olds were just as intimidating as the kids I had to play against when I was in school: they throw hard and have great aim. Yeah, that wasn't all that much fun to face down.

My post about Dodgeball wouldn't be complete without mentioning that my shoes suck! Of course, I didn't know this before I started the game, which lends itself to a rather embarrassing story which I shall, of course, share with the universe on this blog. I was making an attack at the center line -- you know, charging the line to get momentum to heave the ball at an opponent with the intent of stopping at or near the border line -- when, of course, I found that I couldn't just "stop" on the border line as I had planned. Oh, no, not me, with my several-years-old cross trainers which for some reason don't have skid protection. After what felt like minutes of flapping my arms like the "cuckoo-for-Cocoa-Puffs" bird and looking, I'm sure, like Wile E. Coyote teetering near the edge of the cliff, I finally fell with full-force momentum, both out of bounds and out of breath (from all the flailing, you see). I skidded for about eight inches before I came to a complete stop. I skinned my right arm just above my elbow, and my left shin. (Yeah, I'm not quite sure how I accomplished that particular combination of skinning either.)

Part of me is terribly embarrassed by this. Another part of me is strangely excited to have a "battle scar." Maybe I'm trying to develop "jock creds" for myself. (Heck, I've even expressed an interest in playing flag football with my alumni league.) If "jock creds" is what I'm after, I'm pretty certain it's not going to work. (See the last sentence of the first paragraph of this post.)


duane said...

even reading the word "dodgeball" brings back horrible memories of high school gym class, where, like many a little fag, was the target of everyone's balls. And not in the good way.

katie said...

Ohh, dodgeball sounds like fun. I was never very good at it though. The whole idea of dodging was a tough one for me to grasp.

Steve said...

I'm not sure if 'jock cred' would suit me, but if it works on you... Congrats on the battle scar!