Monday, July 11, 2005

Tinglebutt Tidbits: Here are the results of my tinglebutt research, or dodgeball research, since the first thing I found is that there is no reference to the game being called tinglebutt anywhere on the web other than in the photo below, as least that I was able to find. And so far I haven't managed to track down a particularly good dodgeball history or thorough discussion of variations and names for it anywhere either. The wikipedia entry offers a fairly good overview but doesn't mention bombardment at all, though most other articles do say "dodgeball, or bombardment"... and nowhere can I find out exactly what lining kids up against a wall and winging a red rubber ball at them is called, but it was a constant activity over the course of my grade school years. That one was never sanctioned by a PE teacher, it was just organzied by 4th and 5th grade boys herding together a suitable number of kindergarten and first grade boys and making them stand against a brick wall. I was vaguely thinking maybe "smear the queer", but this is of course a rugby-like tag variation, which came back to me once I looked it up. Dodgeball itself was always called War in our gym classes, though in high school a variation was introduced where there were pins lined up at the back of the court and a team would win if they knocked all 3 or 5 or however many there were down, rather than waiting until there was only one man standing. Otherwise it worked the same as dodgeball, but it led to a lot more running in front of a ball and trying to catch it since you also had the pins to defend. And this variation was labelled Bombardment by our gym teacher. I always hated War but was also surprisingly good at it. I was one of the geeky kids who always got picked last, but I wasn't really hated enough to be actively targeted by everyone early on and was good at avoiding getting hit and occasionally lobbing a ball at someone who was looking the other way. Then toward the end the remaining players on the other team would suddenly notice that I was still out there, but like I say I was very quick and agile and very hard to get out as long as I didn't throw any balls back, because I couldn't throw very hard and they'd usually get caught if the person was looking at me when I threw it. Often the teacher would invent some new rule that you had to throw back just to put an end to the game. Anyway, other than that Wikipedia entry I've also found this article from the SF Weekly on a San Francisco Bombardment League, an opinion piece on the sport from USA Today, which is generally con, and a couple of competing leagues which have sprung up recently. If I come across anything else interesting on this I'll let you know.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We had a game called Suicide, I believe, which was rarely painless. Basically someone threw a ball against a wall, and somehow if you did something wrong, then you had to stand against the wall while some hucked the ball (we used a tennis ball) as hard as the could at you.

Mike A

1:27 PM  

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