Bridgewater State Professor Wants To Eliminate Dodgeball At Bridgewater-Raynham And Have Square Dancing Instead Because Dodgeball Isn’t Inclusive Enough

Bridgewater State Professor Wants To Eliminate Dodgeball At Bridgewater-Raynham And Have Square Dancing Instead Because Dodgeball Isn’t Inclusive Enough

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If you want a good laugh the read this op-ed in Bridgewater Wicked Local:

(Sam Baumgarten has been an educator for nearly 50 years and has lived in Bridgewater for 39 years, teaching at Bridgewater State University, with 20 of those years spent at the Burnell Campus School teaching elementary PE, and the remaining years with BSU students in teacher preparation. He has made more than 100 presentations at professional meetings and has co-authored a text on elementary PE.)

After 13 plus years of letters and private conversations with Bridgewater-Raynham district administrators—superintendents, principals and curriculum directors— and 11 years on the Health Advisory Committee, it is time for a public statement about curriculum and instructional practices in physical education, primarily at the upper grade levels. Three specific issues are: 1) on-going use of dodgeball—also called astroball—as a staple in the curriculum 2) use of large group games and 3) separation of boys and girls in high school physical education.

Let’s look at dodgeball: Why are B-R high school students (or students at any level) playing dodgeball in physical education? Since the early 1990s, dodgeball has been relegated to the Physical Education Hall of Shame, and our national association, SHAPE America, has published a position paper declaring dodgeball as an inappropriate practice. It is a human target game, whose purpose is elimination. While some modify the game by using soft balls and creating rules for greater inclusion, the game has little value in the development of a physically literate person. Some claim that the game builds various motor and manipulative skills and develops strategic thinking, but it doesn’t! Typically, those who are more highly skilled dominate the game. Those needing practice don’t get much. And, really, there isn’t a whole lot of deep strategy in dodgeball.

Why are kids playing dodgeball in gym class? Ummmmm….because it’s the greatest gym class game that’s ever existed. Duh. But I guess Sam doesn’t want it played because it’s a “human target game, whose purpose is elimination.” And no one should ever be eliminated in a sport. Everyone gets a trophy. Dodgeball doesn’t have nearly enough “inclusion” because the fat kids who get hit first don’t get to play as long. God forbid!!


What should we do instead Sam?

A key question to ask is: What are the students not getting in their PE experiences because of the amount of time spent playing dodgeball? Are they—both boys and girls—learning about personal fitness and actually getting to create and follow personal fitness plans? Are they getting opportunities to experience dance—folk, square or ballroom? Are they getting any outdoor/adventure education programming, where team building and challenge are a focus? Are they getting opportunities for better body management through yoga or Pilates or gymnastic-like movement? And, given the on-going attention to the social/emotional status of our students, doesn’t it seem odd that we include an activity that is aggressive in nature—hitting someone with a ball – as opposed to something like square dance, in which students would actually learn to build community, and find appropriate ways of behaving, and moving together?

Oh, he’s one of THOSE gym teachers. One of these “gym class isn’t a game” gym teachers. We get it, you went to Springfield College and you spent a lot of time learning about fitness and all that good stuff. But at the end of the day kids don’t care. Gym class is a relief from real classes. It’s what you look forward to all week. No kid in America has ever said, “I can’t wait to square dance period 4.”

It’s like Miss Wolf all over again. She was my gym teacher up until 4th grade. I used to hate gym because all we did was the parachute, square dance, and check our pulse. I would’ve rather been learning my multiplication tables. Then one year Mr. Powers was hired. He just gave us a ball and said to pick teams for soccer. And all of a sudden – BOOM – gym class was fun. Sure, we didn’t actually learn anything, but gym class isn’t there for you to learn. It’s there to give you a break from learning. 

Then there was this:

 More importantly, we have reached a point in our society where we acknowledge a variety of gender identifications. It would seem that arbitrary separations, based on the words “boy” or “girl,” will not meet the needs of all students.

Oh for fuck’s sake. We can’t separate classes into boy’s and girl’s groups because gender is now “arbitrary” thanks to social justice warriors telling us that you can pick and choose what gender you are. That’s what the world is coming to. And as a result this is his solution:

In sum, to allow dodgeball to go on, year after year, is poor practice and it should be eliminated!

Why is it always Bridgewater State? Hey Sam, dodgeball is awesome. Just because you were always the first one out doesn’t mean you should ruin everyone else’s childhood. 

13 Comment(s)
  • Beano
    November 3, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Dude just wants an excuse to put his arms around female students.

  • October 31, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    This guy is an ass!!

  • Bstuff
    October 30, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    There are few better sounds in the world than the POOOIING a dodgeball makes bouncing off somebody’s head on the opposing team. This man is no gym teacher and he should change his career to vaginal studies because he’s turned into a gigantic pussy in his old age. Shameful.

  • Leonardo
    October 30, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    I’m no fan of dodgeball, but square-dancing is several orders of magnitude worse.

  • FatFingr Lou
    October 30, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    My therapist says I should get past the past. Think of a happy place, relax, but:


  • Stunt Penis
    October 30, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    I loved dodge ball in grade school. it taught me many things.

    when i was in first grade, i was a pussy. i ran away from the ball, afraid to get hit. so, kids would pick me out to try to whack me, at full strength.

    as I got older, I got tired of being a target. I learned getting hit by the ball really didn’t hurt that bad… and when I discovered that, I stopped being afraid of the ball.

    the day I stopped being afraid of the ball, was the day I stopped running away, and instead faced the “bullies” and tried to catch the ball… and lo and behold… i caught it, and the “bully” was out of the game (to his dismay) and I wasn’t!

    from that day forward in gym, the kids gave me a renewed sense of respect. No longer did they try to pick on me in dodgeball, and would instead ask me to be on their side.

    It taught me other life lessons, like, how I should face my fears in life head on and overcome them, rather than run away and try to hide from them.

    Understandably, this is the type of life lesson we cannot teach snowflakes at Bridgewater State.

  • Hughbo Mont
    October 30, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Thank godness I went to grade school before square dancing became a thing…

  • ChrisInShrewsbury
    October 30, 2017 at 11:33 am

    I thought most high schools eliminated dodgeball already, glad to see that BR is still rockin’ it!

    We had square dancing also, and I only had to do it 1 week, as I convinced the gym teacher (Football Coach) my time was better spent in the weight room.

    October 30, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Dodge Ball is the perfect tool to teach children about the REAL WORLD. In the REAL WORLD you lose sometimes times you fall down and bloody your knees and elbows, but you got to get back up quick. There are people in the REAL WORLD that are better than you at certain things. We are not all created equal unfortunately. Kids today play games where everyone gets a trophy. If I ever got a trophy for losing my father would have thrown it in the fucking trash where it belongs. If we baby our children too much then they become adult babies and we all know a few of them and an America full of them no good.

  • The Rant Queen
    October 30, 2017 at 11:29 am

    I hate dodgeball. I will always hate dodgeball. Mostly because I actually WAS a human target by all the Hispanic kids…on MY team and the other team. So…yeah, I’m salty about it. Square Dancing also sucks though. I had a gym teacher make us do that shit and it was fucking awful. What ever happened to climbing the ropes, doing the obstacle courses or volleyball/kickball? I’d much rather play those when I was a kid, although I hated gym in general and didn’t care to be forced to participate in group activities, because I hated other kids. I still hate other kids.

    • Sam Sneid
      October 30, 2017 at 11:47 am

      O’Diego rules

      • The Vorlon
        October 30, 2017 at 2:13 pm

        Chicago rules: They send one of yours to the bench, you send one of theirs to the MORGUE!

  • Seriously?
    October 30, 2017 at 11:22 am

    My old school’s dodge ball tournament was literally the best week of gym ever.

    I always thought of gym as a way to get kids active when all they do is sit in class all day, especially because there’s no recess in high school. You learn about all the health mumbo jumbo in health class and then go do it in gym. But introducing kids to sports and showing them it’s fun is obviously a conspiracy to perpetuate class warfare so what do I know.

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