My girls and I have discovered Dodgeball playing a prevalent role in The Sisters Grimm, The Sea of Monsters, Babymouse, and Pixie Tricks.
And how about this -- Mo Willems is credited as one of the writers of a dodgeball cartoon!
So what gives?
Is it the movie? (Please tell me it's not just the movie...)
Is it nostalgia for the days when kids could really let it rip in gym class and on the playground? (Sharp, rickety merry-go-round, anyone? Unanchored slide?)
Is it symbolic for the emotional brutality of childhood?
Or is it the perfect physical epitome of the narrative conflict, such that any kid lit author worth a pound of salt tosses a game in for good measure?
For me it conjures up a gruesome memory of 9th grade -- Paul S., diving deep to avoid getting clobbered by the ball, going headfirst into the ceramic drinking fountain (which, oddly, is called a bubbler in Wisconsin).
When he sat up, birds and stars spinning around his bleeding head, a corner of the bubbler lying jagged on the gym floor, he called out, "Medic!" in a wobbly voice.
I'd just moved to Wisconsin from a hippy little ski town in Colorado. I didn't understand the word bubbler, I didn't understand 9th grade, and I didn't understand dodgeball.
I guess I still kinda don't. Medic?