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File:Dodgeball 9128.jpg
"Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation."
Patches O'Houlihan, Dodgeball

It seems that in fiction, whenever a kid goes to gym class, the mean gym teacher will make them play dodgeball, much to the delight of The Bully and despair of the nerds and unpopular kids.

Despite not being a particularly dangerous sport in Real Life, in fiction, dodgeball is as close as you can get to a Blood Sport without any actual death (...usually.) Somehow, the inflatable balls weigh as much as a ton of bricks in TV Land. It's not uncommon for students to come out of the gym with injuries from nosebleeds to broken bones, and the perpetrators never seem to get in trouble for it.

This trope is somewhat Truth in Television at some schools, though usually not quite as bad as in fiction.

Examples of Dodgeball Is Hell include:

Anime & Manga

  • And an entire anime series based on this--Honji Dodge Danpei There's a bit of a pun in there--"Dodge" as pronounced in Japanese sounds like a word equivalent to "blockhead" or "doofus", which describes the personality of young Danpei.
  • Mahou Sensei Negima, chapter 5-6.
  • Fate/kaleid liner Prisma Illya has an epic dodgeball match between Illya and Dark Illya, complete with a Double Knockout.
  • A subarc of the Greed Island arc of Hunter X Hunter involves Gon, Killua, Bisk, Hisoka, and some minor characters in a dodgeball game. The players on the other team throw the ball with sufficient force to break bones.
    • The players on the heroes' team, however, are battle-hardened people with lethal superpowers themselves. The captain of the opposing team, Razor, is so powerful that he inflicts The Worf Effect by his mere presence and is the only person shown so far to genuinely put Monster Clown Hisoka on edge.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha As had a chapter in its supplementary manga where Nanoha and Fate played dodgeball against Alisa and Suzuka. It ended with Fate getting knocked unconscious by a dodgeball thrown by the resident Shrinking Violet, Suzuka.

Fan Works


  • Chicken Little. They even divide the teams into "popular" and "not popular".
  • In both the original film and musical adaptation of Hairspray, Tracey gets knocked out by a dodgeball. In the new movie, it's a throwaway gag, but in the original it's a major plot point: Link asks her out after it, and Penney and Seaweed bond when they rush over to help her.
  • Dodgeball, surprisingly enough.
  • Billy Madison did this when he's against the entire first grade class.

Graphic Novels

  • In one of the Babymouse graphic novels, the plot revolves around the title character's dread of an upcoming dodgeball game in PE.


  • Partially subverted in the second Percy Jackson and The Olympians book The Sea Of Monsters: At first Percy thinks that gym class is just going to be this but it turns out that the other team is actually made up of giant cannibals, so it actually is a fight to the death.
  • Played with in Freckleface Strawberry and the Dodgeball Bully. The main character dreads playing dodgeball against a boy named Patrick, who throws the ball hard, but when she actually gets hit, she realizes it doesn't hurt nearly as much as she thought.

Live Action Television

  • Comes up in an early Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, where a gang of toughs (and Xander) get turned into heyena-people.
  • Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide
  • Supernatural: undercover as a gym teacher, Dean forces the kids to play dodgeball. "The whistle makes me their God."
  • This just showed up in The Middle last week.
  • Appears in the first episode of Freaks and Geeks, where the titular geeks get pummeled by the jocks on the other team.
  • 30 Rock, the episode "Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter," Liz goes to a Singles Dodgeball event to look for love and ends up pummeling a cute guy because she's too bitter to try to be nice.
  • An episode of Glee features dodgeball in a light-hearted musical number between the New Directions and Troubletones... before it ends with some of the Troubletones viciously pelting the new Foreign Exchange Student with dodgeballs until he starts to bleed. This causes Kurt to change his campaign focus from fighting obesity to banning dodgeball.
  • Brady and Boomer were victims of this kind of bullying in flashbacks.

Newspaper Comics

Video Games

  • One stage of Osu Tatakae Ouendan features a one-on-one dodgeball game between average elementary schooler Torao and his Jerk Jock rival Ryu. Set to Tomoyasu Hotei's "Thrill", and with needlessly awesome visuals out of a kung-fu movie.
  • This is as good a reason as any for why gymn in Bully focuses on dodgeball and wrestling. (Well, that and game mechanics--winning a wrestling match improves your melee attacks, while helping the nerds beat the jocks at dodgeball improves your ranged attacks.)

Western Animation

  • South Park: Pip becomes a Dodgeball savant when he gets pissed off over people calling him French.
  • The Simpsons: "Bombardment! Bombardment!" For Christmas they're doing "Double Bombardment!"
    • More specifically, that Simpsons episode isn't really dodgeball, it's just the teacher throwing the balls at the students sadistically. The same teacher seems to like throwing things at people in general, because he's shown later throwing rolls at Groundskeeper Willie after Willie got a job in a fancy restaurant (making Willie into a gentleman being the main plot of that episode).
  • Total Drama Island had Dodgeball as a challenge for one episode, the characters are near death by the end of it.
  • An early episode of Dexter's Laboratory had this with Dexter forced to participate by his gym teacher (he had tried to get out of it with a signed excuse but said teacher ripped it up). Poor Dexter finds himself constantly targeted by bullies every gym class. Eventually it hits Dexter that he is a boy genius and builds a dodgeball mecha to finally get even.
  • Kick Buttowski has the Emo Kid, and this happens to him a LOT.
  • Edd had suffered psychological trauma when he played dodgeball.
  • Patrick apparently had a harrowing experience when writing a poem during gym class.
  • Happened in one episode of Fairly Oddparents as Timmy arrives at school after missing the bus and having to walk in the rain. He's greeted to gym class by his classmates holding dodgeballs in a game of "Drys vs Wets", as you can imagine, he's the only one wet there.
  • In Invader Zim: 'Bludgeonball! It's fun!

Web Original

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