Dodgeball is 'a tool of fun': Dodgeball Ontario president

The president of Dodgeball Ontario said that the sport can help children in schools develop great techniques and skills.

Steve Hickson said the sport can help children learn skills such as teamwork, communication and integrity

Steve Hickson is the president of Dodgeball Ontario. (Rebecca Zandbergen/CBC News)

The president of Dodgeball Ontario is speaking up about the benefits of dodgeball in light of a UBC professor's comments calling the sport 'legalized bullying' and a tool of oppression.

Steve Hickson is the president of Dodgeball Ontario, and has played in the London area. He defends the sport calling it a "tool of fun". 

"Oppression just sounds like an extreme exaggeration," he said. "It's a sport. It's a game. It's an opportunity for one team to face off against another and try to win."

Hickson disagrees with  UBC faculty of education professor Joy Butler's argument that the sport should no longer be played in schools. Dodgeball Canada and Dodgeball Ontario are currently working to get the game included in the curriculum in schools across the country.

'Legalized bullying': Stop playing dodgeballs in school, UBC professor urges

(Nova Scotia Dodgeball)

"Whenever we have introduced our dodgeball program into schools as a pilot, we're finding that kids love it," said Hickson. "Not only kids but the teachers, the educators, the physical education teachers, they want more. They want to know more about how they can teach the sport." 

Hickson also disagreed with Butler's comments that the sport teaches children to avoid their classmates rather than engage with them. 

He argues that the techniques to play dodgeball can bring tools for educators to cultivate teamwork, communication skills and integrity. 

"Integrity is a big part of the game. Referees don't always see everything and there's a lot going on. It's really up to the players to call themselves out if they get hit," he said.

About 'having fun'

Hickson said that he would never expect every single child in a class to enjoy dodgeball. Like with all sports, it's not for everyone. 

"You are throwing the ball with the intention of 'hitting' not 'hurting'," he said. "It doesn't hurt. When you get hit, you walk off." 

Hickson said that whenever he plays the game, he knows it's going to be safe while having a good time and getting exercise.

"I love it...when I'm out there I'm just thinking about playing and having fun," he said.