If dodgeball can make it, so can tag

By By Will Bardwell / sports writer
June 17, 2004
Dodgeball has gone big-time.
Game Show Network (channel 60 on Comcast Cable in Meridian, if you're interested) premiered a new show on Tuesday night called "Extreme Dodgeball." Remember all those afternoons on the playground you spent hurling a big rubber ball at your peers? You should've stuck with it.
The show features an eight-team dodgeball league, with each squad made up of five players. A handful of gimmicks aside, it's the same game everyone plays on the playground as a kid.
I figured it would be a re-hash of one of my favorite childhood Nintendo games, "Super Dodgeball," and didn't expect much going in. Surprisingly, I was right. Remember all those afternoons you wanted to play Nintendo while your big brother hogged the machine? Remember all the fun you had waiting for him to get off? There you have it. Sounds exciting, right?
Probably not. Still, stranger things have happened than a show about dodgeball becoming popular. Heck, Ben Stiller stars in a soon-to-be-released movie about the game, so maybe it has a bigger following than I thought.
And if dodgeball can translate from a simple playground pastime to a popular, live-action, full-contact sport, why stop there? If "Extreme Dodgeball" pans out, I've got big plans for other games.
EXTREME CHECKERS: Kindergartners and geriatrics alike can enjoy this show, where two teams of 12 players compete on a giant checkered trampoline. The game plays just like the board game, but players have to wear huge plastic disks around their torsos. Get it? Human checker pieces! Kind of like that stupid game of super-duper chess that they played in the first "Harry Potter" movie.
Not that I saw that movie. Or any "Harry Potter" movie. Or even know what it is. Anyway.
If a team member makes it to the other side of the trampoline, he'll get to wear a three-foot-tall crown. The headgear will decrease opponents' chances of jumping over him, and will also increase the ridiculousness factor of the contest.
The winners will get a lifetime supply of plastic checkers (they're always getting lost) and a warm place in the hearts of old men at public parks all across the world.
SUPER BLACKJACK: All the people who stay up late to watch poker on ESPN2 will enjoy this one. "Super Blackjack" will be played the same as the regular game, with high minimum bets and occasional appearances by celebrities. The catch is that everyone is fitted with a surgically-implanted explosive device before the show starts. Place your bets carefully, because if you go over 21 and bust BOOOOM!!! the explosion is triggered, and you really bust!
In the unlikely event of massive protests, this game's producers should probably be prepared to create an animated version of the show. But that's just my advice.
LIGHTNING TAG: The very nature of this game will encourage superhuman speed, but that's not why it's called "Lightning Tag." Each contestant will be given a remote-controlled electric cattle prod. The person at the center of the action let's call this person "it" will have his cattle prod turned on, and he'll chase everyone else around a large arena. When "it" closes in on an opponent, "it" jabs the slowpoke with his prod. Woohoo! Lightning!
The shock will trigger the victim's own cattle prod, and the shockee subsequently will become "it." The game continues until the federal government moves in and arrests everyone involved.
HOUSE UNCENSORED: This show could end up on Lifetime. Every girl loved to play "House" growing up, and this show is sure to bring back memories. You remember how this game worked. Two or three girls would set up shop in a corner of the playground, and would then recruit some sap of a boy to play with them as the man of the house.
Not that I know how this game works from being that sap every day during the 2nd and 3rd grades, of course. I just kind of heard it through the grapevine.
Anyway, "House Uncensored" will be modeled after reality shows. It will follow the mental tribulations faced by the previously mentioned sap (for the sake of discussion, let's call him anything but "Will") as he tries to escape the game so he can go play "Extreme Dodgeball" on a neighboring TV set.

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