Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

3:33 Sports Short #31 // Introduction to Dodgeball by Jenn Koiter

The game wants to be played. The way a story presses you to tell it. Without you, it is the mancala board’s dusty hollows, is pitz or faro, is dice in Egyptian tombs. You play because you want to, because, from the opening rush to the last woman out, your body knows exactly what to do. The court simplifies. Catch. Drill. Hold the corner, scamper, hunker down.

Whether you forget yourself in a flurry of purple no-sting dodgeballs, or move with conscious delight at being in a body, being in your body, is entirely up to you. If you sit down, the balls will come. If you want to be the best, learn how best to submit, how best to be complicit with the game as it moves you.

Pour your everything into this. The game gives shape to your desire, though desire means nothing to the game, dispassionate arbiter of fenced courts, of beaches reserved from three to seven, of gymnasia badly ventilated. It will discard you without a second thought, leaving you to watch from the court’s edge.

O watch well. O touch each one gently when she has to stop and watch the game go on without her.


Jenn Koiter's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrelhouse, Bateau, South Dakota Review, Copper Nickel, Neon, Ruminate, and Nothing to Declare, a new anthology of prose sequences.

 

Categories: