"Dodgeball is a sport of violence, exclusion, and degradation."
— Patches O'Houlihan, DodgeBall: A True Underdog StoryIt seems that in fiction, whenever a kid goes to gym class, the mean gym teacher or coach will make them play dodgeball, much to the delight of The Bully and the 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 can often seem like Truth in Television to some kids, which is where the trope comes from in the first place.
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Anime & Manga
- Honoo no Toukyuuji: Dodge Danpei is an entire anime series based on this.
- 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 × 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.
- Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's 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 / Passionate Sports Girl, Suzuka.
- My Monster Secret takes it to hilariously extreme lengths (as it always does) by putting the homeroom teacher Koumoto Akari against the entire class, thanks mainly to Akane pressing her Berserk Button. Even with the students allowed to use weapons and shields, they're still at a crippling disadvantage. The chapter features various military strategies to try and defeat her, all in vain. It also features an epic climax after Sakurada reveals that he will confess his feelings to Akari if they win the game. It doesn't work.
Genjirou: Is this what PE classes are nowadays?!
- Taken to extremes in one chapter of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid when Kanna, Tohru, Lucoa, and Fafnir (all of whom are insanely strong dragons) take on some guys who were bullying Kanna's friend Saikawa in a hilariously one-sided game of dodgeball. Then they decide that they enjoy playing and have a super powered free-for-all which leaves the surrounding area in ruins.
- Calvin and Hobbes transitions out of a Spaceman Spiff escaping-the-alien-starfighters sequence into... dodgeball day in gym class.
- The second half of Chapter 3 of Soul Eater Zeta is about this, complete with people getting hit in the head, in the groin, and getting hit hard in general.
Films — Animation
- Chicken Little. They even divide the teams into "popular" and "not popular".
Films — Live-Action
- 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.
- In DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story, the training that the heroes receive is steeped in Serious Business and makes it appear as if dodgeball is hell. The actual sport is pretty childish, which is the point of the film.
- Billy Madison did this when he's against the entire first grade class.
- In the 1981 horror film Fear No Evil, the teenage Antichrist actually killed a fellow student in a game of dodgeball.
- In St. Vincent, when Oliver's bully goes after him in a game of dodgeball, he snaps.
- 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.
- And said cannibals are fighting with giant flaming cannonballs, so it's literally hell.
- 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.
- Twilight has Bella dealing with a similar situation in her gym class, which she tried to opt out of but couldn't. Haters just love the panel from the manga showing her get smacked in the face with a volleyball.
- Comes up in an early Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, where a gang of toughs (and Xander) get turned into hyena-people.
Coach: God, this game is brutal. I love it.
- Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has an episode that focuses on this. Naturally Loomer and his lackeys enjoy the game and are more then pumped to bring the pain. Ned hopes that Moze would be their ace in the hole against them but she claims to have given up the sport after supposedly injuring Coconut Head in a previous game to the point he bled and spit out teeth. If that wasn't bad enough, Cookie is recruited by Loomer to play on his team after seeing Cookie have a good throwing arm. In the end it turns out Coconut's injuries were just coincidental (He suffers from chronic nosebleeds and the "teeth" were really Tic Tacs). Once Moze realizes this, she pulls a Big Damn Heroes in the final part of the game when only Ned is left against Loomer and his goons.
- Supernatural: undercover as a gym teacher, Dean forces the kids to play dodgeball. "The whistle makes me their God."
- This showed up in an episode of The Middle.
- 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.
- Battle For Money Sentouchuu is basically this as a game show, with ninja themes and cash on the line.
- In Welcome Freshmen, Coach Roach announces that they'll play dodgeball with a bowling ball. The students talk him into something less dangerous, but still far from fun.
- An artifact in Warehouse 13 is a self propelling and multiplying dodgeball that was used in military training under the premise of "if you can dodge a ball, you can dodge a bullet". The only way to stop it from killing you with blunt force trauma is to catch it.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: Finn and Munch once walked into a gym with a game of dodgeball in full swing and shared their memories of it. Finn loved it; Munch, not so much.
- One episode of Even Stevens focused on this
- The rather extreme professional dodgeball match in the music video for Autoerotique's "Asphyxiation".
- 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 gym 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.)
- There was a dodgeball game in Survival of the Fittest v4 pre-game. Craig Hoyle naturally had difficulty, Meredith Hemmings managed to injure herself due to wearing goth boots with heels instead of something more practical, and Cisco Vasquez... is Cisco.
- Jeff discovers this in the third episode of Custom Idiots.
- In Paranatural, Coach Oop says that the board has forbidden schools from playing Dodgeball, but they didn't forbid his original sport Hitball. Similar to dodgeball, but with a lot of balls at the same time and the inclusion of the Golden Switch which causes a hit student to switch sides instead of getting eliminated.
- 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... only to get beaned on the noggin... by his sister.
- In The Powerpuff Girls, the Gang Green Gang pelt a bunch of kindergarteners in a game of dodgeball, taking advantage of the fact that the girls are not allowed to beat them up at school. Ms. Keane manages to find a loophole around this by telling the girls to go outside and "play dodgeball" as well.
- Kick Buttowski has the Emo Kid, and this happens to him a LOT.
- Sponge Bob Squarepants: Patrick apparently had a harrowing experience when writing a poem during gym class.
- Happened in one episode of The 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!. Up to Eleven where the two kids playing it are strapped with shoulder mounted rocket launchers filled with dodge balls.
- Recess, in typical fashion, plays this trope to the hilt, including gratuitous slow-motion shots, excessive drama, and an incredibly good player named "El Diablo" *whip noise* who turns out to be Gus of all people.
- Taken to the extreme in Courage the Cowardly Dog, where Eustace arranges for all of Courage's enemies to join together in one big dodgeball game that almost kills Courage.
- In Monsters vs. Aliens, Susan singlehandedly takes on Team Alien on a no-holds-barred game of dodgeball. Seems she channeled her anger at being picked last as a kid into being a relentless dodgeball player; the aliens underestimated her at their peril.
- The episode "Leggo My Meg-O" of Family Guy, starts with all the kids in Meg's high school ganging up on Meg in a game of dodgeball.
- The episode "Ed in a Half-Shell" of Ed, Edd n Eddy plays with this trope. Eddy has the gang play dodgeball while babysitting Jimmy, and Double D's reaction plays this trope completely straight, to the point where he undergoes a Heroic B.S.O.D. after having gym class flashbacks and collapses into a fetal position.
- Taken to extreme in Codename: Kids Next Door which mixes this plot with a parody of the Wuxia film, Hero. A villain named the Dodgeball Wizard seeks out the ultimate player known as "The One". After defeating a temple that specializes in this, he's directed to Wally Beetles a.k.a Numbuh 4 who he thinks is such a fighter. He isn't (he's knocked out cold in one hit before their game even starts), but his baby brother, Joey, is. Cue a massive dodgeball game across the city.
- In The Powerpuff Girls (2016) episode "Princess Buttercup", Buttercup joins a gang of tough roller derby girls who play "deathball", which is very rough dodgeball with rollerblades. (Meaning it's Buttercup's kind of game.)
- The Mixels episode "Every Knight Has Its Day" introduces the game "Murpball", which is dodgeball with the twist of Murping the knocked-out student. Mixadel naturally chooses all the strong students for his team, leaving Camillot with the weaker ones. He also has the upper hand with students Mixing to cheat or using his own team members as shields...and still ends up the unfair winner.