As a kid I was never interested in what was happening in the classroom. I wanted to play, and play just didn't seem to happen indoors for me. Indoors meant having to sit still, sit up straight, pay attention, stop eating the paste . . . I don't think I ever did this, but seriously - I was a real pain in the keester for every teacher I had at Orville Wright Elementary School. Poor Ms. Bravo, poor Mrs. Peters. They were my favorite teachers, but nothing they seemed to do could get my mind off the playground and into my school work.
Perhaps becoming a parks and recreation professional was the logical path for me. I will never claim to be very bright and stumbling onto leisure as a field of study is proof of that (I should mention I spent 7 years in community college trying to figure that out, but I'm glad I did). Leisure, recreation, parks and play are my passion, especially when you see the benefits they have in the lives of individuals, families and communities. In California, "Parks Make Life Better!" is our profession's brand promise, and I have yet to meet anyone who didn't agree with this statement.
I love play. Even today I love playing basketball. I also love playing nerf ball tennis. Scott and Kaisa are two people I work with and for a while we would play tennis, using foam tennis balls, inside our Rec Center gym (mainly because it was cold and wet outside). Man, is it fun! One day we started playing the game with two (2) balls in play - it wore us out, but we had a blast. We modified the game again and said all walls and the ceiling were in play and if either ball comes to a stop on your side of the net, your team loses. We lasted about 5 minutes, but it felt like forever, and so we named this game 'Forever Ball'. I think we need more play like that where we make the game up as we go along.
Back outside now . . . you heard me . . . go outside and play!
We need to get outside and play, especially adults. Of course kids need to get outside and play, too, but we adults would benefit greatly from some goofing around, playing silly games, and simply being more active for the sake of fun and laughter. In his article, "It's Called Play", Jay Heinrichs talks about the benefits of play for adults and the value of putting recess back into our daily lives. Now that we're all grown-up (well, at least all of you), that recess can take place in our local parks . . . and no need to worry about the school bell ringing.
Duck, duck, goose anyone?