When grownups get to play, they really play. Outdoor ice hockey in Dodger Stadium? Along with beach volleyball and the rock band KISS? The extravaganza in Los Angeles, California may be because adults play so seldom. Over 54,000 people came out to play, underscoring that play is important no matter our age.
In the words of George Bernard Shaw, “We do not quit playing because we grow old; we grow old because we quit playing.” We accept that young children are motivated to play, but somehow forget that we have the same need. Not just at home either but in our work. Speaking of work, here is another powerful quote, this one from American folklorist, Brian Sutton-Smith: “The opposite of play is not work. It’s depression.” That might be what we are seeing in some children and adults now.
Much of what happened in Los Angeles was entertainment as opposed to play. It’s not always easy to see the difference. Play requires involvement and participation. That said, entertainment can inspire play. For instance, some grownups and kids may want to go outside and hit a ball around the yard or driveway with some kind of hockey stick. Brooms, mops or long wrapping paper tubes can be substituted. Pool noddles will work on very light balls like beach balls. Beach volleyball doesn’t have to have a beach. It can be played in the snow, as long as players have snowsuits on over their swimsuits, plus mittens, and warm, cozy footwear. Have you heard of Sockey? This isn’t something to keep toes warm, it’s a kind of mix of hockey and soccer.
No matter where you live, can you round up a ball of some size or description, and something to hit it with for some vigorous, active play? Not just to watch, but participate? No matter your age? Play with kids builds connections between the generations. What kind of play will this inspire for you and your family?