Play is a fun way to practice what you're learning.
We tend to think that play doesn't matter as much as Work. How many times have you put off a round of golf with your friends or a baseball game with your children because you had to mow the lawn, wash your car, or fix the screen door to the backyard? How often do you skip a weekend of fishing because you had to get your tax return off to the IRS or finish that report your boss needs tomorrow morning?
We also tend to focus on the advantages of play for children rather than adults. But play is one of those things that matter whether you're eight or eighty. Play contributes to our mental, emotional and physical health. When you play, you are literally re-creating yourself. Play fosters belonging and encourages cooperation.
And pretty much everything trumps what we do in our leisure time. But recreational activities are important because they are re-creational. Chances are you're not a Babe Ruth, a Magic Johnson or a Joe Namath. You can, however, be an example to others that doing your best makes you a winner on the inside. And that matters just as much, perhaps more, than being a winner on the outside.
Fred Rogers reminds us that play enriches our imaginations. A plastic bat can be a magic wand, a sock can be a puppet, a leaf a butterfly, the wind a voice from long ago and far away. We are all kids at heart. If we want to be. Play matters.