Last Saturday I went to a couple’s joint Hen and Stag weekend for a little. It wasn’t your average Hen and Stag weekend. It was out in the middle of a beautiful nowhere, trees, streams and nothing but green and birdsong. They’d been camping over, and had been provided with a lovely little marquee for everyone getting together and playing music, dancing and generally having a good time.
I have to confess that this is the sort of Hen and Stag affair that you’ll find me attending. I really don’t like the other sort, which involves veils, condoms, lots of silly dares, naked men dancing, pub crawls, clubbing and getting absolutely bladdered. I don’t know why, but I never really did get on with that sort, they always made me cringe. (My own was a get together with chocolate fondue at the bridesmaid’s house, followed by us meeting back up with the men at ours, and having a joint party. In which, sadly I report, much getting bladdered was involved, and a certain Colt ended up with a bucket by the bed and a horrendous hangover the following day…..)
This one however was lovely, imaginative and thoughtful. Some friends had compiled a series of tasks based around that song made so famous by Simon and Garfunkle, Scarborough Fair. I know it by a fair few different names, but my current favourite has to be by Dr Faustus, The Cambric Shirt. It’s the classic lover-to-be setting their wooer a series of nigh on impossible tasks. The tasks set on the day weren’t that impossible, but solveable with a little thought, and it made for an intriguing day with much laughter when the men and women came together at the end to show how they’d completed said tasks.
On the way home, Colt turned to me and told me that one of the people there had said how good it was to be able to simply play. And we both thought about it. That was exactly what we’d been doing. Playing. We’d been given a legitimate space to play in, and everyone made the most of it.
That got us both thinking further.
There’s an increasing emphasis towards play and learning through play with children. Finally the powers that be are beginning to emphasis the importance of play in early years settings. But……
We so often forget that we, as adults, need playtime too. Words such as childishness, responsibilities, being grown-up can so often hold us back. Maybe it’s one of the reasons that us WoW players are frowned upon – because, OMG we PLAY! (“That’s so childish, what a waste of time, shouldn’t you be doing something more responsible, yadayadayadah…..”) Yet there are life coaches out there who recommend adulthood play.
I had a google around for adulthood playing and the benefits of doing so (a potentially fun search!) and I came across this talk by Stuart Brown. Now I’ve been a firm advocate of the whole concept of TED talks since being introduced to it by a good friend. The one on orgasms is particularly superb. As is the one about the brain researcher who suffered a stroke and used it as an opportunity to study the neuroscience from the inside. But this one about play, this one in particular, is worth watching.
And I’d urge all of us WoW players who don’t think we’ve got the time, who’ve been accused of playing “silly” or “childish” games, or those of us who think we should be doing something more responsible or productive to go watch this talk.
If its purpose is more important than the act of doing it, then it’s probably not play. – Stuart Brown.