12 January 2015 / Play Nice

surfing-with-dolphins-at-jacques-point-kalbarri-western-australia-by-matt-hutton

(Photo by Matt Hutton Photography)

12 January 2015

Here on Planet Earth, nay the whole damned universe, humans reign supreme, for we alone amongst every other form of life were created in the image of God Almighty Himself. As such, we get to make the rules and reserve the right to change them to suit our needs or mood at any given moment. We get to define what is right and wrong, good and evil, worthy and worthless, what lives, what dies. Only we have the knowledge of how all things work and, better yet, how to improve upon what God just threw together in a week. We understand the nature of nature itself. Damn, we’re good.

We judge the relative intelligence of species by how much they indulge in play. Creatures who are at leisure to play rather than having to spend every waking moment of their existence in a struggle to survive have clearly attained an advanced level of development. In other words, the more closely they act like us, the smarter they are, obviously. So why, then, do we humans just plain suck at playing?

When as children we play, we experience skinned knees and black eyes, grow strong through disappointments and humble through defeat, gain confidence and affirmation through triumph and, most importantly, learn how to interact positively with other human beings. And in our child’s mind, we need only one word to describe all of these combined experiences: FUN.

Then, as grownups, sometimes sooner, for player and spectator alike, play becomes sport, which so often devolves into stress, tension, anger, suspicion, resentment, selfishness, divisiveness, life, death. “Foul! Cheat! No Fair!” we cry. Well, to borrow a favorite adage, ‘The Fair comes but once a year, in October.’

One of the finest pieces of advice I’ve received on keeping life in perspective is ‘Relax, they can’t eat ya.’ Our ‘Boys lost a well-played football game to a worthy opponent. Yet let us be thankful, at least, that we are such an advanced species, for in that other world of the less-evolved, they don’t play around. Losing means you just became lunch for something higher up the food chain.

Thank you Dallas Cowboys. Football hasn’t been this fun in years!

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