Friday, June 16, 2006

Spontaneity, Wherefore Art Thou, Spontaneity

We live across the street from a schoolyard and their field where soccer, football and baseball is played directly in front of our living room windows. Several times a week we watch tons of kids and their parents get onto the two fields ready for games. The kids are all in their colorful uniforms and the parents are lugging blankets and lawn chairs to sit on while they watch their kids. Beloved hubby and I have chuckled between us saying how glad we were none of our kids were into soccer as we watched the parents determinedly sitting out there in rain, cold, hot sun and the crazy chinook winds we get here.

One day as I was looking out my window trying to see past the dozens of cars lined up and down the street, I got to thinking how when I was a kid organized sports was a rarity and usually for well off kids. In my neighborhood kids got together outside. Kids drew kids. And before you knew it games were just thrown together off the cuff. Whether you had the correct number of players or not. No parents cheering (or yelling, depending on your experience), no coaches coaching (or yelling depending on your experience), no refs. Sometimes just a bare skeleton of rules. Any kid coming along that wanted to play was worked in no matter where we were in the game. Age didn't matter nor skill. Being on the winning side was not important as we usually forgot to keep score once the game wore on. It was spontaneous and it was fun.

I miss those days. Sometimes I think we've so organized our lives and our kids lives that I wonder if they are missing out on some of the things I so enjoyed as a kid. We didn't play because it was 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday and you had to show up. We played 'cause we thought of it at the moment. And it wasn't limited to one sport. And if you wanted to quit halfway thru and switch to something else, hey all the more fun. I wonder if because they're lives are so organized how many kids know all the kids in their neighborhood within a 3 block radius and are friends with them 'cause they actually play with them on a regular basis. I suppose in smaller communities it happens more than in midsize to large cities.

I was trying to explain this to my kids, two are teens, 1 a tweenie. Dearest Daughter interupts to ask: "How old are you?" And Strapping Son comments: "Isn't that talking to strangers?"

Sigh. Spontaneity. I think I'll go plan to do something spontaneous this weekend.


Katherine@Raising Five said...

Oh, this is so on my mind right now, with three of my kids in sports this summer (almost done!). I don't want ours to be an "activity driven" family -- we say "no" to so much -- but it's very hard not to be. Sad that we have to "plan" your spontaneous activities. I'm with ya.

Lauren said...

I love the way we did it as kids and after trying the organized sports route, decided to boycott them after a few years. Thnaks for your view point, I agree!

Susanne said...

Katherine: Sometimes it's really hard to find that balance between activity driven and doing nothing, isn't it? I know I struggle with that constantly.

Lauren: Ya I loved knowing kids from blocks around. I'm not against organized sports at all but it sure got me thinking when we rarely see any pick up games going on across the street as to that cool aspect that my kids have missed out on becuase nobody is doing it. It's almost a thing of the past. It's such a busy society we live in. But here I go writing another essay.

MommaB said...

Oh, what a wonderful post! "Sports" did used to be fun didn't they. I lived in an apartment complex growing up and oh the "tournaments" we would have at various games. Funny thing is... I don't remember ever being worried about making it to the playoffs or being traded! Thanks for such wonderful post!!

momrn2 said...

I so remember the days you are talking about. Games developed right there, in our front yards. And it was fun. I had forgotten those memories. Thanks for bringing them back to my attention. Those were some fun times!