Do you remember when play only needed an imagination to make wherever you were into whatever you needed it to be?
A rock was home plate and second base might be a tree. It was all about what you could make work in order to play.
I saw this group of young boys playing a pick-up game of football in a side yard.
This took me back.
When I was kid, this was me. Everyday looking for a game with someone somewhere. I didn’t care what sport it was – let’s play. And I could play for hours. Often into the night where we would struggle to even see what we were doing.
It was great fun.
I can’t really remember the last time I played any sort of pick-up game of football, but I’m guessing I was about 23. I’m 50 now. And I’m guessing the reason I don’t play pick-up games anymore is because I’m pretty sure it would hurt!
I would hope my imagination is still there to play.
These kids had one bush on one end of the yard as a goal line. A bush on the other end was the other goal. The street was out of bounds and so was the house. It didn’t matter that there were two other trees in the yard between the two goals. They just played around them. Or that the yard sloped downhill to the street, or that there was a bees nest in a bush up against the house.
This was Heinz field.
And it worked. They scored touchdowns and agreed on most calls. There were no referees so it had to be a mutual understanding. It was play.
Now I make my living by what many would consider playing. It’s a hobby to many. I also make my living with being able to use my imagination to “see” what something might look like from many angles before even moving to those spots.
So I relate to these kids playing even now as an adult.
It made me wonder if my imagination and ability to see a goal around obstacles comes from these pick-up games from years ago. Then, we would devise a field and a set of rules to follow in order to obtain the objective of the game. Today, I go into an area and have to assess it in order to see it from multiple vantage points, often trying to imagine what it would look like from the other side or higher or lower so I can find the angle I need to tell a visual story. All in trying to get what information I need to communicate to our readers visually what a story is about.
What I do now in work and what I did then as a child is the same thing really. Only I’m less likely to hurt as much the next day.