Play is Important!

Play: the trivial pursuits of children, teenagers, and even adults is a lot more important than realized. Contrary to the beliefs of Giamatti, play and games have true health and mental effects on the body. Games are beneficial on the scientific levels, much deeper than the beliefs of Giamatti that games are played to imitate the gods and worship the gods. Play is crucial for the development of a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive growth and advancement. Key skills and qualities such as problem solving, independence, curiosity, and independence are exercised by game playing. It also brings a child to explore his or her feelings and values, and essentially develop social skills.

I remember that as a child, board games and strategy games consisted of my daily activities. All of those Sudoku puzzles, problem-solving video games, strategy building quests, and competition-filled games of chess made me the person I am today. Not only did those games keep me occupied and entertained, but also kept my cognitive skills active.

Adults playing

Our society tends to dismiss play for adults. Play is perceived as unproductive, petty or even a guilty pleasure. Adults focus heavily on work and family commitments; however, play is an actual experience filled with numerous benefits. Play has proven to relieve stress, stimulate the mind, improve relationships, and enhance brain function. Overall, play affects your entire well-being and the productivity of one’s work is highly-dependent on one’s work. This is the main reason many big companies like Google, Apple, and Facebook incorporate play in the workplace. This is why Bernard Suits in the Grasshopper: Games, Life, and Utopia called playing the “ideal of existence.”

Watching, playing, and participating, Play whether in the form of games or sports have benefited society in ways one cannot even imagine. Yesterday, Derek Jeter, shortstop for the New York Yankees, played his final game at Yankee Stadium in his glorified 20 year career. Winning the game with a walk-off single, Derek Jeter amazed NY and the whole world with his greatness one last time. For many, sports and play are a release from the real world to relax and truly develop into better people. Sports allow people to stay sane in a society crushed by stress and expectations. A role model to me and many others, Derek Jeter lived a life of drama-free baseball and dedication. His values and attitude as a Yankee and his intangibles as a player on and off the field makes him the face of the MLB and the face of NY. Growing up 40 minutes from Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter was an idol to say the least. The way he played the game and motivated others to work hard. Since 1996,  Jeter spoke with his bat and glove and told the world that work and play go hand-for-hand. The values, themes, and morals play can teach a society transcends the “uselessness” of the activity. With the faces of Derek Jeter and many other athletes, sports and games have impacted the world greatly and inspired millions.

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NY Times: Derek Jeter’s final home game

Sources:

http://www.education.com/reference/article/importance-play–social-emotional/

Giamatti, A. Bartlett. Take Time for Paradise: Americans and Their Games. New York: Summit, 1989. Print.

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3 thoughts on “Play is Important!

  1. Play described by Giamatti was definitely limited and biased at some level since he didn’t really delve into the significance of play in terms of the human progress. In one of my psychology classes I’m taking this semester, we also discussed about how play influence cognitive and social developments for children in early stages, and how rules and complexity of games actually help stimulate cognitive skills and mindsets. I absolutely agree that fast forward thinking companies like the ones you mentioned above definitely incoporate fun factors into their office designs as well as actual work. However, I feel that the area of play for atheletes might actually be stressful and tedious. Although we do use the word “play” when associating with sports, I still think that being an expert on a specific sport requires dedication, commiment and everyday practice, which is a similar situation like you mentioned about the lives of an adult. Therefore, I think when play is incorporated as a profession, especially in professional sports, there might be a drastic difference compared to the play that generates huge benefits.

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  2. I agree with your points that play has developmental benefits at all ages. At a young age, games of hide and go seek and dress up dominate much of our time. Adults have less play time due to increasing responsibilities from school and work. However, the free “play” time for adults I think is valued more because of what it signifies: a way to take a break from reality for a while. Additionally, there are people who are able to have their work BE their play, like Derek Jeter. Not only does he play baseball as his work, his playing of baseball is a form of play for the spectators. The developments of character and cognitive skills make play an essential part of a healthy lifestyle, all in moderation.

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  3. I agree that play is often ignored as a part of being an adult. I’m very lucky that my family still makes time for fun and play, especially when many of my friends have families that do not make time for play or frowns upon it. It is often overlooked, but companies such as Google, which gives it’s employees plenty of opportunities for play have proved that it is very important that adults receive and adequate break from reality through play, regardless of what that term means to them.

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