All of us, every single one, played for hours on end and for years at a stretch, once upon a time.
And then one day, most of us got some version of:
“Put down the toys, and pick up the tools”
and that was that. Our playtime was seen as frivolous, as unnecessary, or even worse - a distraction from the true meaning of life: work. That’s all backwards - Play is the true meaning of life. All social animals do it, it’s the best way to learn - to learn boundaries and limits, both of ourselves and our culture, to learn fairness and forgiveness and to learn who we really are as people.
Play matters, and in this day and age it matters more than ever. With the ever-growing power of the internet and its fabulously useful elements, there is a sneaking sense of distance - we’re losing some of the human elements of interaction that makes us the happy, social creatures that we are.
We need to sit with other people, to share the tussle of honest competition, to see in their eyes the moment when they realise they’ve been outmanoeuvred, and to relive those moments in conversation later. The shared experiences we have on the tabletop go much further and deeper than many of the others served up by our society, too many of which position us as spectators; TV, sports, movies - whereas real Play sees us getting our hands dirty, making real moment-to-moment decisions that shape the outcomes for us and those we play with.
True Play allows us to test our limits, whether physical, mental, or emotional, in a safe environment, and then to stretch those limits once discovered. Play gives us the tools to grow as people, as a society and a culture, and I implore you - if you’ve read this far, and find yourself living a life without enough playtime, please find a space and make the time to Play. You’ll feel the difference, I promise.