I live in a household of competitive boys (now that my only daughter is grown and married). I've posted in the past on our propensity for turning most anything into a competition, fierce at times, but good natured and healthy. We do participate in some organized sports - soccer in the fall and baseball in the spring. But now that soccer season is over, pick-up games are the norm. My guys have been the driving force behind Sunday afternoon sports at the local park. Some weeks they have twenty people show up for a pick up soccer game. Folks - from 10 to 50 years old, from around the corner and around the world, boys and girls - gather in all kinds of weather, divide up teams and go at it, playing hard, helping each other out, competing and encouraging. It is a highlight of the week and is a great way to bring folks together on a Sunday afternoon for refreshment and fun. Often, a group of the players will drift over to our house after the game to snack on whatever's left from Sunday lunch, popcorn, or whatever they can find. Sometimes we hustle up a meal of scrambled eggs and toast, but Sunday is mostly a rest day from cooking for me so we keep it simple. Occasionally, someone will stop and buy ice cream on the way home from the field and add that to the hodge podge of food.
This past week, in the absence of soccer practice, my young men have invented a new game. You will chuckle at the name. It's Chunky Baseball. It even has a theme song. I don't why it got that name or what the rules are. When I've asked for an explanation, they just sort of sigh as if to say, "Well, Mommy, it's really complicated and you just have to go out and play it to understand it." So, I'll be content to remain in the dark about the intricacies of this new game. But what I love is that my boys, together with a neighbor, friends from church, a homeschool buddy, a cousin, and others, have spent every gorgeous fall afternoon this week OUTSIDE!!!! Being creative, exercising, having fun. They come in with bright eyes and rosy faces. We made a trip to the store to buy a bigger, brightly colored ball with which to play the game, since the small red rubber ball they'd been using kept getting lost in the thick stand of monkey grass that covers our neighbor's entire front yard.
I have heard that this generation of kids doesn't know how to play games, doesn't get enough exercise, sits in front of the computer or the TV and lets their brains turn to mush. Maybe if there was a Chunky Baseball game going on down the street, those kids would forget about Halo or whatever else it is they play, say goodbye to their facebook buddies, and head outside. Maybe playing Chunky Baseball would revive their mushy brains and strengthen their atrophying muscles. Maybe they'd find out that being outside, creating a game is way more fun than staying inside playing simulated tennis on a Wii. I don't know. I'm just glad that around here real kids are playing real games in the real outdoors. It seems that there is no end to their creativity when it comes to games. Maybe sometime I'll write about Electrifying - another recently invented sentence structure/grammar game played across the ping-pong table with a football. I don't think Nintendo will ever come up with anything like that!