Sports and games are a part of any healthy social life. There’s nothing like getting together with the gang and shooting some hoops or colonizing the island of Catan. Friendships get stronger over a little friendly competition, and memories are formed over a particularly eventful game. So, it was good to see the green so busy with activity on Monday!
But I couldn’t quite tell what they were playing. It seemed like a capture-the-flag sort of deal, but one team had all the flags while the other just had a bunch of signs adorned with incongruous messages. The players just all sort of stood there, staring at each other. It was pretty uncomfortable for me.
Normally I would ask to join in, but the rules seemed so convoluted and based on nothing. If you want the campus to get engaged, why would you make it so inaccessible? Why are you pushing people away? I felt really ashamed of my own lack of experience with whatever the game was, so I walked by and tried not to make eye contact with anybody. I’m sure many others shared my experience, which is probably why the teams got smaller as the day carried on.
I know this because I was staring out the window of my classroom, watching. All I wanted to do was play too; all I wanted to do was pick up all the flags and hide them, like a normal game of capture the flag. I tried and tried to understand but all I could discern was that no one seemed to actually be having fun playing. Why not?
Here’s my take on how to actually have fun: include people. Don’t scare them away with particular rules. Don’t shove games that only make sense to their inventors in people’s faces. Don’t make it clear that you’re not having fun because you don’t understand the game, either. Play a less pretentious game! Welcome people without challenging them from the get-go! Get to know your fellow humans!
Maybe I’m just embarrassed about being implicitly excluded, but next time we should just play frisbee or something.