The other week, my friend Nell sent an email to a dozen other friends with the subject line “Friendly Neighborhood Basketball.” Its purpose was what it sounded like: to organize a game of Sunday night pickup. What novelty! I played basketball in high school, and even intramurals in college, but good lord that was 11 years ago. If I remember correctly, it has been about that long since I’ve played a game with my peers; since I’ve been involved in a social activity that was not centered around eating, drinking, or pure exercise. The email tickled us, but also made us a little skeptical. Would this actually be fun?
After an hour of dribbling and shooting hoops and trying to stop the opposing team from doing the same, a sudden realization hit us, collectively, like a ton of bricks: we’d all been making a horrible, extended mistake. Why have we been holed up in our work, and bogged down by stress, and eschewing casual play with others? Kids play together all the time because it’s relaxing and healthy. For some reason adults don’t. Why? Yes, we’re busy, but if we value something, we make time for it. And playing is the best! At least we remembered it was a few Sundays ago, after years of being in play retirement.
And none of us even had kids. What if you do have kids? Making sure your kid is fed and clothed and pretty happy and engaged, let alone doing those same things for yourself, in addition to your work, and keeping up your relationships—suffice it to say—takes up each of your waking hours. How on earth do you find time to play? Unless somebody just says, “drop everything, it’s time for recess,” just like when you were in school. Would you do that? You might feel like you can’t, but it’s simple: it just requires saying “fuck it, I’m gonna play.” You have that power. It is the power of being an adult. And this weekend, magically, someone is inviting you to do that—to go outside and play with others.
Recess for ‘Rents is organized by BuzzFeed (along with advertiser Johnson’s, the kid shampoo maker; hey someone has to pay for it) at Greenwood park this Sunday. At recess, organizers are hoping that you, parents, above all, will make new mom and dad friends, while engaged in light activity, i.e., while playing together. As I just re-learned, playing is way more fun than we’ve been giving it credit for. And they will help you do this, despite your busy, busy lives. You can even bring your kids; maybe they’ll make new kid friends, too.
While there, you can win prizes, get massages, make crafts, hop inside a photo booth, use a custom snapchat filter, eat food, and drink mocktails. Remember? You can have fun without booze. Just like you did as a kid—back when you were so busy playing, it was everything else that seemed silly.
Recess for ‘Rents is this Sunday, June 5 from 10am to 12pm at Greenwood Park; 555 7th Avenue, Brooklyn.