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True Friendships Are Fun & Games October 8, 2013

Tag Game

I just read the most amazingly fun story about ten guys and a historical game of Tag! That got me doing a little thinking…and research… about what it was like to be a kid.

Being a kid was FUN! It was exhilarating! Being a child or even teenager, meant lots of friends with whom we spent lots of time doing silly and fun things. But then, we grew up and somewhere along the way many of us, myself included, forgot what it was like to “PLAY.”

We’re just too busy to “play” these days aren’t we? I mean, we have careers, families, and the dreaded “R” word – RESPONSIBILITIES. Playing is for kids, right? Who has time? But then I read about the guys playing “Tag!” and found other instances of adults who have remained in touch with their “inner child” and WOW, do they sound like they’re having a ball!

Before you read these wonderful stories, here’s the take-away….

Most play involves more than one person and, it seems, the more we play the closer our friendships become. I’m using the term “play” loosely, but what I mean is…when a playful activity turns into a “tradition,” that seems to create a “bond,” which becomes a “responsibility” for the players involved to continue their playful activities. And so, the lifelong circle of friendship is created.

Here’s how some “adults” have figured out that latching onto our childlike qualities can really make life fun and create lifelong, quality friendships.

Let’s start with the Tag Brothers. Ten high school friends from the state of Washington have been keeping their game of tag going for over 20 years. You can read their entire story in the Wall Street Journal, but suffice it to say, every February these successful businessmen, husbands and even a priest play a month-long game of tag, crossing the country, if needed, and involving innocent by-standers and family, just to say those glorious words, “You’re IT!” And, as we all know from our childhood days, you NEVER want to be IT for a second, let alone an entire year. This story is so magical, Hollywood is getting in on the action and rumor has it Will Ferrell and Jack Black are on board. I have to wonder, without their respect for and responsibility towards keeping the game alive, would these guys all still be friends to this day? It seems to me, this game of Tag just may have evolved into a responsibility, albeit “fun responsibility” that has kept these men true and close friends all of these years.

hotpotato2Ok, so maybe a historical game of tag is a bit too much for you to beckon your inner child. What about starting a little game of “Hot Potato!” Think, really bad Christmas gift. What do you do with it? How about regifting it next year to a friend who sees the humor in this “white elephant.” And, what is a friend, with a sense of humor, supposed to do? Respond to the challenge of course, by giving it back to you in a more creative way, like say, incased in concrete. Who can out do whom? That’s the game that two brothers-in-law in Minnesota played for almost 25 years. It all started with a pair of gaudy moleskin pants and ended tragically with the pants demise in 1988, when the “regifting” involved a mock iceberg and flood lights. I think it’s best if you read for yourself! Once again, a bit of innocent “play,” evolved into tradition and became the mechanism that kept friends closer than I believe they would’ve been without the game.

Still not a believer? Here’s a more subdued game, though to be most effective it really needed to start in your teens or early 20’s. Five high school friends in Santa Barbara, California posed for a picture in 1982. They didn’t think much of it, until 1987 when they returned to the same spot and one suggested they take an identical (well almost) photo. The rest is history, as they reconvene at the same cabin every five years to strike the same pose. Who can say for sure, if without the photo, these friends would’ve remained so for all these years. It certainly seems however, that this simple photo became a catalyst for ensuring this group remained friends.

Clearly, these games and traditions first began for the sheer joy and fun it brought its players at that time. I don’t think any of them, especially in their teens and early 20’s, had the forethought to realize that their responsibility to the games would bring them through the journey of friendship and life – together.

So, what light-hearted, playful game or tradition do you think would be fun; stand the test of time; and ensure that your friendships will last well into the future? Do you have a similar story of “historical play?” Tell me on my Facebook page or leave a comment below, because frankly, I need ideas for myself!

Until I hear from you, I’ll tune in to my television heroes of “PLAY” – Impractical Jokers, four longtime friends who continually challenge each other to do silly and embarrassing things for no other reason than “fun!”


Power Thought quote by Roald Dahl: “A little nonsense now and then, is cherished by the wisest men.”

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