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I grew up in a family with a father who loved to play (and still does at age 80). Play was a priority in our family and it still is in my life. This is what I admire the most about my father,and what I have carried forward in my own life.

As a child in a family of nine children, we couldn't wait to get out the door in the morning during summer or after school during the school year. Our days consisted of kick the can, softball, football....Sometimes we played board games and cards but most of the time we were playing something. To this day when all of us are together, our time revoves around some type of play. we recently all met up to surprise my dad for his 80th b-day and we played a horseshoe-type game called cornhusk. To this day my favorite way to interact with people is to play something. For my 50th b-day I told my family if there was to be a party I wanted it to involve playing something.

I work as a Reading Specialist in an elementary school and primarily teach a phonics based program. I have incorporated many games into my lessons and it is not unusual for students to come in and say, "What are we going to play today Mrs. Brady?" I have found that when you do this, it makes it fun and engaging and they remember what the lesson was about.

I have a friend that I have been playing racquetball originally, and then tennis for over 20 years together once or twice a week. We witnessed our kids growing up, going onto college, and now starting their own families. We've shared many tears, hopes, dreams, and stories "at the net".

Playing has been essential to my life and my favorite saying is: You don't stop playing because you get old. you get old because you stop playing. My dad is truly testament to this and I hope I will be too. I hope my owm children will see how much "play" has added to my life and that they will find their own forms of play that will enhance their lives too.