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As a young child, I had already noticed the three major demands of play; Strength, stamina, and skill. My childhood games included baseball, hockey, football, biking, swimming, team chase games, and snow shoveling.
Yes, for me, snow shoveling was play. I would spend hours tunneling through snowbanks, or piling snow to make igloos and forts. At the age of eight, I remember running two hundred yards without stopping and feeling very proud of myself. At the age of twelve, I remember lifting the whole one hundred ten pounds of my barbell set over my head. At this same age I pitched on my little league team and could throw fifteen strikeouts in one game. I captained my high school football team and wrestling team. So I did learn young that strength, stamina, and skill made playing the game even more rewarding.
Play taught me about morality too. I learned cooperation, following rules, being fair, winning and losing like a gentleman. I didnĀ“t think much about these things at the time, but, in hindsight, I know that play planted good seeds for my moral development.
As a young adult I had a huge measure of strength, stamina, and skill. When I built my first home, I dug the basement hole with a shovel. I moved about one hundred fifty cubic yards of earth. As a father of three sons at age twenty seven, I would carry all three for twenty minutes or more when the were too tired to walk on their own feet. The oldest boy would sit on my shoulders while the other two would each ride an arm.
In my early thirties I biked over a hundred miles in a day and ran a marathon in five hours with no training during the two months preceeding the race. At age thirty seven I re-entered college and joined the wrestling team, winning four of eight matches. I stayed healthy through my forties, made a second marriage at forty six. Fathered my forth child at age forty eight. I am still playing with my child at age fifty two just as I did with her three brothers when they were small. So I believe it is fair to say that how I played in my youth set the tone for my whole life.