Fun didn’t always require an outlet

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There is just nothing like a mid-winter party to lift the spirits. Yesterday, our home was filled with lots of great kids and the wonderful laughter and fun that comes along with a gathering.
We loudly cheered on the Ohio State University basketball team to an overtime win, landing them in to the Sweet 16 .
Technological fun. A friend of Cort’s, who is home on spring break from college, brought along the biggest hit of the night. He has the new Wii game system in which interactive play is the entire concept.
The player holds the game pads in his hands and pretends to throw a bowling ball down the alley. The game senses the movement of the player and a split or a strike or a gutter ball is the result. It is amazing and it is incredibly fun.
Cort figured out a way to run the game from the TV to a much larger projection screen, making it all the more fun for a large group of kids. We cheered on each player in boxing, tennis, bowling and golf.
Each of the players commented that not only is it fun and challenging, but the more active games such as boxing and tennis can prove to be a real workout, too.
We’ve come a long way in our game-playing, haven’t we?
Games. I remember the many evenings at my grandparents’ home, playing all sorts of silly games with cousins, and none of them were the least bit high-tech.
On a decent weather day, we would run through the old orchard and play freeze tag, or one of the older cousins would set up boundaries and we would begin a long game of hide and seek.
A big tree would be home base, and we could sneak back and touch it and yell “Safe!”
Cousin Steve always seemed to find the most difficult hiding spot and he would force whoever was doing the seeking to yell “Ally-ally in free!”
When we tired of this, we would create games of our own, and they usually involved a walk down to the railroad tracks.
We made up silly stories and created a game called Hobo Junction in which we each chose who we would wish to be and where we would wish to go if we could jump on to the next passing train.
There were hundreds of games of softball played when the summer weather came along and we all ended up out at my Aunt Dee’s place.
Indian ball. If there weren’t enough cousins to field a team with all the bases covered, our mothers taught us a game called “Indian ball” in which a batter hit the ball, and whoever fielded it had the chance to roll the ball in to home plate.
The batter was to lay the bat down on the ground, and if the rolling ball touched the bat, that person who had rolled the ball got to be the next batter.
As we got older, we progressed to all sorts of swimming games in the pond, followed by a rousing game of volleyball. We played badminton, croquet, or we spent an evening chasing fireflies.
We worked up a good appetite for the bonfire meals that followed, and we sometimes made a game of that, too – let’s see who can cook up the neatest new invention in a pie iron!
Quiet. Life can be so incredibly hard on any given day, and we need laughter and fun more than medicine. I love watching my kids laughing with friends, and can’t bear to imagine the day when all of these great kids have moved on and this home is quiet.
Maybe I’ll have to buy my own Wii game system!

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Judith Sutherland, born and raised on an Ohio family dairy farm, now lives on a 70-acre farm not far from the area where her father’s family settled in the 1850s. Appreciating the tranquility of rural life, Sutherland enjoys sharing a view of her world through writing. Other interests include teaching, reading, training dogs and raising puppies. She and her husband have two children, a son and a daughter, in college.

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