Friday, September 12, 2008

Four Square and my World View-

I entered the American public school system in the late 1950's. Most of my education took place in the 1960's. One of my earliest life lessons came early in those years.

At recess from classes we went to the playground. Painted on the surface of the tarmac were squares. Probably twelve to fifteen feet to a side. Each square was divided into four equal lesser squares. The game was played with the ubiquitous red rubber ball.

A player stood in each of the squares. The lead player would establish the rules of the game, and then bounce the ball to another player. That player would return the ball or send it to another player, according to the lead player's rules. Children wanting to enter the game would line up along the side of the major square. When a player missed the ball they were out, the remaining players advanced one square, and the next player entered the game.

That is the idealized version. Unfortunately, it was played by humans. The lead player was, in those days in my schools, generally a dominant female. She would always assume the lead, and place her friends in the remaining squares. She would often adjust or interpret her impromptu rules to keep herself and her friends in control of the game.

This was my introduction to human social games. I did not like it. Generally, to become the friend of a lead player required a certain devotion that I never really comprehended. After trying this game, and some of the others, I eventually gravitated to the far side of the field. I just hung out there, watching the other kids play or looking out through the fence.

I apparently do not have a strong social need. More than one person has observed, "Mike, you don't need people, do you?" It is true. That need is small in me. So, I failed to learn a lot of the basic social games that were taught unofficially on the playgrounds of my schools.

Nature, or nurture? I can't really say. I always come to the conclusion that it has to be both, and the dominance of one over the other is not consistent from person to person. Anyway, I elected quite consciously to not learn a lot of the social games. The few I played were conducted with such a cynical twist that I was not really playing those games, either.

Antisocial? Not really. I have come to care for some people quite strongly. More like asocial. The inherent need was not strong, and I think that the need drives the games. My conscious decision to avoid or abandon most of the human games shaped my world view.

What is your Four Square influence? Have you identified it? How has it impacted your world view?

Philosophy. On purpose.

1 comment:

La, Storyteller/Storysinger said...

Hmmmm...I kinda liked four square. I never played a lot of games in school but that one was okay. Better than doing nothing.
I don't remember it being a "female" dominated game. I thought it was the boys that usually dominated but the difference in our memories could be a male/female thing.
Anyway, although I am a very, some say extremely, social person, I usually could take or leave games. I like to "talk" to or relate to people but I have never really appreciated games of any kind.
And I refer to the physical and the mental games. The mental ones take up waaaaay too much energy.
As to the physical ones of my playground days, I always liked the ones that seemed to put most of us on an even playing field. THings like Red Rover or Mother May I or just jumping rope. There were always cliques or kids who were not popular just as there are today.
Hmmm....I think I am losing the point here, assuming I had one.

Oh to whether being a social person is nurture or nature, I think that it is a bit of both.
I come from a very social family but all of them are not as "social" as I am. But while I love to be around people and meet new people, I am just as happy to spend large periods of time alone, especially if I am reading. Give a few good books and I can take or leave people for awhile.

Oh well, I'm just rambling now.
Good blog!
I will definitely come back often.