Friday night was game night at the church, which meant brownies and chips and cookies and cake and pretzels and a veggie platter (guess who brought that), several round tables, stacks of board games, a few dozen adults, and about 15 kids completely uninterested in playing board games. The herd of young ones ranged in age from toddler to pre-teen and, with almost no trouble, they played Red Light/Green Light, had crab races, and did a lot of chasing each other around. Then Mr. Baseball found a racquetball.
When Mr. Baseball brought out the blue ball, all the boys converged on it and without any formal explanation, they organized themselves into an improvised ball game that involved somebody throwing the ball off the wall and then 16 little hands chasing after it, diving under tables, disrupting games of Cranium, and spilling drinks. I was reminded of an episode in Cesar Millan's book Cesar's Way, (he's the dog whisperer on Animal Planet). In the book he describes an entire pack of dogs playing fetch with one ball, all following the lead of the alpha male--no fighting. just pack solidarity and the intense desire to hunt down a small, bouncing rubber object.
The boys played like this for at least an hour without any major fights or disagreements, and while, as I've already mentioned, they did disrupt a few of games here and there, for the most part they stayed out of trouble and everyone had a great time.
Wouldn't it be great to be so easily entertained, enthralled, and consumed by one little ball. Too bad we have to get older, and grow out of that kind of mindless distraction...
errr, uhhh, yeah. too bad.