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So, Figure it Out – Who’s Zoomin’ Who?

Said the Joker to the Thief

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Bob Dylan. Photo: Flickr/Xavier Badosa

“Yeah, man. You. Figure it out. Where would there be a Coyote Center?”

“Emmm. Arizona?”

“Very nice. Right on. So, why do so many old people look like they got beat up?”

“Emmm. Life is hard?”

“Correct. Not necessarily always, or all the time – but generally, for most people in the world – life is hard. Ok, so – next question: What is a ‘secret?’”

“Emmm. What are we doing here?”

“C’mon. We’re having a conversation. Plus I’m curious how other people think – so, tell me, how would you define a secret?”

“Well, I think a secret is something that you tell somebody.”

“Now see – I’d have never thought of it that way – something you tell somebody. Very clever answer. Nicely done. Ok – no more trick-er-a-tion. Next question…How many guns are fired in a 21-Gun Salute?”

Aretha Franklin, seen here when the Queen of Soul was about 18 and signed to Columbia Records. (Photo: Frank Driggs Collection)
Aretha Franklin, seen here when the Queen of Soul was about 18 and signed to Columbia Records. (Photo: Frank Driggs Collection)

“Ohhhhh. I know this one! Seven guns, each fired three times!”

“Excellent choice! Right you are. A bit more serious now – In this day and age, what does it mean to be educated?”

“Emmm. Well, to be educated means many things. Perhaps even a multiple of things all at the same time. But more than anything else, like, rising above all the other meanings, I think, as a society we have redefined education.”

“You say, we’ve redefined education. Whatever do you mean?”

“Well, I think that the youth generation wants education, or being educated, to at least include the idea that we have an appreciation for the differences we might see in others.”

“So, you’re saying that education means acting educated – as in, with an eye toward seeing value in other people, and other people’s perspective – even if their perspective does not necessarily agree or sit well with one’s own? This is what it now means to be educated?”

“Yes. I think so. I think there’s plenty of evidence for that perspective on education present in the many messages of today’s youth.”

“Do you believe that this perspective on education is a view taken exclusively by the youth generation?”

“Actually, I do not. I believe that valuing and respecting others by appreciating the differences among us has caught the attention of adults as well – and many have started to adopt this view, perhaps even a majority.”

“Wow. That’s really interesting. So how does leisure, recreation, and sports fit with all that? Like, what do recreation and sports have to do with education?”

“That’s the beauty of it. Recreation, sports, and leisure transcend all barriers.”

“Please explain.”

“Recreation, sports, and leisure can be both organized and unorganized. In either context, they present a construct that encourages participants to set aside differences, to level the viewing field as well as the playing field, and thrive together as equal members of a community. Recreation sports and leisure establish roles that can be clearly understood, and allows for a model of interchangeability as well as a highlighting of mutually beneficial exchanges. Authentic recreation, sports, and leisure activities bring out the best of our humanity by facilitating an experience of, or at the very least a vision of, our return to innocence.”

By Dr. Rodney J. Blackman

Dr. Blackman is the Chair of Recreation Management at the United States Sports Academy, and can be reached at rblackman@ussa.edu.

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