The game that has been around as long as we have had the good guys and the bad guys. It requires no equipment, no scheduled practices, no training sessions, no private lessons, no group clinics, no carpool, no timeline and absolutely no parental involvement. It's a concept that has been around for decades, the good guys against the bad guys, the most primitive form of a concept that is invaluable, play.
The children plan their teams, they learn to work with different ages and squabble over fairness, they set the time to meet and they set the rules. They play, small figures, flying through the grass at early dark and my role is strictly as observer. I take advantage of this greatly planned and anticipated meeting by a dozen or so kids and haul my two year old on a three mile walk in the stroller, cool and lovely in late May. Best side note: my children are not technology zombies. Ahhh, the familiar feeling of summer creeps in and I long for a condo, not particularly attractive or charming and just one row off the beach. It is this, the place of my childhood and the sense of familiarity that calls to me each spring and now beckons my children as well.
They rise early and fly out the door, eager to ensure there is not some wonderful activity that has begun without them, typically mornings are reserved for soccer or surfing. By later summer I will be compelled to rise at dawn with the promise of flawless waves. I will take my coffee and sit upon the cool damp sand, watching my son seek the perfect wave, and all the while, hoping Amos will sleep a bit longer. They come back hungry and make their beds, as poorly as possible, which I struggle to ignore. Secretly, I’m happy to smooth the rumples as I'm delighted they are outside. If two leave, there are three here, groups of little girls, middle sized boys, older boys mixed with young teenagers. They play and play and play.
Cops and robbers. It is the oldest game in the book. I think about my childhood; we played in these familiar woods, raced through thick green grass, swung from the old live oaks, wedged ourselves beneath wooden decks, tiptoed through the familiar asphalt parking lot, and hid amongst the dunes. The winner was never made known to me, and I doubt they care much either way this early, almost summer day. Instead, the art is in the game itself, the complex scene that they stage all winter in their minds and when Memorial Day arrives, it comes to fruition. Early each evening, they move as children should and I think the good guys have won after all, as long as play rules the day of the endless summer.