Whatever happened to being the nicer one in the room and not the one pointing fingers? It was a good thing the meeting was now over as everyone left the room not knowing who was in or out. The ones calling the shots must have forgotten what it meant to be a team leader. "Lead by example and be the one person looked up to." How did this change for the worse and it was happening way too often. I felt it more than most as I was fairly new to the team. Over and over in the past few months brought the gavel down to any and most of my input to new strategies. "Don't use that word - new strategies. Our old ways have worked just fine. You people need to..." and he went on and on. I was told since they knew more than me given the years in business, and that I should listen more than talk. Well, they certainly were not with the times. I thought we were back in the past playing a mind game except back then we were outside, yes, always, outside in the streets, over by the park, in the woods using our brains for more than a hat rack. Although for me, it was just a ton of the best times, in the neighborhood streets of our town back in the good ol' days. We made it fun when it was game time and we played, say, Red Light-Green Light, Drop the Handkerchief, Dodge Ball or our favorite; Tip Cat. This game was played with one long and one short stick. The short stick which is always on the ground is flung into the air by tapping on the tip with the long stick so that it travels the air as far as possible, the player who throws the short stick three times and is unable to hit it gives their place to the next player. It was my turn and here we were playing this game albeit years later inside a room filled with bad juju. This was not how my day was supposed to end. There was a list of ideas that I wanted to share to bring more positive energy to what we were trying to accomplish. Interestingly, the company I worked for created, manufactured and marketed board games. It was called, AROUND SQUARES. We all tried to be on board (no pun intended) with new subtle intentions in the changing dynamics of the world market but too many old hats were not addressing what we were seeing and living with day to day. There was an upsurge in making more games with less of a hands on approach but with more hands free gaming. Not where I wanted to see the world spinning towards this way. Your there but not there. How can this be fun, social, engaging and real? Humans need the sense of touch to bring in their best game, not air space mode.
It was a calling. A brainstorm hit me upside the head like someone tossing a big bag of marbles. It was such a bump in the noggin as each marble was an idea waiting to happen. As they say, "Everything happens for a reason". This, I knew and sensed, was a way to bring back the joy in community events and to offset so much bad kharma taking down our fun spaces everywhere. We needed to get back to more ways to bring the fun back to the day and end it with the proverbial, HIGH FIVE. All of us, from kids to the old folks have to play nice and just be in the moment. So what was this idea that for me is suddenly is blazing a new path?
Bring back the neighborhood games; outside in the park, on the streets in a safe space, and promoting neighborhood togetherness. Absolutely, YES! I can see doing this by the one and only way; a hands on approach. The ideas clicked as I made it back to my apartment driving slowly through the back roads and downtown areas all along the way. It was late afternoon, but the number of kids in places you expected to see them were minimal. I can't believe I did not notice this long slide our society has taken into enclosure mode. I get it. Technology has become an addiction we are all guilty of day in and day out. But let's think about this new idea for a minute. And my mind went on auto drive on how to better life in our digital age. Not eliminate it as that is not my goal, but to bring back the spunk and enthusiasm for good old fashioned FUN! Make our kids aware of the need for movement, action, imagination, and sportsmanship in a simple way.
I called the best person I knew who would be on the same page as me and he convinced me to start a non-profit for the good in communities. CAPTURE THE FLAG has now become an active investment in life. My first community event happened in the town I lived and worked. I contacted the local newspaper and attended a town meeting to promote my intentions. As my name came up the entire attendees stood and clapped for me in accepting my quest to do the best thing for the entire town. The weekend was set to go and I hoped for the best. On the morning of the planned game time, in the area sketched out in the multitude of games I brought to the day, it was if a parade was happening. The amount of adults and kids gave me such a welcoming cheer to begin the journey that I grabbed the mic and without any fanfare I promptly told of my intentions and that CAPTURE THE FLAG was going further than this town for the good of the mission. I ended with, "Let us, one and all, Steal the Bacon, Play Hop Scotch, toss the Hot Potato, Pin the Tail and Marco Polo the day!"
The day ended with a Scavenger Hunt and a Tug of War with kids and the parents. Everyone was laughing and crazy with happy vibes. My new life could never have been planned had I not gone back to this blast from the past. Love it!