I played catch with Dr. J.
Dr. Joanna Cemore Brigden, that is.
An associate professor at Missouri State, Dr. J understands the importance of play as she is a board member for both the America Association for the Child’s Right to Play and The Association for the Study of Play. She is also a playground inspector through the National Program for Playground Safety.
Andrew (Day #289) introduced us and Dr. J agreed to play catch back when it didn’t hurt to have skin exposed to the elements. (Which reminds me of one of my favorite memes. See below. But I usually don’t have to use it until January or February.)
At least it’s not raining. But, it’s cold enough so it would actually be snow…
Dr. J cheered for the Braves when she lived in Florida and went to a Twins game when she lived in Iowa.
“I used to play softball. I was the pitcher. At one point in my life, that’s all I wanted to do.”
Her dissertation literally tries to define what make believe play is from a preschool teacher’s perspective.
“Researchers have such a hard time defining play. It’s process oriented, not about the end result. In play, the play-er is actively engaged. Although it’s pretend, those who play act as if the activity were real. The play is in the person, not in any objects, and it’s intrinsically motivated. Finally, those who play make the rules. It’s relatively free of externally imposed rules.”
I probably tried to get at least half a semester’s worth of information for free through my questions.
Dr. J told me that she assigns her students to reflect on their own play history and then play for five hours a week for five weeks and blog about their experiences. So I know I could pass her class.
Dr. J was influenced into studying play while a student at Florida State. She had a professor and an instructor who helped her explore the importance of play both in learning and in life. But when Dr. J started talking about the famous marshmallow-delayed-gratification test, I lost it. Immediately I thought of Justin Willman’s Magic for Humans and started laughing. So I gave Dr. J homework and told her she needed to watch the first episode pronto.
“Play is vital for healthy living, for enjoying life. People don’t realize how important play is. It’s vital for happiness. Everybody needs play in their life.”
A big fan of DisneyWorld, Dr. J wants to do research at the Magic Kingdom because it is a place where adults and kids play alongside of each other. I know there are baseball fields near DisneyWorld. If this weather continues, I am not opposed to heading to Florida for a few days as part of a catch-playing research project.
We went outside and the air stung my fingertips and hands and the tip of my nose and we played catch and we laughed.
“I had fun,” Dr. J said while I tried to warm up my hands.
Just keep playing, my friends, just keep playing.