Monday, February 1, 2010

True Fun is Hard Work

"If you never fall down, that means you're not trying anything new."

That's the pearl of wisdom I tried to impart to my boys as we skated away from the scene of my downfall (literally). With the back of my jeans and sweater covered in ice, I had the pride that uniquely belongs to those who attempt things that involve the risk of embarrassment or injury. What's more? This inglorious display was within the context of having fun with my two sons. I was particularly proud of my youngest son in how, as we skated together, he was at the ready to help his "old man" up after each spill.

The principle demonstrated in this episode is that all true fun is hard work. It takes effort, struggle, and pleasure in one's exertion. There's a connection between elation and the body's involvement in activity that is summarized in the category of "fun." This cannot be achieved as a stationary observer. Whether enjoying a movie or a performing artist, the entertainment value really needs another term other than "fun;" that should be reserved for those activities that require movement, adrenaline and even potential exhaustion. This understanding of "fun" cannot be restricted merely to team sports, although they would make good examples. This includes such other recreation activities as hiking, biking, kayaking, skiing, swimming, etc. The list could be surprisingly long with practices that move the body, spend energy and conjure the euphoric elation of holistic pleasure, albeit without the pressures of competition.

For this reason, I prefer to reserve the "fullest" meaning of "fun" for those activities that are also hard work. When asked at work this week about the sling on my right arm, I replied, "It was for a worthy cause... having fun with my kids."

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