“The opposite of play is not work – the opposite of play is depression.” — Brian Sutton-Smith
So who knew that there is a National Institute for Play… or a National Museum of Play. It turns out that “play” is serious stuff.
I started thinking about this a few years ago while watching a couple in their sixties playing bocce with a twenty-something Hispanic couple. Even though age and language were barriers… they were laughing, encouraging each other, and enjoying the game.
That’s when I realized the power of play to change our community… and that I could be an advocate for play in the public space.
Initiative #1: Frederick Bocce
The purpose of Frederick Bocce is to promote and enjoy the game of bocce.
Bocce can be played by all age groups and is wheelchair friendly – making it a sport that is open to just about everyone.
In partnership with Friends of Baker Park and the City of Frederick, we are building four permanent bocce courts in Baker Park across from the iconic Carillon (Bell Tower).
UPDATE: We have the funding in place for the 10+ week buildout of the bocce courts, however due to the COVID-19 emergency we will not be able to begin construction until Fall 2021.
Did you know?
- Bocce is the 3rd most popular sport in the world, ranking just behind soccer and golf.
- Bocce is being considered for the Olympics. See “Boules Sport 2024“.
- The local DC Bocce League which began in 2004 has over 5,000 members.
- Special Olympics Unified Sports® promotes Bocce for individuals with & without intellectual disabilities. Frederick County Special Olympics has over 200 athletes.
- FCPS offers “Unified Bocce” at all ten high schools. Their 2017 tournament had 208 participants.
- Bocce is experiencing a surge in popularity across all age groups and can be an economic driver.
Initiative #2: Chess Tables in the Park
In early 2017 while watching the program “60 Minutes: Chess in the Bible Belt“ my thought was, why is this not happening in Frederick?
OK, maybe that would be overly ambitious however bringing chess nerds (and wannabes like me) out of the house and into the public space… that might be doable.
At the time I was just starting to promote Frederick Bocce (Initiative #1) with my co-conspirator. Here’s what I’ve learned… it is a lot of work, and a long and slow process to engage stakeholders and secure funding. Not a complaint, just an observation 🙂
I searched for local chess clubs and could not find any organized groups back then. Recently I found the “Frederick Chess Club“… so it begins.