Friday, August 28, 2009

Play Continued... Team Versus Solo?

A few days ago I wrote about the spiritual benefits of play. Since games and sports are the main forms of adult play, this raises the question of "team versus solo: which better nourishes the soul?"

One positive value of team sports is that of cooperation. When playing on a team, you must learn to play together with teammates. Often, a bond of camaraderie arises between teammates. This social connection can be soul feeding in a way similar to sharing a meal with friends. We enjoy sharing a common experience with a common goal. My participation in rowing competitions confirms this. As we pull together to do our best in a race, there is a bond of brotherhood and sisterhood that draws us closer together. We have the feeling that we’re in this together.

While playing with others has spiritual benefits, playing alone can also be soul nourishing. If you’ll allow me another example from rowing… I have found that rowing a single shell is a very different experience than rowing with others. When rowing alone, I am better able to focus on my inner self and, thus, able to be more mindful about what I’m doing. Rowing solo allows me to set my own pace, to stop and appreciate the surrounding beauty and to enjoy the feel of a shell gliding through the water.

So the "team versus solo" issue is a "both/and" rather than an "either/or." There are benefits to both kinds of play. What nourishes your soul more is a matter of individual preference.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bob! Thanks for finding my RevRows blog; I know there are others of 'us' out there...I met one at a regatta in Washington a few years back! I look forward to reading your blog.

    I agree about your idea that rowing alone is a different experience that eights or fours or a pair...and, as you say, the "both/and" aspect of it all. As I practice alone, my ability to practice with others improves dramatically.

    I think of it as part of an emerging consciousness as to how I, Stacey, affect the people around me. I can learn this in the company of others, but also completely alone. To continue our rowing images, when I experience in the single shell the uneven pulling of my port oar such that I lurch off keel, I hope to learn how that same uneven pulling affects my companions when rowing an eight.

    Thanks for your post!