"When I get new evidence I change my mind. What do you do?" John Maynard Keynes
- Work In Progress: The Problem of Peace In the Context of Religions
- Teaching Cartoon: Secret of a Long Life
- Sitting On the Bay
- Free Play Means Free Plus Play
- ARK Pieces; and About Process
- Google Glass Chamber Music Mix
- Scrappers Edge Freeplayers 6-5!
- Painting on a Pad
- The Adolescence of the Tubes
- Gods of the Abstract Social
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- Rep ‘n’ learnin’
- Ding Dong
- Another Grid; A Green Man
- Doorkeepers of the Heart
- If, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite variety in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each being’s own welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occurred useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection. [Charles Darwin (1859) On the Origin of Species]
- “It is essential to such a government, that it be derived from the great body of the society, not from an inconsiderable proportion, or a favored class of it; otherwise a handful of tyrannical nobles, exercising their oppressions by a delegation of their powers, might aspire to the rank of republicans, and claim for their government the honorable title of republic.” James Madison
- All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it. -Benjamin Franklin
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Tag Archives: Freeplay Softball
Free Play Softball league – tag – all historical posts
Findings – The case study suggests that play in a ludic learning space can promote deep learning in the intellectual, physical, spiritual, and moral realms.
The capacity for such integrated judgment seems to be borne out of transcendence, wherein the conflicts that those of us at lowe levels of insight perceive as win-lose are recast into a higher form that can make everyone a winner, or can make winning and losing irrelevant. And finally, with centering comes commitment in the integration of abstract ideals in the concrete here-and-now of one’s life. When we act from our center, the place of truth within us, action is based on the fusion of value and fact, meaning and relevance, and hence is totally committed. Only by personal commitment to the here-and-now of one’s life situation, fully accepting one’s past and taking choiceful responsbility for one’s future, is the dialectic conflict necessary for learning experienced. The dawn of integrity comes with the acceptance of responsibility for the course of own’s own life. For in taking responsibility for the world, we are given back the power to change it. (D.A.Kolb)
Above was originally quoted in the first blog post about the Free Play Softball League, eight years ago.
Learning to play, playing to learn
A case study of a ludic learning space (pdf)
Alice Y. Kolb
Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University,
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
David A. Kolb
Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University,
Cleveland, Ohio, USA
Purpose- In this paper we propose an experiential learning framework for understanding how play can potentially create a unique ludic learning space conducive to deep learning. Design/methodology/approach- The framework is developed by integrating two perspectives. First, we draw from multidisciplinary theories of play to uncover the underlying play principles that contribute to the emergence of the ludic learning space. Then, we examine the formation of a ludic learning space through a case study of a pickup softball league where for fifteen years, a group of individuals diverse in age group, gender, level of education, and ethnic background have come together to play. Findings – The case study suggests that play in a ludic learning space can promote deep learning in the intellectual, physical, spiritual, and moral realms. Originality/value- This paper uses the play literature to inform the experiential learning concept of the learning space.
755 RK: Case study research: design and methods. 2 edition – Yin – 1994
601 Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development – Kolb – 1984
526 Thought and Language – Vygotsky – 1962
468 Mind in society – Vygotsky – 1978
268 The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding, transl – Maturana, Varela – 1988
219 1872) The Expression of Emotions in Man and the Animals – Darwin
163 R: Intrinsic motivation and self-determination in human behavior – Deci, Ryan – 1985
153 How we think – Dewey – 1910
152 1871) The descent of man and selection in relation to sex – Darwin
114 Truth and method – Gadamer – 1960
111 Qualitative Case Studies – Stake
86 Childhood and Society – Erikson – 1950
83 Self-determination theory and the facilitation of intrinsic motivation, social development, and well-being – Ryan, Deci – 2000
73 Play, dreams and imitation in childhood – Piaget – 1999
61 The ambiguity of play – Sutton-Smith – 2001
60 Conflict, arousal, and curiosity – Berlyne – 1960
47 Homo Ludens – Huizinga – 1938
46 The interpretation of dreams – Freud – 1976
34 Playing and Reality – Winnicott – 1971
16 Punished by rewards – Kohn – 1993
15 Animal play behavior – Fagen – 1981
14 Play and its role in the mental development of the child – Vygotsky – 1967
6 Qualitative inquiry and research design – Creswell – 2007
6 The hurried child – Elkind – 1981
6 1898): The play of animals – GROOS
5 Intentional icons: Towards an evolutionary cognitive ethology – Bekoff, Allen – 1992
4 play and games – Callois, Man
4 Man meets dog – Lorenz – 1994
4 S.: Ideas are born in fields of play: Towards a theory of play and creativity in organizational settings – Mainemelis, Ronson
4 Does play matter? Functional and evolutionary aspects of animal and human play – Smith – 1982
3 Liminal to Liminoid, in Play, Flow, and Ritual: An Essay in Comparative Symbology, Rice University Studies, 60(3):53-92. [reprinted, in a slightly changed form – TURNER – 1974
2 The school and society and the child and the curriculum, The University of Chicago – Dewey – 1990
2 Play: An interdisciplinary integration of research. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation – Kolb – 2000
2 The Playful, the Crazy and the Nature of Pretense – Miller, S – 1974
2 Relationship play therapy – Moustakas – 1997
2 Social play in the domestic cat – West – 1974
1 A critical reanalysis of the ontogeny and phylogeny of mammalian social and locomotor play: An ethological hornest’s nest – Bekoff, Byers – 1981
1 Animal play – Bekoff, Byers – 1998
1 Evolution and play – Brown – 1995
1 An ethnographic study about a casual sport context”, Unpublished manuscript – Calhoun – 2007
1 Drawing on the right side of the brain, Tarcher – Edwards – 1989
1 The power of play, Da Capo Lifelong Books – Elkind – 2007
1 Why people play – J – 1973
1 Play and behavioral flexibility – Fagen – 1984
1 Applause for aurora: Sociobiological considerations on exploration and play – Fagen – 1994
1 A team with no name: Winning is not about keeping score”. Unpublished manuscript – Goldman – 2002
1 Chimpanzee and others at play – Goodall – 1995
1 Smart moves, Great Ocean – Hannaford – 1995
1 The endangered minds, Simon and – Healey – 1990
1 A comparative approach to play: Cross-species and cross-cultural perspectives of play in development – Height, Black – 2000
April 28. Day Two of season twenty-seven. 9:45am, Field #8, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio? Drizzling.
Then a busload of 9-11 year old boys and their minders unload and inform us they have a permit for the hallowed field for this day.
We count our numbers and seems their are eight, and we will commence to practice the game of softball. We make our way over the the fenced in softball fields. Another team is practicing on the northwest diamond–no doubt for the opening week of league play–and Dave asks of them if they will engage us in a friendly game.
Later, with a light rain falling, a second inquiry is made and this other team agrees to a game. As it turns out, our spontaneous opponent is a co-ed team in the co-ed league. (We’d be co-ed too; alas…) They inform us in the league they are in the men bat on their ‘off batting side.’ However, for the purpose of what amounts to a scrimmage-type game, they decide not to do so.
We play four innings, and the line score looks like this at the end:
What fun was had! After the game, the two teams collided in gratitude and high fives and hand shakes. We mentioned anybody is welcome to join us on Sunday mornings. We told the Scrappers,
We’ve been playing pick up games for decades here on Sunday mornings.
April 21. Opening day and we have eleven, then Pete shows up and we’re twelve. It was a crisp day. The metal bats could transfer quite a pointed zing at times.
Freeplay Softball league
Sunday mornings 9:30; game time 10:00am
Open to participants 16-116 years of age; any gender; any background
We try to keep an accurate score.
A lot of weird stuff happens in the Freeplay Pick-up Softball League/Universe. It’s the nature of this game; meaning our ongoing experimental game (every Sunday at 10am, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights, Field #8.)
One of the oddest things transpired yesterday when our one and only super duper star Mark Jr. shifted to the pitcher’s mound to pitch the last inning. In breezy conditions he acquitted himself adequately enough. We, the batting team, laid into him but he brought his laser-like focus to the task at hand.
Dave B. at the bat.
Action shot as Francis drives the spud into the hole, if you can pick it out skipping among the leaves.
Set-up for autumn play with home plate where 2nd base is; looking north.
Kolb leaves for Hawaii and Kofa shows up for the second time this season. Go figure but once a Freeplayer, always a Freeplayer.
Just about a perfect day for softball, and a close game, and a happy crew.
As a student of the mechanics of swinging a bat at the softball, this Freeplay Softball Season, and once again, my top rating goes to our founder, David Kolb. His compact swing is matched with a steady sightline on the ball to produce an effortless flat trajectory off the bat. On our rock-hard bumpy field this season his line drives have on a number of occasions rolled endlessly for homeruns.
A newcomer, Dicky, gets runner-up honors in my estimation. His swing is classic. It’s compact, smooth and supported by a predictably timed step into the ball. My guess is that he honed this swing about fifty years ago and has been rolling with the muscle memory for a long time.
This was the third photo I snapped on Sunday, after I exhorted the grumpy element to manufacture a smile. This came after a rout, again. I’m the so-called handicapper, who for nine seasons has been charged with creating well-matched line-ups. My goal is always a one run game. This season this goal has mostly eluded me.
In July we instituted an experiment, calling balls and strikes without an umpire, yet using the surprising convention of a specially-shaped carpet laid over the plate the ball must touch to gain a strike. Also, with two strikes, the batter only gets two free foul balls. So, two experiments aimed to move the game along, and, disadvantage the “Mike Hargrove” school of–what shall I say–selectivity. I’m a charter member of the long at-bat club under the old regime of not calling strikes, although I am also one of the batters who tends to select pitches out of the strike zone. Noting my own example, I’m not a member of the epic at-bat club, and so the hyper-selective hitters in this epic club are compelled to nowadays manage the strike zone. This has been very amusing. We’ve only witnessed one swinging strikeout and one called third strike, and these go along with several more retirements by foul ball.
I mention this because doing experiments is part of the aesthetic of the game, even if we don’t do many experiments at all. Of course the game itself is an experiment unfolded over twenty-six years: one in which anybody over thirteen years of age shows up in our open space to participate in a game about playing, rather than one about the final score.
Routs have little standing. Smile for the camera please.
I spoke to the gang about arriving at the field on time. Offering how it would be neat to commence play close to the traditional ten o’clock time.
How about arriving in a timely fashion, or, agreeing to complete seven innings and go past the traditional noon ending time?
Could we collectively reclaim the principle of playing a full game? Is this year’s collective attenuation of the traditional ten-to-noon time slot a problem?
The Freeplay Sunday Softball league remains an experimental design in practice. The Drs. Kolb have theorized the game mightily, while I have only partially theorized it. And, different than the Kolb’s emphasis on the game-as-learning-space, I’ve had to approach it in terms of its explicit pragmatics, and approach it also as the alignment of these (to a degree) within the concrete action space–out of which game play is evoked every Sunday. It would be accurate also then to state I’ve had to approach it as a once-a-week problem of repeatable organizational development.
My conscious role is to capture the projective identification collectively commensurate with having the minimum authority to assist the initiation of the game. This is an obtuse way to describe the flow of leadership features being pushed upon me and pulled away from me, ending up predictably as enough of a leader to help instantiate the game. This role is connected to predicates, and the most substantial four are: the equipment is stored in the trunk of may car; I make out the line-ups and have done so for nine years; I voice the necessary commands to shift the players to the next step of the initiation of the game; and, I am a willing and sticky enough egoic character with respect to those aforementioned projections.
I was away from the game for four weeks and the requisite authorities were recreated and put upon replacement characters, and this was accomplished without fuss.
After I communicated my entreaty about arriving on time or playing seven innings, a miniature discussion ensued. Several persons stated the noon ending time would remain their ruling assumption; one person stated there wasn’t a problem anyway; two people reminded that we often play six or seven innings in less than ninety minutes. I ended by reminding the entire group that “I could do in the future the experiment of starting on time with whomever was here.”
One player came up to me and suggested, “You’re the boss so you can do what you want.”
Well, yes to a degree, and, ‘no’ to a much greater degree.
I understand my temporary authority has to most rigorously attend to the minimal set of verities. I am one of the principal stewards of those verities. They are marvelously concrete too. The essential one reflects the truth of: commencing the first pitch, batter, play of the game!
After the first pitch, under normal circumstances, my authority fades away, having fulfilled the slim portfolio of duties.
Interestingly, this is given by my privileged perspective–after all, I am one of only a tiny group of participants who have implemented an intentional  third order  viewpoint; am one of the few who reflect on the game and step back from it and theoreticize about it.
I’m not the boss. Theoretically, my role can be described as mediating the practical Object Relations within the holding field of the game’s ritual space. This way of putting it captures theoretical concerns. What then could be told of the practical way projection works in the matter of holding group concerns together so that group objectives may be predictably achieved every Sunday? It’s OD.
The actual phenomena is much more complicated. None of our group wants me to disrupt the internalized flow of predictable anticipation to bring to their attention a problem of so-called organizational development. The status quo is partly primitive. Don’t bother ‘it!’
Oh, what’s he on [us] about now?
Actually, I go into this, knowing I am in a better position, as against the group, to voice my individual concerns. Nobody had come up to me to ask me to advocate for more group sensitivity to the game’s temporal parameters. My prior experience has been that we may complete seven, eight, nine or more innings of free play softball should we commence the game around ten o’clock. My own view is that more play is better than less play.
However, here is the gist of our case of organizational development: whatever I deem optimal for myself is just so, for myself. Although I could approach this soft need as a group problem–and I did so–what I found out was that it wasn’t a group problem at all. I didn’t smoke out any alignment  with my concern at all.
 implication of intentional is a determined, directed, effort, rather than the more informal ‘folk-psychological’ and tacit efforts presumptively deployed by players in directing their own efforts to make operative sense of the softball activity when experienced as a meeting of different other minds, so-to-speak
 selecting apt analytic/interpretive frames (3rd order) having reflective experience of (2nd order) direct experience (1st order)
 a minimus link: given by supposing any need to use organizational development for the sake of obtaining new optimal goals do require maximal linkages.
Learning to Play, Playing to Learn: A Case Study of a Ludic Learning Space, Alice and David Kolb, The Journal of Organizational Change Management (2010)[pdf]
My definition of an ideal Sunday softball morning at Field #8, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights, Ohio, USA, North America, Planet Earth, is when a minimum of sixteen people show up by our moving-target-of-a-start time.
Full field, baby! (This is partly selfish, I hit between right and left center, nowadays after decades as a severe pull hitter, so I really need to face three outfielders.) Our group has become very resourceful, so we can have a game with five-a-side, but, let’s face it, full field even with the batting team supplying the catcher is beautiful.
Yet, nine-a-side is perfecto! Add in flawless weather.
Pick-up softball every Sunday at 9:45am – see you there.
Ken had already split. I’m holding the camera. Opening day for some, but for me, spring training day, April 8. We’re resourceful, so we can play with whatever the gods of weekend sports grant us.
I’m about ready to drive the gear over to Forest Hills Field #8 for our first five star weather of the new season. The Freeplay Softball league is open to anybody over 13 who can put up with our veteran nonsense, declining skills, and, as you can see, partial nakedness. It’s a pick-up game. We have extra gear.
And, it remains a twenty-six year experiment in self-organizing play, started at it was by David and Alice Kolb.
9:45am every Sunday.
Dave Kolb, founder of Free Play Softball, playing his last game of the 25th season, before heading off to Hawaii for 7 months. Dave’s got a sweet, flat economical swing he’s been working on for sometime now.
In my ten years in the Free Play Softball ‘experience,’ we’ve played twice into the middle of November, and one of those times even played in December once. This November has been sweet after a very soggy spring and summer, in which there we were rained out five times.
After the game, Dave presented Mark Jr. with the archive of scoresheets from the league’s history. He showed us what he thought were the earliest ones, and spoke of their era by noting “Well, these are not the earliest games because for a few years we didn’t keep score.” Butn the sheet o early scores didn’t look like any scoresheet I’d seen for a scratch, pick-up softball game. The sheet was delightfully inscrutable and mystical-looking.
Last game of the season? We’ll see.
Action shots, from an ideal fall Sunday morning.
The Free Play softball aesthetic, or ethos, or model, makes room for negotiation about what really just happened. Such a negotiation often–but not always–arises after whatever did happened is perceived as having happened differently.
Other times potential differences in perception never come to be negotiated. Last season, passing an opposing fielder on my way out to the outfield, he confirmed that the half inning just completed had actually incurred but two outs, rather than the usual three. And so it goes. Francis, in the video refers to the previous inning during which the catcher called a ball fair that some felt differently about. But, in our necessarily minimal system, it’s the catcher’s call to make.
This includes a game several seasons back in which I discovered the numerous disputed calls were due to the catcher believing a fair ball was determined by how long it spent traversing fair territory in the air. Still, so it went and it is at least my article of faith that it all evens out in the free play cosmos.
Here are Tom, Stacy behind Diallo, Rick, Bill, and, Dave.
As the handicapper, the guy who attempts to forge even teams by making out the line-ups for both teams, my good intentions are normally undermined by not being able to predict which players will under-perform and which will over-perform. My assemblies are supposed to regress to the mean, thus even out, yet, during a summer with lots of lopsided games, I’m reminded ‘suppose’ is related to ‘supposition.’
Inexperienced players are especially hard to evaluate because, every now and then, one will breakout and in one respect, over-perform, and, in another respect, showcase the poverty of my own sense. Such was the case with Diallo, who may be gesturing in this photo to indicate his game changing stature on this particular Sunday. He poked three hits in a row and then tattooed his performance by catching two sizzling line drives at second base to end the game, including a missile I sent his way. Earlier, he did a perfect Robbie Alomar impression, gobbling up a grounder and soft tossing an underhand throw behind his back to the short stop at second, missing the out only because the tie goes to the runner. Some perceived the outcome differently too.
If I correctly understand Diallo’s pedigree, this was the fifth or sixth time he’s played softball.
For me, it’s a pleasure of the game to observe players improve, or to observe new players with skills stick with our sometimes ramshackle game. Keep in mind, with a few exceptions, we don’t know each other much at all. So, it generally is not known whether somebody is picking up the game again after a long hiatus–measured at times in decades–or is literally a so-called newbie.
My own middling skills are rapidly diminishing after forty years. I’m having to freshen up my evaluations, (being the handicapper,) as I note, with delight, improving players passing me on the skills totem.
After two rain outs, Freeplay Softball recommenced on a makeshift diamond caddycorner from ol’ Field No.8, on a cool but sparkling day. We are resourceful: we started with ten which forces us to play with two outfielders, two infielders, and the innovative ‘pitcher’s mound,’ where infield hits go to die.
By the third inning, two players had rolled in, and we had our first basemen. After arriving at six on each side the game was back and forth for two innings but then became a rout. I’m the handicapper, so the sudden disparity in performance can look like it falls on me. But, heck, I can’t hit and catch and throw for anybody but myself. The opposing team should have challenged the left fielder a bit more! (One fly to left and its crusty, slow denizen…)
Freeplay Softball, an experiment in self-organization, magnanimity, and experiential learning, continues its 20th season Sundays, 9:30am. Open to all over the age of 13, Forest Hills, Cleveland Heights.
Matt batting at the end of last season.
Matt speaking before the start of this season.
Freeplay Softball League and experiment
Sundays, 9:30am, Forest Hills Park, Cleveland Heights
A pic taken after our October 31, Free Play Softball League game. It was quite a game, another one run affair, and capped off by a game winning hit that fell in a grey area. What’s a grey area on a softball field. Well, it’s about three feet to the foul side of a foul line marker (1), but also in the fair territory as defined by a straight line drawn through the points of home plate and third base. I was the left fielder who deferred from making a total heroic effort on a catch-able ball. I couldn’t believe what happened and trotted in and was obnoxious for a brief moment. Yet, as the winning team’s wave of positive affect rolled over me, I submitted to the Free Play game’s Hermes.
The next week, on November 7, was another unique, and, one run game, ended by a monster base-clearing strike by Kurt. Here he is putting bats away.
Because I usually am holding the camera, I’m not in most team shots. Frances, thinking of my fragile ego no doubt, asked for the camera, took this shot, and told me to put a caption to it. Which I have.
Let me explain: at 10:05, five minutes after the game usually starts, my cell phone rings. I’m absorbed twiddling knobs in the studio and begin to ignore it, when, suddenly I realize something.
It may be snowy eight miles south of Forest Hills Park, but, kid, your mates have arrived at the non-snowy field ready to play, while you’re sitting at home with your car–full of the entire inventory of essential equipment–sitting in your driveway.
(1) One perk to riding the equipment camel is I sometimes get to layout the foul markers.
Dave says to me after the game,
It was all there. What a great game.
I affirm this,
Actually, whatever “it” is, my guess “it” is all there every weekend, in the Free Play softball game. Except, to say this is just to flash the glib idea that the necessary social, affectual, situational, structural, phenomenal elements are always placed, found in their place, in every outing.
No, as much as this is true, what really is the case is that we together build something on the order of a ‘production,’ every week. Like a musical or dramatic production, our production every week is utterly distinct, unique. Some of our softball symphonies are truly evocative and moving, while other times the production is much less so. Hey, from my odd perspective, our games are never lame, and are always interesting.
(What’s lame? My deteriorating skills!)
The relationship between common and necessary global features with the never predictable or necessary local elements is what frames a view of: the complexity-of-enactment elicited by the simplicity-of-genre. (I just cracked myself up.) It’s very creative, when you come down to differentiating the structure from the how-and-happenstance, and, by definition, its integrity within the complex humanity of the players.
Hey, kind o’ like music.
Pete the hammer.
New gear, celebrating next year’s 20th anniversary of Free Play softball.
The Free Play Softball League convenes its open system every Sunday at 10am, at Forest Hills Park-Cleveland Heights, on field #8. If you need to loosen up, or take a few batting practice swings, 9:45am is a good time to show up.
The Free Play Softball League gang. I took this picture right after our game last Sunday. It turned out to be a beautiful day, a well-played and close game. We obtained the modest goals of our 24 year-old tradition.
If you’re over 11 years of age and have a responsible adult along with you, you can play. If you’re a bit older, you can play. You can play if it’s the first time you ever held a bat in your hand. In this photo the range of ages describes a continuum of around 55 years. Hey, but several of our most grizzled players didn’t show up!
As I suggested to Dave Kolb, one of the founders of the game (and concept!) after the game, in reflecting upon how there were but four players at the field ten minutes before the 10am, yet, by 10:30 a full complement had rolled in,
Well, it’s an open system and that’s why it works out.
Dave and me both know this term, Open System, is the model of Harrison Owen.
Open Space Technology requires very few advance elements. There must be a clear and compelling theme, an interested and committed group, time and a place, and a leader. Detailed advance agendas, plans, and materials are not only un-needed, they are usually counterproductive.
The group must be interested and committed. Failing that, Open Space Technology will not work. The key ingredients for deep creative learning are real freedom and real responsibility. Freedom allows for exploration and experimentation, while responsibility insures that both will be pursued with rigor. Interest and commitment are the prerequisites for the responsible use of freedom. There is no way that we know of to force people to be interested and committed. That must be a precondition.
The leadership of an Open Space event is at once absurdly simple and very tricky. The simplicity derives from the fact that the group itself will, and must, generate its own leadership. The tricky part comes in letting that happen. The demands placed upon the initial group leader are therefore limited and critical. Dealing with the limited aspects of group leadership is easiest and may therefore be done first. The functions here are to set time, place, and theme.
The function of leadership is to provide a focal point for direction, and not to mandate and control a minute-by-minute plan of action. The details must be left to the troops, which means amongst other things, the troops must be trusted. In no case can any leader possibly solve all problems or direct all actions.
There are Four Principles and One Law which serve as guides to the leader and all participants. The principles are: Whoever comes is the right people. Whatever happens is the only thing that could have. Whenever it starts is the right time. When it is over, it is over. [excerpts] Source: Brief User’s Guide to Open Space Technology
Our softball group obtains some of these features, but, then, Owens’s model is not geared to folding in competitive goals at all. So, our game approximates the value set of openness at the same time it integrates a variety of individualized values, some of which are in alignment with the closed system provided for by the implicit structure of a ‘sporting’ contest. Yet, what I will term ludic meta-values trump the seeming disjunction between the zero-sum of winning/losing, with, openness to “just showing up” and “just playing.”
One set of problems I’ve been making notes about, as a student of our game, concerns the distribution of equity. This has dovetailed with my reflections about my own role as a leader-the-game-has-evoked. As an agent of aspects of this distribution, (for example by making out the ad hoc lineups each week,) my intentionality with respect to the structure of each week’s game departs from the role specified by Owen. In noting this, I have also come to comprehend how those ludic meta-values are concretely mediated as a matter of the collaborative learning about the sense of the game.
This doesn’t mean the learning constitutes a normative principle, nor does it mean there is any particular procedure for this kind of collaboration, nor does it mean every player would identify its constructive factor. This does mean, as far as my current comprehension goes, that this sense of the game is robust, and is funded by experience of the collective implementation of the game’s generous system. In other words, what the players collaborate on is, in effect, throwing together an Open System every Sunday at or around 10am. From this is derived the multiple, not singular, sense of the game. And this happens non-explicitly, and, to large degree, as a fact of the constructive subconscious; (my term.)
The Free Play Softball League convenes its open system every Sunday at 10am, at Forest Hills Park-Cleveland Heights, on field #8. If you need to loosen up, or take a few batting practice swings, 9:45am is a good time to show up. But, it doesn’t matter, because you roll in anytime before we stop play at noon. See you there!
You can make out Matt’s magic bat leaning up against the back-stop to good ol’ field 8.
Opening day of Free Play Softball, April 18th, ‘the first Sunday after tax day!’
Since 1986, I vaguely recall. Have I been playing with the Free Play crew since, hmmm, 2000? If so: ten years and counting.
Alas, it was cold, it was drizzling and worse, and only five blokes showed up. And, I had to pass all the equipment on because I have a work commitment next week.
Still, we batted around a bit and it seems my undercut and uncanny ability to swing away at crappy pitches has survived the winter, intact. This, nevertheless, makes me very happy.