I am one of the lucky ones.
My childhood was filled with laughter and love and long days spent outside that rolled into the evening. When I think of my formative years, I picture myself playing outside on the lawn, riding bikes through the neighborhood, going to the park, splashing at the neighborhood pool, or hunting down my friends in a friendly game of flashlight tag. We were outside most of the time; I’m sure my mother loved it that way. Besides, why be cooped up all day inside when the glorious sunshine beckoned us to come outside…and…well, play.
Two days ago on one of my long walks in my current neighborhood, I came upon a group of kids. They were playing SPUD. I said to one of them, “SPUD was my favorite game as a kid.” He responded, “It’s the best.”
He’s right. It’s a great game for all to play. It doesn’t take a lot of talent, and it’s just fun to see what happens after you throw that ball up in the air and call someone’s name. It’s good old-fashioned fun. No electronics are needed. Just a ball and some friends. And voila! You’ve got a game.
We happened to love that game and played it on the hill in our backyard in Bowie. Our family had a pretty grand hill—super for sledding in the winter, that was for sure. But in the summer, we made use of it in other ways. SPUD was a street favorite. There was also Hide and Seek using our yard, our neighbor’s yard, and our other neighbor’s yard across the street. Flashlight tag worked the same way. We played Graveyard and What Time Is It, Mr. Fox and Red Light, Green Light.
On super hot days, if we weren’t at the pool, we’d get in our bathing suits and run through the sprinkler. We’d get squirt guns and play a game of squirt gun tag.
When dusk arrived, we got our Mason jars, kiddie nets or our hands, and hunted for fireflies. We’d catch them and watch them light up while we ate ice cream on the patio. Then, we’d let them free.
As the crisp spring air and sunshine warms up Maryland, I hope I see more kids outside playing SPUD, eating ice cream, catching fireflies, and running through the sprinkler.
Just like the days of old.
Stephanie Verni is Professor of Business Communication at Stevenson University and is the author of Inn Significant, Baseball Girl, and Beneath the Mimosa Tree. Along with her colleagues Leeanne Bell McManus and Chip Rouse, she is a co-author of Event Planning: Communicating Theory and Practice, published by Kendall-Hunt.