Granny’s Got Game
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” – Benjamin Franklin
So many people, sadly, lose their natural joie de vivre (joy of life) not long after the passing of their childhood. Their lives get all caught up in the seriousness and practical demands of a normal life. They get focused on making a living, succumbing to the routine of it all. They forget the child within and lose a lot of the flavor and spice of life. They don’t stop to smell the roses, to be struck with wonder anymore, like they did as children. Why do we lose that?
Then there are those who never forget, who keep that youthful pleasure and joie de vivre alive throughout the entire length of their lives. This group of basketball playing Granny’s are prime examples of this attitude. They are old in the chronological sense of reality. Their bodies are fragile, and not as flexible as they were in their youth, but they have learned to live with the limitations of waning physical strength, learned to move differently, if with less of their former grace, and they thrill to it all with the enthusiasm of high schoolers.
They know that they are old, and they accept the limitations that have overtaken them in the passage of so many years, but they take great joy in play. Yes. That’s right. They still play with the gusto that is most natural to kids. Play is often thought to be frivolous by “adults.” It takes on none of the seriousness of “real life” they say. But, no, that is not correct. Play is purposeful. Its end is joy. Its means is the excitement of the game.
These Granny’s have nothing of the false bravado, the towering egos, we see in so many professional sports players. They do not take themselves too seriously. They just love to play, “the game.” Oh, they like winning, but it is not the be all and end all of their existence. They just love the game, the playing together, the camaraderie of each others company. You see, because they have kept the art of play alive in themselves, they never lose, even if the score says otherwise.
You might say, “Oh, how cute these old ladies are.” But if that’s all you see, you’ve missed the point, I think. These Granny’s are showing us a clear wisdom about life. They love life and the gift of joy that can be had, if one lives as if life is all a gift to be celebrated. They have not been free from life’s tragedies, or suffering. They have known the sorrow of loss, the fears and challenges of cancer, and the pains of aging, but none of this has crushed their child-like playfulness. They prove that true happiness can even be experienced in the midst of life’s challenges.
They are showing us how to be more like the “little children” that Jesus said we must be more like in order to enter the Kingdom of God. Watch these Granny’s, listen to their words, see their attitudes and you may learn something about how to live life fully and more beautifully.
Dan Doyle is a retired professor of English and Humanities. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology. To read more of Dan’s work, click here.