When was the last time you played tag?
I played today, and I’ve decided it is, perhaps, the all time perfect game.
Tag is exhilarating and makes all of the players laugh out loud. Even more so, I believe tag teaches us a lot about life.
First off, tag is for everyone. You can be five or fifteen or twenty-five or fifty-five or even eighty-five rolling around full speed in a wheelchair and be part of the game. You can have on Coach riding boots or Wal-Mart sneakers to play. You can be an Accounting major or an Asian studies major or be a Major in the Army or have dreams of being in the major leagues or a majorette or in need of a major change in life and be on equal footing with the other players. Life should be like that.
Secondly, the rules are simple:
· One person is IT.
· The person who is IT tries to tag any of the other players.
· When they accomplish this, the person they tag becomes the new IT.
Period. End of story. The rules don’t change for different players. You don’t have to turn to page three of the directions to see what you do when you land on a question mark or how to get unstuck from the Molasses Swamp or when you get to roll again. You are either being chased or chasing. That’s it. In life we should try to keep things simple. Of course, that’s not always possible. Some things in life are so complicated, they make my head spin. But when possible, don’t invent elaborate bases and out of bounds and no tag backs. Instead, run fast. Be sharp. Look out for your opponents and your playmates (it’s critical to know who is IT). Focus on playing your best. Sometimes that means letting someone who’s been IT for too long tag you or focusing on tagging someone who truly wants a turn at being IT. Tag and life are not all about “winning”. And when your role changes -- from chaser to chasee or child to parent or sophomore to senior -- change with it.
Next, tag is exhilarating. There is a thrill to being chased. There is a thrill to chasing. That’s why the dating scene is so intoxicating. It’s a sense of accomplishment when you finally tag someone – instant gratification. It’s a sense of adventure when you get tagged – instant change up in routine. Find the thrill in life from all angles – being chased, chasing, being IT, getting caught, not being IT. They’re all a blast. Savor the spot you’re in. Do your best at it. Enjoy the moment, the sunny day you’re running around the park, without worrying about tomorrow’s stormy forecast, and you’re likely to land on your feet.
Have fun. When I played tag yesterday all of us were laughing. We giggled when we came out of the end of a slide and the IT was waiting for us and the IT was giggling too. We laughed when nobody knew who IT was or where IT was. It made us chuckle when IT reached to tag someone and missed. We chortled at just the sheer glee of the game. We should embrace life with that much enthusiasm and joy.
Lastly, tag can be played anywhere, anytime. You can play tag in a park, in your yard, at the sidelines of your sisters’ soccer game or the hallways of your boyfriend’s hockey practice or in your best friend’s basement. Tag can last for a few minutes or for a few hours or until your playmates have to go home.
Everywhere you go, every day of your life, look for a chance to smile, to laugh, and to run until your heart pounds. Don’t save it for the gym or the movie theatre or when you’re trying to impress someone or for special occasions. Spread your arms out wide, run at full speed ahead and reach out for a friend.
“Tag! You’re IT!”
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Laura L. Smith