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Leisure Play And Recreation Product

Leisure Play and Recreation


Expert Article By: Bryan Weichelt


In today?s American society it is not uncommon for the average citizen to encounter a great deal of ?free? time or time away from work. The average workweek has decreased significantly over the past 150 years. In 1850, American?s workweek average was nearly 66 hours (11 hours a day, 6 days a week) . Today?s 5 day weeks and 8 hour days have presented an increased gap in time available for leisure activities. So one might say that leisure is simply a matter of free time, others share different views. One such concept sees leisure not merely as a time block, but as a force, which is not only the germinating concept of art and culture, but a pause during which a participant gains glimpses of values and realities that he ordinarily misses in everyday life. Such a perception supports the proposition that the quality of civilization depends upon such a transmission of values, and the widespread distribution and use of leisure is a matter of great importance, culturally and economically, to a nation.?

Recreation?s definition, given by Merriam-Webster online dictionary is ?refreshment of strength and spirits after work; also: a means of refreshment or diversion,? but this doesn?t nearly do it justice. The word itself holds a new meaning to whomever you ask, dependent upon their personal views, beliefs, values, but most importantly ? their interests. Recreation to you may not mean the same to a Native American living in southeastern Alaska. His ideology, on the value of spending time, may focus more on family and nature. The culture and environment in which an individual develops and learns has lasting effects on the life that they will lead. This includes the recreational activities in which one participates.

As the country has evolved economically, technologically, and so on, so too has it evolved on its view of recreation. Not so long ago the purpose of hunting, fishing, hiking, canoeing, and skiing held a much different purpose. The way we were fed, clothed, moved from place to place, etc. were all very much a part of everyday life, not just a way to ?unwind.? The accessibility of food, clothing, transportation and the like are no longer the responsibility of the individual hunter, trapper, or fisherman. These activities have taken on a new label in our society ? sports. The competitive edge now fills the void where need of survival once reigned.

The sports that have been known throughout the ages have evolved and engulfed so many variations of the kind. ?Sport within our society reflects a complex, multi-faceted, socioeconomic system. It also represents a tremendous diversity in participation from a child?s frolic, to unstructured and random play within the home, to the fulfillment of a dream in winning a tournament championship, to the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle through regular sport participation.? There are indeed many forms of sports and many levels and we all have our reasons for participating.

Some experts believe that recreational and leisure activities are engaged in simply as a way to alleviate the built up stressors that evolve in our daily lives. Play can be a safety valve for the excess energy in our bodies and becomes a natural outlet, soothing our physical and psychological well-beings. These theories, however, fail to account for the fact that most individuals do not partake in recreational activities as a means of relieving stress or recharging for the work week to come.

Why then, do people engage in activities on a regular basis? The answer is not a simple one, nor can it be fully addressed since there is such a multitude of opinions, professional or otherwise, on sports and recreation. There are, of course, many reasons why people keep coming back to the same gym for a pick-up game or take out the fishing boat weekend after weekend. Some may be: the love of the game, the adrenaline rush, the excitement, the exercise, the social interaction, etc. My reason for playing what I play, or doing what I do results from a combination of these factors and more like them.

No matter the reason, the motivation, or the cause, we all are participants of what we love. We have evolved along with the sports in which we?ve come to enjoy; and whether we play to win or play just to play doesn?t seem to matter. Rules and regulations can control your play on the court (i.e. dunking, spiking) but they can never control your love of the game ? that is your own.

Yukic, T. (1963). Fundamentals of Recreation. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Yukic, T. (1963). Fundamentals of Recreation. New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Bayless, K., Mull, R., & Ross, M. (1983). Recreational Sports Programming. North Palm Beach, FL: The Athletic Institute.

About The Author

Bryan Weichelt runs the http://www.wi-rec-sports.com/ website. It was started to bring together recreational athletes of the central wisconsin area by posting scores, standings, and schedules of recreational sports leagues. I give full permission for you to use this article in your newsletter or on your site as long as you include my resource box with my website links included. http://www.wi-rec-sports.com/.



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