Play the Game

I was washing dishes when two girls came barging into my kitchen yelling, “Get inside!”

They then asked me in a frantic panic if I could move my car out of the garage. It was Celina(our exchange student) and one of her best friends. They are seniors and at the end of the senior year there is a game played among the senior class. Each student is assigned a classmate and they have to shoot them with a Nerf gun. Once you’ve been “shot” you are out of the game. If you don’t get shot and you get your target person then you move on to the next round.

The girls had been coming out of youth group when they realized that the classmate that had her name was waiting in the parking lot for her. So she jumped in a car with a friend who brought her to my house. I pulled out of the garage so that her Mom (a close friend of mine) could pull in. The boys who were on “the hunt” were driving in a jeep with the top and sides open and their nerf guns drawn. It was hilarious to watch them pull into the end of my driveway. As the door was going down they were motioning in disgust, “What in the world!” I could read on their lips. I crouched down and gave them a big grin and a wave as the door went down. The girls had made it safe inside. Victory.

Later that night I was talking to Celina about the events of the evening when she said that one of the greatest things in America is that we “Play the Game.”

What she meant by this is that we get into what ever we are doing. When there is a high school football game the kids all dress up in the theme of the night. There is face painting and lots of school spirit. In Sweden where she is from there are no school sports, only club sports so the concept of “Football Friday Nights” is an all American thing.

Celina told me how her parents had instilled in her at a young age the value of enjoying the simple things. Their family would often use the phrase, “Play the game.”

She shared an example with me. Her Dad had always wanted to experience an American Thanksgiving so one year he baked a turkey and they celebrated “Thanksgiving.”  The idea is that you go all in, have fun and make the most of every moment.

As back to school approaches I am reluctant to let go of my kids once again.

Fall is always hard for me. And yet I remember that there are so many fun things up ahead. In the spirit of hospitality we get to invite another international student to live with us. I am excited to jump in with both feet and attend football games and celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas and so many things that we do well here in America. I’ve let go of a lot of stuff in my life so that I am free to pursue a life lived with passion. Maybe there will even be another round of “Nerf Tag” in my future.

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