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Most of us know when we're working there's a time for it and a place. There's a reward a measurable something we get in exchange for work. We can define work. We can measure it. We know what it is and when it happens there are tools that we use for work. We work as a part of an organization or a system with certain goals or objectives in mind. In time we could arrive at a good deal of agreement about work. But what of the other side of the coin. What about play. This is something we say that only children do as adults. We must call it recreation. The National Association of educational broadcasters presents weekend an examination of the role of the recreation seeker in the modern American city. One in a series of programs titled The Urban Frontier. Produced by the Community Education Project at San Bernardino Valley College under a grant from the National Association of educational broadcasters. These programs were developed in consultation with faculty members of the University of California Riverside the University of Redlands and a Valley College as well as a core of
professional civic and business leaders of the San Bernardino Riverside metropolitan area. Each program is designed to raise some of the issues facing the individual who lives in or near the city. Now we can look at some of the problems and opportunities of the recreation seekers. It's a little difficult to tell just exactly when George Meyers is engaged in recreation for example right now this looks like work but it's not yours. What are you all right. Right there now. One more heave. Ok not quite so little a little bit higher every little bit more now. Now can you kick that hammer over this way. See if I can read you fine. Got it. This sounds like work but it's not. George is there with the help of the neighbor building a fence. Furthermore it's one he's figured out himself and in his eyes it's going to be really quite a beautiful fence. But nonetheless this is recreation. Now then here's George in a situation where he might be engaged in
recreation and he might not. And here is a Picasso. Remember when I was telling you about the castle I think it stinks. Oh they have a lot of Picasso here look at that. I think they all stink. We've got to do this more often it's all good for you. What are you saying. I said they make you think this is not recreation at least not for George. You might defend it on the basis of education and he might even accept it on these terms. But right now he is going to a museum of art in terms of work. Harry You couldn't pay me enough to get me back in that place. You believe that recreation we say implies that certain things should happen. Recreation we say should do certain things for you and we complete the circle of our definition when we say that when these things happen then you have recreation. What do we expect of recreation. When does it occur. Better yet what is it. What is recreation. Let's look at George again. This time late of a Sunday afternoon.
You got a perfectly good night's sleep. I know you are resting. You've got all of these things that you should be out and doing and they're there you. Well sleep your life away if you want. Of course part of what George is doing is rest. But most of it we'll say is recreation. For example he is maintaining and exercising a fairly absolute control over his activities. He's responding to no set pattern. In short he's doing what he wants to do when he wants to do it. And this is important. If he were a child it would be perfectly willing to accept his snoozing if that's what he wanted to do. Agreed this is not a very imaginative form of recreation even for a child but some of the most important elements are present. He's doing what he wants to do when he wants to do it and he's enjoying it. It was a holiday. Me George is now going to encounter the
fact that his society specifies certain things that he is to enjoy certain more or less official forms of recreation as well as putting a host of things that he might enjoy over into some well other category. Are you going to sleep that long. I'm sitting right here. What's the matter. There are times you argue when you remind me of a word you're so fond of using. I think it's exactly why can't you do something constructive with your time. Something well even cultural. We went to the museum last night. I wouldn't care if you just looked at television listen to records when fishing. Oh go do anything that the rest of the people are doing on a Sunday afternoon. But you what do you do I sleep. I like to sleep. I get a real pleasure from sleeping. But as a matter of fact. If you go back to sleep as we said this is not a very imaginative form of recreation but I know two things about it. George enjoys it and in his particular social setting it is disapproved. Other forms of recreation are
specified for him. These would be the official definitions of recreation for the Meier family. If George and Teresa were to list them they might sound like this. Well there's Let's see. Going to a shell going for a ride just around visiting people going to the park a play a concert museum. Then there are a lot of things that you can just do at home. But mostly I'd like to get out of here occasionally. Here's George's list. I'd like to go to a ball game. I see some fights are pretty good on TV you know. I like to get out in the woods now and then. I like to go bear hunting again. I get a kick out of making things and joy a game of cards too and then every once in a while I like to doze off. Now on a Sunday afternoon there's nothing better than a really good stretch on this is a defined recreation. Those things or activities which are acceptable or good forms of recreation individually we select those which are more nearly designed to meet our needs. Those that we
find enjoyable in those forms of recreation that we say do something for us. As we know all these things which maybe work for one man may well be play for another. The carpenter who might have built George's fence would find at work something he would have to do. George will expend more actual energy build almost the same fence but for him it's recreation. It does this something for him. As I said Harry I like to make thing gets my mind off the rat race of the office. It's a tangible or real thing and I'm working on. It's not exactly a play but it's a lot of fun. Which is George's way of saying that recreation implies a change of activity. Doing something other than what is for him work here is what George does when he's working. You'll find Mr Alberts that this policy gives you exactly that kind of coverage and at the minimum cost for the coverage of all your employees. We've had a little better than 50 years experience in meeting the needs of the concern that's growing expanding. We have some very interesting statistics on many firms just like your own.
Now then here's the presentation that I've been working on a whole series of pressures and tensions are building in the George Meyers life. His work makes him anxious about a wide range of things. Gotta get up there gotta get on the ball. Make more sales. Got to get up with the big boys. Have to take Alberts to lunch. He's a toughie. I could really get to hate that guy but I'd be careful. What tool what is the time old now they want a million dollars a year. I can show you can't. Million dollars worth of insurance. Show your can for the people. Gotta make more calls make more calls see more people gotta get on the ball you can do it. Smile. Call attention. Call it anxiety emotional pressure whatever you will. The routine of work makes certain demands on George. These will differ from person to person job to job. If George were the carpenter he might enjoy the hour and a half lunches the drinks the talk the getting around and meeting people the goings and seeings that are part of
George's being his kind of insurance salesman. But George Myers this is work. It is pressure to do to act to be pressured to be released when he is away from work. Then there is another set of demands made on George and on Teresa to simply existing surviving in a city can be a nerve wracking affair. Wow that was a call last night to get those trucks over on the freeway. So don't watch it. Lots of kids about those rear tires. The new trend is not going to stop when he sees me. Guess he doesn't. Yeah yes he is home much of the time but when she isn't she must deal with the same noise and traffic moving among strangers that her husband does and then there is a set of troublesome concerns that fall upon her. Some of them may be common with city wives some of them may arise only because to Risa is Teresa and George is George. I never know where he is even when he says he's going to be there. What if something
happened. I couldn't even get in touch with him nobody could. But if you meet somebody somebody else. Those women down at the office that little Blondie was going on about. He couldn't and I wouldn't even know it. Nobody would tell me nobody I don't even know them. I never know where he is what he's doing. Then those conventions those parties business he sat throwin the Russians the eight in the sea bombs cancer holy old fire murder robbery smog taxes those blasted Republicans or those blasted Democrats. Then two and Teresa's case none too fascinating routine of doing the same things in the same place day in and day out washing the same dishes at the same sink doing the same clothes in the same washing on the same day. Soul we would come to the proposition that recreation which we have not yet thoroughly defined does involve a change a not doing of something we have to
do but rather a doing of something we want to do when we want to do it within certain limitations within the limitations of the society in which we wish to do it. Moreover this change most often involves a change of activity and then enjoying. Getting. On for you because you are now. Paid money. Come on here is a good one. Point 1 Come on now. That's right that's right. Even man poured in on me. George is here releasing a little of the tension that his day and his city built in. Call it letting off steam. He is a spectator watching a drama. It has its heroes and its villains. It has a pattern a rhythm and a climax again. There are those who would say that a wrestling match viewed on a television screen is rather low form of drama and a rather an imaginative sort of recreation the main point is that for George it works honey. I would trade you one wrestling match like this for 50000 trips to that museum and a hundred thousand of what was that painter's name but the one you were going on
about. Yeah. I still think yes you want to see that so much. No I won't. The reason it seems is also getting rid of some tension. She too is a kind of spectator submitting herself to the drama that others make for her a drama which she beholds this time on the pages of a book. Margaret gazed at the sleeping figure. The rhythm of a snoring grated on her as never before. Each snore seemed to fill the entire cabin to pass over and around her as a weight. She knew now that she must kill him and she knew that it was right that he should die. Abe stared fitfully in his sleep. I wonder if I can she said half aloud. I know that I should but I wonder if a change of activity a doing of something different by which one can ease some of the tension and the anxiety is build in by those things that one must do and be like it or not. Then there is the business of doing the same things in a different environment. This also is
change. I do hope we can go up to the lake again this summer. Maybe we can even get that same darling little cabin the one with that funny little stove. It's always somehow sort of a challenge for a while. This is though our dishes. Then in a world of traffic lights and appointments a place of steel and concrete a regular predictable forms and shapes in a noisy rushing demanding world that there occurs a simple proposition of getting away from the manmade mechanical environment of the city. Occasionally George gets away from it all. HARRY JUST CALL ME nature boy. Look at those mountains. Catch those trees. Hey let's take a break here for a minute and just look at it. Just look. That's beautiful. You look I haven't even had a bite yet. Always complaining always complaining. You can always buy some fish. We did last time you did I caught mine. Then there is another element of recreation one that we most often look for as we change either of the
things we do or the place we do them in this is the element of adventure which may or may not imply a certain danger. It usually does come on Harry. We could make it looks pretty sturdy to me looks like a good place to break a leg. All right if you break a leg you'll get a good rest. Sure I will. Better yet if you break a leg I'll shoot you. You won't have anything to worry about. Come on. Ok I'm tired. Let's go to Nature Boy. This is a physical risk a very real one for they both know that the possibility of a broken leg the remote does exist. Here is a social risk. The danger of being taken to task for something you want to do but what you have been told you mustn't do all right. So they expect us home at 10 o'clock. That's just what I'd like to come in at midnight. Boy you gotta know sometimes I think that's half the fun of getting out. What's the spice in the whole affair. Spicy says don't worry we'll make it on time. Thus a prescription for recreation. Not yet a definition of it. And
this can only be made in terms of one George Meyers whom we know recreation for him implies doing something he honestly wants to do and more or less when he wants to do it something different from those things he has been told he has to do. For these our work then a change of scene is often enjoyable and occasionally the element of adventure or danger should be present. The function of all this. Its usefulness in George's life. The recreate of an urban man. The reorganizing the getting back together of all the pieces that his work and his life in the city seem constantly to pull apart. Only in adults does this have to be defended. When we are children we are expected to play the attack that is most often made on George's scheme of recreation as to do with something we call quality the goodness or badness of the form. There you sit night after night glued to that television screen every time there's a fight. A baseball game or a wrestling match you're right there. But just let me try to watch an opera or something. We go to the
opera. Yes and what a battle it is to get you there. It almost takes all the pleasure out. And just last week I took you to see Hamlet. We were talking about opera and I'm trying to watch a wrestling match and you didn't even enjoy Hamlet. Every now and then you've got almost interesting the finer things in life just don't interest you I guess. Come on now Come on. I mean I might as well face it you're just not very cultured. Well some of us are. I think Shakespeare is. Well Shakespeare we would submit the proposition that this argument is not so much concerned with quality as it is with skill. George learned how to fish. He's a better than average amateur carpenter. A whole set of perceptual skills allows him to enjoy a baseball game when it comes to a ball game. He knows where and how the drama is made. You know what to watch and what to ignore. These are skills that Teresa does not have and does not want. On the other hand
that night they went to see Hamlet the tables were turned when Teresa was hearing this. Oh why oh why is it not monstrous that this plague. But you know fiction you know reading what George was hearing this. No miss I think I learned the language the costumes the manners the staging the wealth of Appeals to the eye and the ear. Many of these missed there were times when in his terms he gathered that Horacio was on second and layer tease was pitching a curve and soul every now and then it got almost interesting. Seeing Hamlet again listening to or possibly even reading some Elizabethan speech might eventually equip George with more of the necessary language skills
repeated exposure can do a number of things. However many an opera is only partially enjoyed if you are the opera whores who actually understand the Italian. The French the German the Russian that they may hear in a single season Georgia need not be ashamed. It's a matter of skill and not the quality that bothers him. With just a little more skill which may in George's case be achieved the next time he sees or hears Hamlet this might be what could come through. How I. Oh what a halt. Yes well it's this way but in a fraction with Russia which is more or less in the vicinity of the message and which is also a lot closer than Teresa got to many of the passages. Boris good enough the week before recreation then in many of its advanced forms advanced in terms of George's snoozing on the Sunday afternoon usually
requires a degree of skill. The more advanced the form the more complex the skills become. This is a comprehensible proposition to George in terms of fishing. He and Harry talked about it but differently. Ever thought of taking up fly fishing George. Yeah but boy it's tricky. Takes lots of practice. You really have to know how to handle a rod. You've got to have a good wrist Mike. You're in it you know. Well you might consider it might even get more fish bait fishing is all right. Yeah I know but you're real connoisseur. We can handle both Jack additional mastery of necessary skills will for most people yield a better enjoyment of recreation. These may be the skills of the Spectator. George as he watches Hamlet or of they participate or the fishing trip with Harry or they maybe the skills of the Creator the maker of things. That fence in the backyard for example. Nonetheless the more advanced the form of recreation the greater the skills and the greater the pleasure. Now there may actually be a limit to the capacity of the individual that will enter in. George has
certain physical limitations. No admission no exercise may increase his abilities to handle more tasks. He may also have certain intellectual limitations. However in the matter of pleasure to the senses along toward the end of that tour of the art museum be prepared for a bit of a surprise. Hey wait a minute. What is it. I swear this is the last time we go to the museum. I don't care if you ever see a fine picture don't wash me here. What's this called. I don't know it looks horrid. You've got a programme. What's it called. Let's see. Number thirty five am male. It's by a local artist. So What's he driving at. It's called. It's called compulsion upon eating a Fig Newton. I don't care. It's interesting. Weird but. Well. Interesting. I might know you'd like something like that. Yeah kind of intrigued what George was looking at seemed to be a chromium plated garbage can lid some streaks of tar and a few daubs of leftover house paint
which it was. It may or may not be on a par with some of the landmarks of abstract painting. Say the nude descending the staircase she used to be experienced not seen or so they say. However George could look without bias. Look neither up to or down at the painting. And he enjoyed it. Perhaps even the message got through or at least some of it funny. I felt that way after remember. Never drink rum. I know you didn't. The Franken twist. To a certain extent George is coasting on the recreation skills that he learned in the past. He enjoys watching baseball because he played he got to know the woods as a Boy Scout. He learned to swim in a municipal plunge. George can ski after a fashion. Someday he'll take lessons. His father taught him to fish with bait.
He did read some Shakespeare in high school and every now and then it got almost interesting. School however did help him to enjoy woodworking and growing plants and dancing in the team play of comradeship and doing things with others. The skills if any necessary to enjoy television type wrestling. Lowell's Well he just picked them up. Occasionally they let him down. Nuts. What's the matter is the wrong man winning tonight or did he win last night. Why did you keep his schedule and then you know who is supposed to win. It was pretty good there for a while but then I got to thinking it's my opinion that a little thinking might spoil it for anyone. Well to each his own I don't exactly live for the stuff you know. I suppose not. It is pretty hard to tell though. No I just got to thinking why don't we do something new once in a while. I've tried the opera going to plays concerts sweetie. Some of those things I really got a kick out of and you know it really George. There are times when I think
I'll just give up. No I had an idea. I think I might take up fly time. Something else to give you an excuse to get out with Harry. Do you know what fly tying is. Yes it's decorating fish hooks with pretty little gay guys. Well you do have a theory of it. I have been led to believe however that there is a little more to it. But maybe you're right. Can you do it here. Yeah but yeah but what. But I don't know anything about it. If you want to find out about it why don't you call up Harry or some of your other cronies. I suppose I could get a book. It would be nice to see you with one in your hands just for a change. Maybe the library would have some in Georgia city he'll be able to find the book he needs in the public library. Together with many more like it like it in the sense that they can help him to expand the considerable reservoir of recreation skills he already has. Then there's a host of professional establishment sporting goods stores can supply him with the answers to his immediate questions. And in George's case he can afford to buy what he needs at least 20s
tying flies and joining with other citizens. He might even be able to put over the idea of a casting pool in one of the city's parks they say would be perfectly well reasonably willing to pay for as he does for many of the facilities that he no longer needs or uses some of which he never intends to use again. That trip to the museum. That was a good thing you know as a result you've decided to. What is it. Time flies. Well not exactly. But some people enjoy that one thing. Yes they do. If we had any kids I'd want them to see that stuff all of it. A lot of it's trash. I try very much. That's just your opinion your opinion about the things that I like. I have a hunch that most of it's pretty good stuff. If I just knew what I was looking at or looking for and then does every ballgame have to be the World Series I really wouldn't know. Well for your information it doesn't let me tell you how to look at it. How to really see it. How about some time watch a ballgame really watch their time through their childhood their teens and even both George and Teresa Myers are growing
and Recreation may be one of the key parts of the process in a child to a degree playing or recreation is part of growing up. But more precisely isn't it one of the most important things that we have to learn in the painful process of growing up. This business of how to play and how to get the most out of it. Then there's the problem of where and what what facilities should the city provide. What should the individual provide for himself. What are those things which should be build into the city for George Myers right now it's a casting pool but what of tomorrow's George Meyers growing up in the city of today. In George's day there were vacant lots where you could organize a baseball game of a Saturday afternoon. These are gone now or going fast in some cities in others the vacant lots now are equipped with grass and backstops and there's a lot of them. One day one neighborhood and in still other cities there are places where youngsters can get together of a Sunday night and play the records they want to play. And that's the steps that they want to dance. And this is recreation. But it
is also something more. It is a place and a setting to practice still another set of skills the social skills needed to move comfortably even effectively among other humans in a complex and at times terrifying world. Traveling in the woods swimming skating listening to or making music or drama or simply organizing away from traffic. Davy Crockett's last stand in the Alamo. These are but a few of the things children particularly children of the city need need as children. And will need to have had as adults today as an adult in the middle of his productive years George Meyers manages to solve most of his recreational problems one way or another. Some of the ways are not very satisfactory even to him. Let's not raise the quality argument again but we might suggest that those things he enjoys today may not work at all 10 or 20 years down the line. But neither George nor the city in which he lives has yet thought of this one. One day George Meyers will be one of the senior citizens that he reads about in the newspapers. It may even be able to
sit on a park bench and talk about the days when old Harry Truman sent the army into Korea. If there is a park if there is a bench and if it isn't great and if in the mean time neither he nor the city has been able to do any better or even to think about the problem. Right now he'd rather not. Why don't you gone there now. But then George has some time yet and so does his city. You're listening to WEEKEND. An examination of the role of the recreation seeker in the modern American metropolis. This has been one in a transcribed series of programs titled The Urban Frontier produced by the community education project in San Bernardino Valley College. These programs were developed in consultation with faculty members of the University of
California Riverside the University of Redlands and of San Bernardino Valley College as well as a core of professional business and civic leaders of the San Bernardino Riverside metropolitan area.
Community education project
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