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Just when we’re out having the time of our lives… BAM! A life lesson hits us when we least expect it. As Tom showed us in the first post of this series, a playful life isn’t just fun. Dare we say, you can actually learn something from it?

My name is Shannon, and here’s how I got schooled while playing it cool:

It was the year The Sandlot made its debut in theaters across America. An hour and half with Scotty Smalls and the gang led me to believe I was destined to be the next Babe Ruth. I joined a softball team at the local park and started breaking in my new glove. My parents would spend hours playing catch with me in the yard, but I was hopeless. I spent most games in right field, entertaining myself by creating elaborate dandelion chains and rehearsing moves from ballet class. As a clumsy left-handed kid, I eventually forgot which hand my glove was on and caught the ball bare-handed. A mix-up that led to a trip to the emergency room and two broken fingers. I still laugh about my career as a diamond gal to this day.
Life Lesson #33: It’s ok to enjoy a sport without being good at it, just make sure you know your right from your left…

Endless hours of every summer were spent at the swim club. With only a front dive in my repertoire, my mother convinced me to join the diving team. Hesitation lasted mere seconds before I experienced the exhilarating freedom of a front somersault off a springboard. I fondly remember the feel of warm sunshine on my skin after climbing out of the pool after each dive. Minutes felt like hours as my teammates and I would anxiously wait our turn for the chance to go airborne. To this day, the scent of sunscreen mixed with chlorine makes me feel like I can fly.
Life Lesson #7: What goes up… Can make a big splash!

The neighborhood was sprawling. Tons of hills and hidden trails were candy to the fearless bike rider’s appetite. The biggest adventures always led to a huge creek at the very, very back of the subdivision. We fancied ourselves explorers: Letting minnows swim through our toes as we searched for any bigger signs of marine life. One extremely successful expedition resulted in my best friend and I returning home with dozens of tadpoles between the two of us. As we emptied our buckets in to the baby pool in her backyard, we smiled triumphantly at each other. Weeks passed and our treasures were forgotten. One afternoon we walked out to see her annoyed dog, barking at several frogs in the backyard. Perhaps it was a simple coincidence, but I like to think we were responsible.
Life Lesson #92: Life goes on. Sometimes, it returns when you least expect it.

You don’t need a white lab coat and a fancy clipboard to understand the importance of play. Pick your brain for your favorite childhood memories and we guarantee you’ll find a useful nugget of information playing hide and seek in there.

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