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Play’s The Thing

A Dragon Boat team practices under the full moon along the Washington Channel.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

It’s that time again, when a kindlier light shines upon the Earth and, although all is not right with the world and perhaps never will be, it’s wearing its happiest face and making the best of it. So should we all.

These golden days, when the sun lingers longer, when the winds blow softer, and the rains nourish new life, it’s enough to bring out the poet in the most savage soul. For those of us who feed on the thrill of simple sports, these are the days we’ve been waiting for all the long cold winter.

Here in D.C. the return of flip-flop weather has inspired a bumper crop of outdoor enthusiasts. The streets are a-swarm with hipsters and bicyclists. The volleyball teams are leaping and smashing on the fields near the Lincoln Memorial. The crack of bats and the thwock of gloves floats above the baseball fields in the shadow of the Martin Luther King Memorial, and all weekend long the cries of agony and shrieks of victory arise from the tennis courts at East Potomac Park, while the golfers on the adjacent course pursue their goals with quieter resolve.

It’s springtime in our Nation’s Capitol, and for this brief, blissful season politics is not the only game in town.

Plato, we’re told, once remarked that “Life must be lived as play.” Easy for him to say. In the modern world, as we slog or blog along at our daily chores, whether chained to desks or digging ditches, the concept of “play” can be elusive. The human penchant for nitpicking, score keeping, record seeking and trophy hunting sometimes obscures the purity of The Game. But, that’s not something we need concern ourselves with in this bright moment. Today we play.

Another fellow, Guy Lombardo, expressed the notion a bit more blithely in song: “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.”

Good advice anytime.

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