Structure is Freedom (except when it's not)

Does a playground need to cost millions and come in a box with boundary lines and instructions?  


As an artistic medium, high performance training facility or form of re-creative therapy:  better if it doesn't.



The pitch (made of artificial turf) suggests the elements of serendipity and luck constantly present in play.


"Many live under the belief that life is a fair playing field, that both pitch halves are just as big and the goal always has at least one cross. But ultimately the ball never bounces exactly where you want it to and the pitch is both bumpy and uneven,” notes MogulBall designer and installation artist Johan Ferner Stroem.
Though very serious athletes (such as tennis player Rafael Nadal) find it incredibly useful (and humbling) to train with an absolute "0-2-B-4-Again unregulated playing-field” mentality (that you often find best expressed in nature settings).


Where Nadal truly sets himself apart from all the others is on the practice courts.  He’ll chase down balls his hitting partners have apparently sprayed wide or long – moving to and returning anything remotely in his vicinity.  How did he learn that there’s no such thing as OUT, in practice?  Or, rather how did he acquire the discipline to play everything?  By considering everything in play.  Easier to do when you remove restrictions you don’t particularly like anyway.  

Like those pesky lines for instance.  One of Nadal’s favorite practice courts naturally has no lines.

And for you and I, this practice model has real value. Too often we assume the ball might be going out and therefore don’t really run, or when the ball is slightly out we simply let it go, waiting presumably for something easier to return. Oh, doesn’t that show up in the lessons of life and the myriad of missed opportunity?   How often have we arbitrarily defined things as too risky, too hard, too much effort, too little in return. 
 And passed those notions down the line? 


When, put in action, the result of such practice ~~  in response to the natural world's unpredictability ~~ can be quite profound.

An Algorithm in the Chaos: Control through Counter-intuition

The unevenness of the field is intended to invite more imaginative ways to play, and to encourage an all-inclusive sport with limitless possibilities for play between girls and boys, old and young, skilled against unskilled, on equal footings, challenging the physical elitism inherent in most purposeful sporting activities.  

This natural, loping style of movement on the field of undulating play is something we practice in a restorative tai chi-based technique that combines unfocused eye movement with balance center integration.  It serves a population that also struggles with confidence and movement;  those subjected to a condition known as Parkinson’s.

Paradoxical Footwork Technique

  .   .   I have seen some Parkinson’s clients who use this footwork without knowing it.  That is, they discovered it without being taught.  Frequently ~~ they arrive at my facility from an athletic background (in a rambunctious, out-of-doors-nature- interactive childhood) that helped them hone a natural expression of body intelligence...


See Fullness in the Seed ~~Be Child-like Today in Nature.

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Comment by Randy Eady on June 19, 2011 at 3:42pm

There is a related story about also not accepting boundaries imposed by well-meaning, but misguided game referees at this link:;/
Able, Different and Fear-less ~ Arms as Legs; Hands as Feet


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