because we did not want to spoil the magic. When attending a great party, you do not sit
and analyze what is working at the time, but just enjoy and later reflect on the experience.
I was a single mom teaching adjunct contemporary cinema and screenwriting courses
while also working as a freelance multimedia writer after moving back to Cleveland in order
to deal and heal from a divorce, bankruptcy and a dying parent. I vividly remember the day
at the local Starbucks, enjoying time with my six-year-old daughter Liz, when a close friend
casually invited me to play softball. Liz incredulously said, “you can’t play softball,” and I
decided to prove her wrong (although she was right). In 1998, I started playing softball with
extremely limited “competence” but later found myself changing in surprising ways, I
became comfortable being uncomfortable and enjoying the act of play without pressure.
“There was absolutely no judgment. I jokingly called it the ‘sheltered workshop of play.’
Even if I stopped the ball with my head, someone would say – ‘nice stop’ without an ounce
of sarcasm” (Goldman, 2002, in Kolb & Kolb 2010).
Every Sunday we meet to get our play fix. There’s no drama or social pressure.
It’s our Sunday ritual – a space for a different kind of communion. NO appointed
coaches, NO membership fees, NO team name or use of last names, NO pressure
to show up and NO tryout. Nobody cares what you do during the week. In fact,
most of us know very little about each other’s personal lives – basically we come to
play. (Goldman, 2002, in Kolb & Kolb 2010)
This was a softball dreamland. The camaraderie was generative, boisterous, playful, and
provided a weekly inoculation from the daily grind. Anyone who showed up, between 10
a.m. and noon, would be arbitrarily assigned to one team or the other so the lineup was
continuously changing. You instinctively learned to play nice because you never knew
where you would land in the lineup next week.
When David and Alice Kolb reflect on the team, they were conscious of building a different
kind of sport field that integrates play and learning:
In our recent research on experiential learning, we have focused on the importance
of learning spaces and developed principles for creating them (Kolb & Kolb, 2005).
For a learner to engage fully in the learning cycle, a space must be provided to
engage fully in the four modes of the cycle – feeling, reflection, thinking, and action.
It needs to be a hospitable, welcoming space that is characterized by respect for
all. It needs to be safe and supportive, but also challenging. It must allow learners