to be in charge of their own learning and allow time for the repetitive practice that
develops expertise. (Kolb & Kolb 2010)
The Constantly Changing Lineup Reminiscent of Freelance
This non-competitive, referee-free environment of “The Free Play League” is foreign territory
for folks used to a traditional sports structure, but I found the “show up and play”
movement of the players reminiscent of freelance work. As one of the participant’s states:
The game was chaotic and disorganized. It was a fun chaos, which made attractive
to join. You never knew who would show up. I don’t think the game would have
been attractive if it was completely organized like a professional sport team.
Because you never knew what you would get every week, you needed to be
spontaneous and ready to improvise. If there was no short stop, I would go play
short stop. If there was no outfielder, I would go and fill that position. Everybody
played the position that needed to be filled at that time. That added variety to the
game. Because of the unpredictability of the game, it all came down to relationship.
For me, it was more about meeting people I like in a different setting and
strengthening that relationship. (Kolb & Kolb, 2010)
The constant variety provided by the changing team lineup, with people coming and going
through normal attrition, is reminiscent of the shifting workforce in the freelance world. You
never really know the full details of your assignment when entering a new company and
improvisation is key. Professionalism is not “just a matter of memorizing a set of rules or a
stock of explicit knowledge. You’re learning to absorb a whole way of being picking up
practices, rather than learning about practices” (Barrett, 2012, p. 107). The improvisation
on the field is similar to temporarily joining a company or organization to work on a client
project. You often have limited knowledge of the other team members’ capabilities or what
the client wants. There is no time to get upset by ineptitude or office politics. You insert
yourself in a group and learn about their practices by doing and then you move forward
In a way, the short-timer attitude keeps the relationship fresh and playful because you are
in a heightened state of discovering new things about the project or people you are
working with and then leave. Even if you come back, enough time has elapsed so you
have plenty to discuss and it reenergizes the relationship. With freelance, you do not have
the longevity or familiarity to be dismissive or take people for granted at work and this also
applies to the playing field. You have some team players who are consistent regulars and
then others who show up infrequently depending on their schedule. No matter who shows
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