For those of you who remember growing up in the late 90's and early 00's, you'll easily recognize such household names as The Power Rangers, The Lord of the Rings, Jurassic Park, Star Wars (Episodes I and II), and many other such popular movies and television programs of the time that were guaranteed to influence any kid fortunate enough to grow up with a TV set. Yet when the shows were done and school was in session, it was easy to let one's mind wander to more exciting matters, like fighting orcs or killing dinosaurs (rarely at the same time). Lucky for me, there was an outlet for adventure readily awaiting my friends and I in the form of our school playground, where every weekday at noon, we were allowed to forget everything we had just learned in favor of reenacting our heroes' epic adventures
My earliest memories of playground adventures involve my friends and I acting like pint-sized rangers fighting invisible monsters from space (nobody wanted to be the puddies). I would always call dibs on the white ranger, whether it be because of my desire to be the leader, or more likely because Tommy looked hardcore with his white armor on, I would always be the first one out there karate-chopping invisible baddies like there was no tomorrow, despite my lack of the proper armor.
Growing up, my best friend was a huge Jurassic Park fan, and I mean huge. Of all the fearsome reptiles in the movies, there wasn't a dinosaur he couldn't name, didn't have the toy of, or even imitate the sound of with chilling accuracy. It was at his house that I first experienced Jurassic Park on VHS, (I was too young to see them in theaters), and after that, it was pretty much a guarantee that we were going to be seeing dinosaurs for quite some time. When it came to the playground, we would always be the velociraptors; running around with our mouths open and our arms tucked in like dinosaurs. Needless to say, we were a force to be reckoned with, (and very popular with the ladies I might add). Even to this day, my friend has the unfortunate title of â€œthe raptor kid,â€ which despite its catchy ring, isn't as great as it sounds.
You all remember the first time you saw a Quidditch match right? Flying brooms, soaring bludgers, and a blindingly fast golden snitch were more than enough to excite any aspiring wizard. Yet for those of us bold enough to actually try the sport, there was a serious lack of anything relating to magic brooms, Hogwarts approved quaffles, and other magic paraphernalia that makes any exciting Quidditch game worth playing. So we did what any group of bored kids would do, we improvised. Instead of bludgers, we had dodge balls thrown by eager bystanders. In place of the quaffle, a soccer ball provided more than enough enjoyment for the whole team. Yet what really separated our game from a botched soccer match/ dodge ball game gone mad was in fact a little toy golden snitch that someone had kindly brought from home. To make up for its lack of flying ability, however, somebody had to hurl the little devil from the nearest hill onto the playing field, in the hopes that the seeker, (preferably me), would catch it and win one for the home team. As amazing as our game was, our attempts at making Quidditch an official school sports team were somewhat less successful.
Like a lot of kids, some of my greatest memories of the playground include myself acting like a Jedi, hobbit, or some other form of television hero running about the school like lunatic off his meds, while as some of my worst memories include my playing the more organized, yet certainly more competitive, games of basketball, football, and the like. Imaginative role playing gave me and a lot of other kids an opportunity to live out what we had always wanted to be, and given the choice between fighting Darth Maul or going long for a pass, Well I think you know the answer to that question.