It’s Friday afternoon, and everyone is outside for recess. You know that you’ll be home in less than half an hour so the only thing on your mind is not being “it.”
The game of tag was one activity that everyone was able to play. Everyone who played felt they were the master of their craft, and as close to invincible as it gets. Half the reason we felt this way was a result of ample study time, aka frequent play. The other half can be accredited to fear of the opponent, aka, the kid who grabbed the other’s bathroom pass.
The game of tag that many of us played in elementary school was a building block for the game of “chase” that we participate in now. We have progressed from putting gum in the hair of the person we are interested in to sending “subtle” pokes via Facebook. The “chase” is the grown-up version of our favorite childhood game (other than duck, duck, goose).
The excitement takes our breath away! Strategically, the two are approached very similarly: If we push too hard, we may end up hurting the other person, but if we don’t run fast enough, we’ll lose the game. And, if we’re too aggressive, we’ll miss the people hiding behind the trees. Along with strategy, the objectives are about as identical as it gets. The goal is to grab the attention of someone and hold it by running away. We adjust our speed, however, so that the other person can keep up but still has to push his/herself in order to get what he/she really wants.
Writing this article, I asked myself, “How are the two so similar, yet approached so differently?” I came to the realization that the only actual difference between tag and the chase is how success is defined within each of the games.
Success in tag can be defined by the amount of fun we had, the number of people we tagged, the number of people that tagged us or a ratio of being tagged to how many people we tagged. In the chase, success is often defined by the physical progress made with the person of interest.
Tag was an activity that we learned to play through participation. Our first game was nerve-wracking because of the fear of not knowing exactly what to do or how the game would turn out, but we were able to get over it. The game of tag was only intimidating the first time around, but that feeling never goes away when we are involved in the chase.
If we were able to rid ourselves of the nerves that accompany the chase, we would be able have a new outlook on it. Our attitude toward the chase needs to be changed. The stereotypes of the men and women who are always in the game need to be erased.
Just because a guy/girl wants to pursue other activities or doesn’t want to settle down with just one person, doesn’t mean they are slutty or loose. For some people, maybe being “it” isn’t that bad. On the other hand, if a guy/girl wants to settle because the first person who chased actually caught him/her doesn’t mean they are prude or uptight. These people prefer to be IT.
The chase requires that we step outside our comfort zones and allow someone the opportunity to come in. Tag forced us to be free and open to possibilities! We should allow the chase to do the same.
It isn’t about getting laid or finding that special someone. It is about letting go and giving not love, but excitement, a chance. No decision is necessary right now, but we should think about whether we want to be “it” or IT.