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Observation Number Two

Christopher Colas

Pacific Oaks College


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As our class comes to a close, we have covered all aspects of play across a lifespan. From

babies to toddlers, teenagers and now we finish off with adults. Dealing with adults when it

comes to playing was different than dealing with children. When children play they play, there’s Commented [G1]: Inserted: a
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nothing to it, it almost seems like an instinct or a second nature. When I observe children play
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either in life or watching the videos provided to us during class, the children play with a certain

ease about them, it’s easy for them to play. As we get older I have noticed that it gets harder for

us to at this ease when playing, teenagers can still be seen playing but it’s not nearly the same,

and once we reach adulthood playing is often forgotten about so much that we don’t see it much

at all. So, when trying to come up with a place to observe adults at play I had to think about it for

a while, where do adults go to play. Where can they let go of their day to day stress and have a

good time? Where indeed? After going over the aspects of play in my head for some time and Commented [G3]: Inserted: ?
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thinking about where I would go to play I came up with the idea of going to observe adults at the

casino. I enjoy going to the casino and my uncle was a blackjack dealer for over 20 years and

called Las Vegas an adult playground. So naturally, I decided to observe adults playing at the

casino. Unfortunately, I did not have the time or the money to go to Las Vegas so I had to go to Commented [G4]: Inserted: ,

the Agua Caliente Indian Casino in Rancho Mirage. This casino is located about ten minutes

away from Palm Springs off the Indio freeway.

I started my observation at the casino at around 7 p.m. I knew from previous times at the

casino that the earlier crowd are usually regulars and seniors. These were not the type of adults

that I was looking for, they would not be very active and I would not get a good observation

from them, also as suggested from my professor and the idea crossed my mind as well I planned

on staying away from the slot machines, occasionally there is a group of excitement at the
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machines but they are often boring and lack the type of play I was looking for. I started my

search for the right group at the blackjack tables, it was still a little early for the Saturday

evening crowd to get started so I moved to the bar to see if anyone was getting ready to go out

and start playing. I saw a group of people in there that looked like they were having a good time.

The group consisted of two couples. The two couples were in their mid-twenties, one couple was

bi-racial the woman was African American and the man was Hispanic and the other couple who

was a homosexual couple were both African American. The couples stood out to me because Commented [G7]: Inserted: -

they looked like they were having the most fun out of all the others in the bar. I sat at the end of

the bar and hoped that they would go and start to play in the casino. They had a few more drinks

and finally made their way to the casino floor. They headed for the Blackjack table with a $15.00

Minimum. There were two other gentlemen sitting at the table, leaving one open chair out of

seven, I took advantage and thought I’d get a closer look and took the seat. The group of adults Commented [G8]: Inserted: r

was already having a good time and ready to play. They didn’t know how to play blackjack very Commented [G9]: Inserted: as
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well and this was very annoying to the other two men that were playing already at the table.

While they were laughing and having a good time asking one another about their cards and

hitting staying when they really shouldn't be it was evident that the other two men were getting

angrier and angrier. I didn't care much I was playing the table minimum and betting Commented [G12]: Deleted:not

conservatively, as a result, I was actually up, but I was more interested in my observation. I

struck up a conversation with the four and found out they were friends that lived in Palm

Springs, they had a dog grooming and pet store business together and were celebrating the

opening of a new store in San Bernardino. I noticed that while they were playing they had a very Commented [G10]: Inserted: ,
care freeway about them, they did not care what anyone else was doing or what anyone else said

or thought

about how they were doing what they were doing. It may have been the alcohol but they were

completely happy just doing them. Unfortunately, this kind of carefree attitude does not go over

so well when you have serious gamblers that are losing money on account of your carefree

attitude on the tables. While the couples kept ordering drinks, not taking the game seriously and

just having a good time, they continued to make moves that would affect the games of the other

players on the tables. It finally became too much for one of the men and he blurred out a

derogatory remark towards one of the gay men, took his chips and stormed off. The table went

quiet, I froze and looked at the couple waiting for a blowout, but they just looked at each other

and laughed. The dealer looked at them and apologized “I am very sorry if you would like I can

call my pit boss and have that man escorted out of here.” They said that it was fine they did not

want someone like him to ruin their celebration. The other man that was sitting there was soon to

follow he left amicably but still upset at the way the table had turned. The two couples had no

intentions of letting anyone ruin their good time, they had little to no idea of how the game of

blackjack was played but they were not going to let that stop them. They would hit when you

weren’t supposed to, celebrate wildly and loudly, bet carelessly and the whole time has a blast

doing so. The fun continued for about two more hours the drinks kept flowing and the bad

blackjack plays kept playing. I who had been playing smart and drinking ginger ale all night was

up 150 bucks decided that I would call it a night. I excused myself and took my chips cashed out

and went home. Commented [G13]: Inserted: s


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Reflecting on my observation I can say that I was very lucky to find such a fun group at

the casino. I was starting to regret my decision for a minute there before I ran across them, the

casino was proving to be a dead spot for adult play, of course, all the adults that were there were Commented [G15]: Inserted: ,

engaging in play but they were not showing much emotion or activity, so when I came across

this group I was lucky. The way that they were playing reminded me of the way I watched kids

play. It was a completely different aspect of play a completely different source and age group but

I felt that these four adults had been able to let their inhibitions out and let all their worries Commented [G16]: Inserted: ly
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behind them and they were truly playing. They didn’t care if they were playing the game right

they didn’t care if they were making the other players upset with their bad plays, they just

wanted to have a good time, and that is what all our readings and our videos have been focused

on in my opinion, when you can let play build up your life and have it contribute to you in a

positive fashion. I read in an article that: The only way to fully engage and enjoy PLAY

activities as an adult is to not care what others think, to not be bothered if someone stares or

makes a snarky comment. “If you are comfortable in your own skin and secure in the

relationships of those that you are with, then your joy from the play will be nothing short of Commented [G18]: Inserted: the

blissful (O’malley-Hurff, 2016, p.1). after reading this I recognized that this was the exact

description of the two couples that I observed. The whole night I could observe nothing but

sensation seeking behaviors they were truly thrilled to be where they were and excited to be

having the time they were having. Phrases like: “I’m so glad we decided to do this” and “I don’t

care I’m going for it!” was said allot. I am reminded of theorist B.F. Skinner and his behaviorism

studies where; “theories deal only with observable behaviors. Development is considered a reaction

to rewards, punishments, stimuli and reinforcement” (Cherry, 2017, P.1). I know that this theory is
most comfortable when dealing with the development of children but I couldn't help but place it into

my observation as well, environmental interactions are a big factor when dealing with behaviorisms

and I noticed that the environment made a great impact on how the group was acting. For example, I Commented [G19]: Inserted: n
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do believe that

alcohol was a factor and that was a product of the environment, also the whole casino environment

put them into a carefree mood. Even when that man took a shot at their lifestyle, they were having so

much fun they just brushed it off, in other scenarios they may not have reacted in such matters.

Socially these individuals were connected to another, they were a very tight-knit group they

seemed to have known each other for years and were very close. They had developed the social skills Commented [G21]: Inserted: -

between them that I would expect to see in a group of siblings, they joked with one another, mocked

each other playfully and seemed to be a part of their own private joke that no one else knew the

ending to. As far as anyone else they lacked social skills or did not care to exercise them at this

juncture. They often ignored the cocktail waiter and dealer staling gameplay. I got some information Commented [G23]: Deleted:,

out of them due to a friendly conversation but even that took effort. They were shielded from the rest

of us in their own little bubble of fun it seemed like. But even though they had little social game

outside of their group, the play that they were engaging in was truly bringing them close together. I

could literally see how much fun they were having and how much it was fortifying a relationship

between them all. They already seemed very close but this night was bringing them even closer. Commented [G22]: Inserted: a

As I conclude my observation I look back at discovering play, how does play affect my life.

How do I feel after I get home from my niece’s house, or I come home from a Dodger game? It’s

kind of hard to explain on paper but it almost a feeling of self-worth, a feeling that no matter what

life brings you when you take the time to play everything will be ok. If we take the time out of our Commented [G25]: Deleted:at
day to bring a little joy to our lives by playing, wean recharge out batteries and go on about our days

refreshed and equipped. I have truly enjoyed learning about the philosophies of play. I will close with

a quote from an article I read about the adult play; "The key to being an adult is to hold on to what Commented [G24]: Inserted: the

makes you happy. If you enjoy it, find a way to do it. Aging gracefully does not mean becoming

stagnant or complacent in your everyday. Do what you enjoy. Experience life. Enjoy relationships.

PLAY” (O’malley-Hurff, 2016, p. 1).


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References:

Wood, R. A., Gupta, R., Derevensky, J. L., & Griffiths, M. (2004). Video Game Playing and

Gambling in Adolescents: Common Risk Factors. Journal Of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse,

Kendra Cherry (2017) Child Development Theories and Examples Some Key Ideas

About How Children Grow and Develop. https://www.verywell.com/child-development-

theories-2795068

Taralee O'Malley Hurff (2016) Why Don't Adults Play. Commented [G28]: Deleted:m

http://www.kindovermatter.com/2016/03/why-don't-adults-play.html Commented [G26]: Inserted: M


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Alice LaPlante (2009) Most Gamblers Are Just Out for Fun.

https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/most-gamblers-are-just-out-fun

Hoorn, J., Nourot, P., Seales, B., Alward, K. (2015). Play at the Center of the Curriculum.

Pearson: Boston.

Jones, E. & Reynolds, G. (2011). The Play’s the Thing. Teachers College, Columbia

University: New York.