Wednesday, March 1, 2023

We Do Not Stop Playing

We Do Not Stop Playing1

Another in our series of AASE 10th Anniversary posts! Thank you Kris Franklin!





  • a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck.


  • eager or willing to do something new or challenging.

The first AASE conference was organized by an ad hoc committee of ASP professionals from around the country. We worked together to construct a conference representing an organization which did not yet exist. That meant we had no real requirements or guidelines, but also quite concretely that we had absolutely no resources. Nonetheless, the very first AASE conference in Las Vegas featured a hotel party in connecting hotel rooms with dozens of participants—seemingly more—playing board games together for hours. We could barely afford nametags, so what prompted us to spend maybe $100+ dollars to purchase candy and board games strewn around the hospitality suites we had negotiated for in our hotel and invite everyone at the conference to come and play?

In part this was an intentional nod to our longstanding history of fun and games at collegial gatherings (shoutout here to the team-building scavenger hunts at the St. Louis LSAC asp conference, and the jocular sit-in staged to protest its judging). There had also been a longstanding history of ASP folks using games in their teaching. Knot tying, Jeopardy, Taboo, Apples-to-Apples had all featured prominently in memorable presentations past by important figures in the founding of our discipline.

But the strains run deeper than mere surface callbacks.

ASP work can be about achievement, about equity, about (in)justice, about intellect, about ideas, yet in its soul it is always also about people. About building and celebrating a community of devoted educators. About getting to know one another, working in newfound teams, pushing each other to do our best, meeting each other’s families, seeing what made each other laugh and what made each other think. Crammed in those ridiculously overcrowded hotel rooms, we connected. We enfolded new members into already-existing friend groups. We reminded ourselves that amid the demands of our jobs we still needed to have fun. And fun often happened best together.

We were game. Eager to do something new. Or challenging.

Ten years on, we still are.


1. We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing. -Benjamin Franklin

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