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'Adult recess' is all the rage for grown-ups giddy to escape the drudgery of post-childhood life


'Do you remember the feeling you had as a child from the recess bell?'

Liz Condo/Raleigh News & Observer/MCT via Getty Images

Forget Bunco competitions and Bingo — grown-ups looking to unplug from the bills, battles, and flat-out bad days of post-childhood life now can turn to "adult recess," the Wall Street Journal reported.

The paper noted that in Seattle's Cal Anderson Park, about 1,000 men and women attended an adult recess on a recent Saturday — and on tap were throwback games of kickball, hopscotch, and tetherball, as well as distinctly non-adult menu items such as chicken nuggets and grilled cheese sandwiches.

"I thought back to the last time when I really had fun, and it was these games when I was a kid," Clay Lundquist — managing director of Center Stage Entertainment Marketing, which produced the recess — told the Journal.

Other big turnouts

Officials with the city of Greensboro, N.C., sponsored an adult recess at a local park in July and featured games such as Twister, four square, and tetherball, the paper said.

And about 600 people showed up, the Journal noted.

The central Indiana cities of Kokomo and Tipton also have embraced adult recess — with the game of cornhole the main attraction — and an online flier for the event asked: "Do you remember the feeling you had as a child from the recess bell?" the paper reported.

But it's not all athletic stuff: A library branch in Akron, Ohio, last year began hosting a monthly adult recess for up to 30 participants who played with Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs, Silly Putty, and Play-Doh, the Journal said, adding that recently a group of retirees played jacks and Yahtzee with oversize foam dice.

"Oh my gosh, there was so much laughter," Tonya Gardella, manager of the Akron-Summit County Public Library branch, told the paper. "I honestly feel like you are using a different part of your brain — the part for having fun."

'I'm not 12 anymore'

And as for adults who do engage in the physical games?

Jennifer Hance, community engagement director for Greensboro's parks department, told the Journal she woke up sore the morning after navigating through a bounce house obstacle course during the city's adult recess extravaganza.

"You go in and think, 'I can do this,' but I'm not 12 anymore," she added to the paper.

Serious fun

In 2010, Oliver Chang founded a Play Recess league in San Francisco featuring teams that compete in an eight-week season over friendly games of kickball, volleyball, and soccer, along with other activities, the Journal said.

It got popular, too, the paper said, with the league growing from 50 members to 500, with a per-player fee of $74.

"During our scavenger hunt, we fit five people in a port-a-potty, and it almost tipped over," 27-year-old Conor Eusterman, an account executive, told the paper.

More from the Journal:

On a recent midweek afternoon, Mr. Chang laid out red and yellow cones on a field at Golden Gate Park as an assistant brought in two bagfuls of rubber dodgeballs for a tournament between eight teams. He had emailed the teams rules, such as "captains shall roshambo to determine sides." (Roshambo, for anyone who forgot from elementary school, is rock-paper-scissors.)

Surrounded by players in color-coded team T-shirts, he went over do's and don'ts. "Don't get the ball and shovel it in someone's face — won't count," Mr. Chang said of a rule that players must take three steps back after grabbing the ball at the center line at the start of play.

After a count by Mr. Chang of "3-2-1, Dodgeball!" the blue-shirted "Truly Unruly" squared off in the first of seven games against the green-shirted "Flying Squirtles," hurling balls in all directions. The Squirtles succumbed in just 45 seconds, after all six players including Ms. Fazio were eliminated from the field either by being hit with one of the six balls in play or having an opposing player catch one of their throws.

But after the competition, the dodgeball players didn't take the kids' stuff any further: They headed to a bar instead of a sitting in a classroom in front of a blackboard, the paper said.

Guess adulting ain't all drudgery.

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