It’s break time at school and everyone is excited, because “It’s Ring Play Time”. I remember those days like it was yesterday. Growing up as a child in the 80’s in The Bahamas, brings back memories of fun, laughter, innocence and courageousness. We were young but confident and spirited. “Look At Johnny Walker”, “Show Me Your Motion” and “I Went Up On a Hill” are just a few of the many ring play songs we would sing. These were all lyrics that were created from real life events and stories of our childhood. Ones that our forefathers and those before them passed on through generations. There was always a strong sense of community and togetherness and ring play always brought all the children in the community together.
One of my fondest memories of ring play was in the 1st grade and our entire class gathered outside to play and sing songs. Soon we were joined by the other grades and what turned out to be a small circle of friends playing was the entire primary school joining in. We formed groups of 20, loudly and happily playing and dancing to the ring play songs. Each song had its own dance routine and there was always someone trying to ‘outdo’ the other. Children were children, with not a care in the world and the freedom to explore and be unapologetically creative in every sense of the word.
Fast forward 30 years and the songs have been adapted to echo the challenges of everyday life. Children are still happy, but cautious. Break time is heavily supervised and boundaries set. Ring play time has been replaced with hip hop music, R’n’b and Reggae; not to mention the latest gadgets. These are certainly changes influenced by our modern times. Technology has interrupted this cycle of play and impacted our everyday lives. One can argue that it has stripped the innocence of our children and created a culture of zombies. Is it too late for ring play?