When you look up the definition of play or ask play researchers for their definition, you’ll typically end up with a jumble of words that include “unstructured,” “fun,” “voluntary,” “creative,” “unpredictable,” “improvised” and “joyous.”
But play is much easier to define and describe with movement. These videos of Tiger Woods completely embody the defining elements of play.
The story behind the commercial is a classic. During a break in filming for a different Nike commercial, Woods started bouncing a golf ball on the face of his sand wedge. According to a story in Golf Digest, “One man on the set knew exactly what he saw. He saw genius at play.”
The Nike Golf director of sports marketing was contacted. He called a creative director and producer. They contacted the advertising agency. And you know the rest.
Play can be hard to define with only words. It’s a little easier to describe with a video. But the best way to understand play is to just do it.
Here’s the commercial: