The Tribe of Play | Susan Lambriks



Susan Lambriks

Would love to introduce Susan Lambriks in our Get in Touch Blog.

Susan is working in the TU/e Sports Center (SSC). She and her colleague Lara Hofstra are actively involved in the SSC project to welcome international spouses in the colorful world of the SSC. Both are passionate about the broad variety of sports any member might enjoy in the beautifully equipped  center, each day of the week.

Recently, our Get in Touch group has enjoyed a wonderful guided tour, which was awesome en informative. We’ll keep being involved as partner in this appealing project. Therefore I would love to give floor to Susan and her captivating story. Enjoy!


Ding-dong. [Door opens]. “Hey! Can you come out and play?”

This was the slogan of my childhood. Growing up in the Mojave Desert suburbs of Los Angeles in the ‘90’s, the kids on bicycles, skateboards and light-up sneakers ruled the streets.

We would spend hours in the hot dust imagining, climbing, chasing and yelling, purely for the happiness of being together.

dscn2235There was a tribal sense of community amongst the kids. My house was your house, my song was your song, my joy was your joy. Sometimes a new kid would move to our neighborhood. That “weird” new kid could run the fastest and knew games that we didn’t. She became part of our band of wildlings because we all wanted to do the same thing- to play- and was an outsider no longer.

As adults, we seem to collectively (temporarily) lose this ability to play, and moreover, to play together. What happened to our tribe? We fell in love, wiped the grime off our faces and pretended to be adult by getting an education, a job and a rental contract. We lost sight of the thing that connected us so easily as children, the thing that juvenile mammals across species instinctively do together, the thing that is as good for our bodies as it is for our minds… Let’s get back to playing! Let’s get back to a sense of real unity that doesn’t require pleasantries or endless rounds of tea, where the common language is laughter, sweat and music.

We’ve known for a long time that exercise releases endorphins. Recent research at Oxford University’s Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology has pointed to the special connection between group exercise and an even greater positive hormonal response when compared to solitary exercise. Researchers suspect that this strong endorphin release underpins the sense of collective belonging, similar to the effect laughing together, participating in rituals or dancing with a partner. Coordinated, synchronized physical activity is more than social and motivational, it is part of our happiness DNA.

When I moved to Eindhoven, seeking out a group that I felt like I belonged to seemed like an impossible task- a complex game that I didn’t know the rules to, or like navigating a maze of social interaction with a blindfold on. I found my tribe again through group exercise. Quickly I got to know the instructors, my fellow sweaty participants and the microcosm of strange and charming characters inside the gym. I started to sense that feeling that I had when I was a dusty kid running the streets- the joy of movement, and the ease of being engaged together in physical activity, which, for me, always transcends borders, languages and backgrounds.

Rediscover how to play together and unlock a world community. What are you waiting for? Get your play shoes on!



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