On comparing the concepts of recreation and work
Now let’s consider recreation. Here, too, personal motivation differs from one in- dividual to another. Some people play to relax, while others play to prove themselves; professional athletes and gamblers play for money. The common element in any given type of recreation, therefore, will have to be a goal intrinsic to the activity itself—a goal analogous to the function of a given line of work. This is where the essential difference lies between work and recreation. In any type of work, the function is producing a good or service that has value in its own right, apart from the activity of producing it. In rec- reation, the intrinsic goal is not productive in that sense. The activity is an end in itself, something we do merely for the sake of doing it. This would be true even for a profes- sional athlete, who is being paid to play the game, to create an exciting spectacle that other people want to see. In that sense the athlete is working, not playing. But the game itself (football, golf, or whatever) is still a form of recreation because the goals internal to the game (getting a touchdown, sinking the putt) are not valuable in and of themselves. They have value only as elements in an activity that people value for its own sake.