Boogie with the Noogie: Off-Season Summertime Fun

Harry How

We have entered the depths of the off-season Wilderness, and keeping yourself occupied may be a bit difficult while we await the start of a new hockey season. Fortunately, we are here to help alleviate any boredom you may experience.

Hockey is about 3 months away from getting back to action. That is a lot of free time Wilderness. What is one to do with themselves during the slow portion of the off-season when there is no hockey to speak of? Fret not Wilderness! I've got a few idea's to bounce off you with some great summertime fun activities. This list is by no means all-encompassing, please feel free to comment with your best summertime 'funtivities' (I just made up that word).

Go to the Lake

What better way to celebrate a summer in Minnesota than to spend some time on one of our many lakes or rivers? Head to the beach for a dip in the lake and get yourself that sunburn you've always wanted. Or get out there on the boat or pontoon, take a rip around the lake on a jet-ski, or bring a tube and a tow rope to increase your enjoyment of this boating time. If the rush of zipping around the lake getting towed behind a boat on an inflatable tube is too much for you, just relax. Go out to the garage, dig up the old fishing rod and tackle box (these come standard in any garage in Minnesota I'm told) and go get yourself that trophy walleye. You would be hard pressed to go to a lake in Minnesota and not have a good time.

Camping

Ah, the great outdoors! Not just a great John Candy and Dan Aykroyd movie anymore! Nothing says enjoying the outdoors quite like immersing yourself in all of nature's wonders. From hiking the trails during the day, to sitting around a campfire at night swapping stories and making s'mores. Of course, there is nothing better about camping than putting away the mobile connection in your pocket for a few days and completely disconnecting from society.

Take up a Hobby

You can pick up a needle and some thread and make just about anything you like. Patch up that hole in your favorite pair of pants, sew a few more patches on your bikers jacket, or even make a pair of Zubaz (remember those kids?). Sewing not your bag? No problem! Start yourself a collection. Here is where you have to do some thinking of your own, as I could not possibly tell you what you should collect. People have all sorts of weird collections, like my sister for instance collects bits of string. Bits of string can create a lovely and colorful collection of threads which will inevitably become a tangled mess in which case you will have something else to occupy your time. It's called a win-win folks, embrace it!

Drinking

Not exactly the most family friendly option on the list, but enjoying a few adult pops with some friends can be a great way to get your mind off the lack of hockey going on in the world. Of course this option is not without its drawbacks. There is always the hangover to worry about, which will get your mind off hockey but you will be miserable. Of course this option can like most things cost you lots of money. Now if your fortunate enough to have the kind of disposable income to enjoy a beverage on a regular basis you will at some point find yourself wondering what else you could be spending your money on. Be aware however, if not kept in check, drinking to excess will also give you the appearance and smell of a hobo which nobody wants to see, believe me.

Learn a Language

In what might be the most satisfying use of your time if you're a brain, learning a new language can be an exciting foray into a new world and a new culture. You can find books for just about any language on the planet at any bookstore or online. Once again if money is of little concern to you, the Rosetta Stone I've heard is a great tool to learning a new language. I know at times at least my twitter feed would get a lot clearer if I learned the Finnish language.

Play with your Kids

Playing with kids is probably the easiest thing to do, especially if you actually have kids of your own. Of course if you do not have kids you will have to borrow some, which shouldn't be a problem as any sane parent would jump at the opportunity to get away for a while if you were to offer some of your time. If you will be dealing with boys, building a racetrack or playing with dinosaurs are 2 great options to occupy some time this summer. With girls, pimping out the Barbie house, playing dress up or playing with ponies seem to be the popular choices (at least around my house this is true). Remember, every kid is different, and their imagination can take you to worlds you have long forgotten about. So don't feel like you need to hold to the standards of matchbox cars and Barbie dolls, a child's creativity should not to be questioned.

Read a Book

Sit back in your favorite chair, possibly out on the patio, and dive head-first into a book. You will be magically whisked away into a land of mystery and intrigue. This is a great way to entertain yourself, and keep your brain working during the dog days of summer. With a seemingly endless supply or reading material at your finger tips, there should be no problem finding that perfect sci-fi novel, murder mystery or choose your own adventure books to satisfy your personal reading needs. You may also find yourself reading a hockey book, and there are a few good ones out there to choose from like ‘Frozen Memories: Celebrating a Century of Minnesota Hockey' by Ross Bernstein. While reading about hockey may not be the best way to get hockey off the brain, you will find a greater appreciation for the game, especially when reading a hockey book with some historical value to it.

Write a Book

If you enjoy being magically whisked away to a land of mystery and intrigue, why not create your own land of mystery and intrigue? Writing a book while frustrating at times, can be a satisfying use of ones time during the slow news cycle of the off-season. The only limit in writing your own novel is your own imagination. Idea's are all around you folks, grab one and run with it.

Play a Sport

The beautiful summer weather provides you with the opportunity to play just about any sport not requiring ice or snow. It's a beautiful time of year for a pick of game of softball with friends, maybe some sand volleyball (call me, I have a great serve), or a leisurely game of golf. I'd say you could play basketball as well, but that's just silly and I would never suggest something to you as a punishment. If you're looking for something a little less stressful, give the glorious sport of Frisbee golf a try. Head out to your local Air Traffic (or your area's equivalent), pick up a couple of discs and find your local disc golf course, they are literally everywhere these days and most are free to use.

Start/Finish a Project

With all your free time these days, you really have no excuse to not finish up or start that project around your home. That fence isn't going to paint itself you know, and the wife has been pestering you to build that dog kennel for long enough don't you think? Plus that driveway is looking pretty grim, it may be about time to resurface that thing before it becomes unrecognizable. Fact of the matter is, you have a massive pile of projects you have been putting off (procrastinator), and its about time something gets done around here.

Take a Vacation

Yes, a vacation folks! Your one-stop (or many stops?) shop to do just about everything I already have mentioned, but likely for an increased cost, plus the expense of travel itself. It is good to get out of Dodge for a bit once in a while. Besides, you're getting tired of staring out your windows at the same scene every day now anyways. I will not however recommend you drive across Nebraska or the Dakota's. That is torture, plain and simple. Avoid road trips through those states at all costs. Otherwise, the world is your oyster folks, enjoy it to its fullest.

You see Wilderness? We have plenty we can do to occupy our lives during the off-season. With summer in full swing, you should find yourself with no shortage of indoor/outdoor activities to keep your mind at ease while we await the start of the 2013-2014 NHL Season. Hockey season is about 3 months away which isn't an endless stretch of time by any means, but your time is still limited before winters sweet embrace returns you to your regularly scheduled parka.

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