Thursday, 20 February 2014

Couch Surfing

I don’t know about you but I have like millions of others been spending time watching the Olympic coverage on T.V. and reading some of the coverage in the paper. There are a few things run through my mind as I watch them; the first is that a great opportunity is being missed by all those organizations, including government to promote getting fit, to show case the incredible number of activities that one can participate in outdoors even in winter. Instead the most heavily promoted items seem to be 1600 calorie fast food meals or another ad that ran as I write this for chicken, beer and sport with sport being supplied by someone thousands of miles away just as in the fast food commercial. Sixteen hundred coincidentally is just short of the number of calories required by many people for the entire day especially when it is spent couch surfing watching others actually getting out there doing.  

The closest that I've seen an ad come to doing so to this point is one that promoted a web site that shows young people how to connect with Olympic training facilities. This only relates to that small percentage of the population that is already involved in sport has set the Olympics as a goal and just does not know where to go for direction. It does nothing to build a passion in anyone or encourage any new participants.
 If we do not find a way to get people involved in activities that involves more than couch surfing we will end up with a society operating their computers from their hospital beds.

As you watch the Olympics there are many things being promoted as there is during any show, cars, investment plans and the like does anyone else find it amusing to watch athletes many of whom are struggling to make ends meet and draining the family coffers to pursue their dreams being used to promote things they cannot afford.  It helps to prove that the purpose of television is simply to deliver an audience to the advertisers, and on nights when the other networks seem to have given up and are filling the air with reruns they know they have the attention of a large portion of the TV viewing public.

As an aside to the above I know there are those in the higher profile sports who are making a living at what they do and some a very good living, it is why we now see athletes in their thirties still competing, in years past they would have had to go find a job after that one shot they had at their dream. Being able to pursue your passion as a career choice for more than a few years, is not a bad thing, many of them only getting better at their chosen sport. 

Other than the usual whine from those who did not win these are the things that have caught my attention during the games.

Get outside, move, participate, enjoy, it is a big beautiful world explore it from someplace other than your couch.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

It's Official

I know it has been a long winter for all of us including many of you who do not often experience much of this cold stuff, and seldom if ever experience that fluffy, often slushy white stuff. Those of us who see snow and cold every year to one degree or another are experiencing a winter unlike any we have had in the last twenty years both in the amount of snow and low temperatures.  Neither of those things is what brought home the knowledge that the winter has been too long more than this afternoon.
 I was heading home driving along the shore of the St.Clair River, my preferred but not always most direct route home, when I noticed that there is a narrow swath of open water along the shore that extends far enough that it would make for a nice paddle. The next thing that I knew I was slogging through the snow down to the banks of the river to do some scouting and right where I thought there might be one there it was that spot where without any gymnastics a body, even one not as nimble as it once was could get into a kayak without getting its feet wet.

The degree of desperation that is contained in the preceding action is made clearer by the following, I have never believed that going out to paddle in conditions where the water is 9/10 ice covered and is according to the weather sites a bone chilling 32.4 degrees Fahrenheit. I have by the way taken an unintentional dip in the river in these conditions it is not an experience you forget. There is enough that can go wrong on even the best days, without adding these extra elements into the equation, elements which only stack the odds against you should anything go wrong. The conditions result in the addition of another consideration into the equation, there will be no one else to lend a hand should the unthinkable happen so here I sit on the couch, and yet I am still thinking about that spot on the shore.

There is one other drawback to the launch that has nothing to do with weather, it is swans! That may seem an odd consideration but a number of swans have made the area their home this winter. If you think this is a contrived excuse then you have obviously never had the adrenaline releasing, heart pounding experience of being chased across the water by a cranky, mean and surprisingly quick bundle of white feathers with a nasty beak. This realization of how quick, and cranky they can be occurs while you are paddling backwards as fast as you ever have in your life because there is no time to turn around and your just hoping that your paddling partner can move as fast backwards as fast as you can.

All the above being stated I am still here on the couch, thinking about that launch spot, knowing it is not going to happen, at least not today. It is time to go get some exercise so I will be ready when the time comes and tomorrow we will get out but will take advantage of the holiday and go play in the snow.