HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

May 21, 2007

Searching for summertime activities

By Jesse Menden

I never thought I would say this, but it may be a long summer. Well, at least not as fulfilling as years past.

Just like every other red-blooded Minnesotan, much of my summer is occupied by Twins baseball. I wake up every morning and read the game recaps and study the boxscores. In the afternoon, I listen to Twins talk on the radio, and peruse baseball web sites. At night, my ear is glued to the radio.

But lately, the Twins have been so uncompetitve, that it hurts my ears to hear Jon Gordon say the Twins made another mistake on the basepaths, or that the third baseman is batting .235 with no homeruns.

I can’t even look at the boxscore for fear that I might go cross-eyed while trying to sort through all of the zeros under the hits and runs columns.

So, in preparation for another glorious Minnesota summer, I thought it would be best to come up with a list of things to occupy my time that would be normally filled by the Twins. None of the things I came up with are that great, and all seem to have a flaw, unlike baseball.

To cover my time in the mornings, it might be nice to wake up and do a little light jogging. I have never been much of a runner; to be honest, I avoid it like a Keanu Reeves movie. Most mornings I have to take a break while walking up the stairs, so maybe a little exercise would be a good idea.

If I can afford it, maybe I will golf a little more. There are many challenging golf courses around this area, and quite a few that are affordable. The problem is I started golfing when Zubas were cool, and I can count the number of pars I’ve scored in my life without taking off my shoes and socks.

Every golfer could use a few more swings, and maybe a round or two a week will cure my lifelong slice.

Unfortunately, actually fortunately in this case, work will take up most of my afternoons. The only adjustment to make is switching from listening to talk radio, to using ear plugs to drown out the office chatter.

But that still leaves the weekend. I guess that would be a good time to do chores like clean my apartment, wash the remaining metal on the car, or take the roommate’s dogs out for a walk. But all of that sounds like just as much work as listening to the Twins.

Perhaps I could do a little more fishing. To be honest, I haven’t been out too many times in the past few years. But I am making an earnest effort so far this year. I got out on the lake at 6 a.m. on the opener, and came back with nothing more than the minnows I brought out with me.

Another thing that has to do with some luck, horse racing, will occupy some of my afternoons. There is nothing like heading out to the track to kill a couple of hours. The only problem is my recent luck has been as cold as International Falls in January. Hopefully, that will turn around.

Nights will be tricky. There is nothing like sitting out on the porch while listening to the Twins and drinking a pop. But they have played so bad lately, I’m not sure I can bring myself to listen, if it continues.

While thinking of things to do, one idea jumped out at me. Perhaps I could actually start cooking some food at night, rather than popping open a can. That should take some time.

Beef stew and macaroni and cheese will always be classics and a part of my diet, but it’s time to get away from that a little. I could start preparing things that don’t require a microwave. And while I’m at it, I could cook up some, gasp, vegetables.

As for the rest of the night, I could rent DVDs of the Sopranos.

In all reality, I hope I don’t have to do any of these things. I would much rather sit around and fill my brain with baseball. Unlike the things listed above, Minnesota summers and baseball are the only two things that go together perfectly.