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Desktop Sportsman - 07/14/10

"Gone Fishing".

Well, not actually but that's what the traditional sign in the shop window would say to indicate that the owner was enjoying some leisure time.

That's what this writer intends to do as well.

July is traditionally the slowest month on the sports calendar. That doesn't take away from the importance of a month's hard work for Pierce County's baseball teams, whether they are American Legion ballclubs or St. Croix Valley League teams, plus all the youth and recreational leagues.

And then there other sports and other individuals out there working hard and sweating in the hot sun or steamy gymnasium in camps or just on their own to improve themselves in their sport of choice.

But the lack of volume of sports, plus the fact the Herald has an intern this summer, Blaze Fugina, who is working hard at a number of different tasks, means I can take my first extended vacation since my honeymoon eight years ago.

I've always had down time, and more days off a week than in other weeks during the year. March is always a good month for this because the winter prep sports season is usually over by the first or second week, the spring sports haven't begun yet or are pushed back because of the weather. That leaves plenty of time to hit my easy chair and indulge in as much basketball or hockey during March Madness as one can handle.

This time around I don't plan on being in the office for just a couple of days.

This time I'm hanging up the sign.

"Gone Fishing".

Completing a book project, doing chores around the house, being involved with the Pepin County Fair (July 23-25 in Arkansaw), reading and relaxing in the inflated pool will fill the hours.

Then I'll be going away to Alaska for a week in August thanks to winning two free airline tickets in a raffle last year, returning home before the Pierce County Fair and the start of the prep sports season, the New Years if you will of the sports calendar.

I hope to use the time off not just to relax, or get projects done that I've put off due to being busy or my own inattentiveness but to renew the commitment I've made to doing the best job I can to cover sports and outdoors in Pierce County and to do better as well. Familiarity can breed contempt and the weary can to the sloppy. Vacations are the days, weeks, hours and minutes set aside not just to relax but to rejuvenate the spirit and for that I am grateful I have the hours and the Herald's blessing to do so for the next few weeks.

I am also thankful I have this opportunity because I know there are many who don't get extended vacations like this: farmers, soldiers, people who own their own business to name a few examples. They just can't hang the sign in the window. So I had better use this free time wisely and productively because time wasted is time lost forever.

So, until Aug. 11, I've "Gone Fishing".