Winter is a time of dread in the Pacific Northwest. The general region does not often see snow in the winter time; just rain, rain, and heavy rain. Every so often, it gets cold enough to snow but the rain puddles merely freeze over and roads get icy. Too often, people stay indoors due to fear of ice as you can slip and split your skull in two. While that example might be a bit extreme, it is such fear that allows Washingtonians live symbiotically with the rain but dread the ice.
The fear is instilled into the minds of children and adults who would normally go outside for a game of touch football or tag. It has been proven that staying indoors all winter long, eating potato chips and playing Xbox might lead to unhealthy weight gain. If you feel like you must go out and shoot some hoops or play some tennis in the frozen wonderland, then by all means, be creative.
Here are some ways to keep the fun in icy sports.
Basketball: Playing basketball on an icy court can be much more thrilling than playing it on a dry court. The downside is that some people now prefer to pass more and dribble less. Impress your friends by controlling that ball on the ice in such a manner that would put Disney on Ice to shame. Take advantage of the lessened friction to slide pass the opposing defense and to the hoop for easy layups. Take note that the rule of sticking the “Yao Ming” of your team by the hoop for rebounds remains unchanged. But the good news is big people, less maneuverable in regular climate conditions, are exceptionally clumsy on ice. Don’t expect Yao to charge you.
Baseball: By all cardiovascular means, baseball is as much of a sport as golf is. Sure, it requires skill and expertise but players are rarely short of breath unless someone actually hits the darn ball. Arguably, many can say baseball on ice is more fun that it is in regular conditions. Take note, however, the ice is on grass; meaning more foot and ground friction and less hilarity. But the finesse ice baseball player knows not to start chuckling until someone is running towards a base. You can figure out the rest.
Hockey: If there is anything more fun than ice hockey, it would have to be ice hockey in the streets. In Harlem, they play street ball. In L.A., they play stick ball. It is only safe to assume that somewhere in Canada and perhaps even in Washington, the streets get icy enough to bring the game from the lake to the streets. The danger of icy road hockey is, ironically, dry spots. Whereas common sense dictates in most icy road sports, you fall when you hit a patch of ice. In street hockey, you fall when you hit a patch of dry ground. This being said, why not write your name in front of the goal so that the puck falls short?
Dodge Ball: This is kind of a no brainer; especially if you like America’s Funniest Home Videos.
Let us always remember a very important lesson that all of our mothers have taught us: safety first. After all, there is always a chance someone can slip on the ice and split their skull in two. Some ways to keep the field of competition safe is to always have first aid; particularly wrapping bandages and sedation medicine.
Always be aware of how you dress for outdoor sports in the cold. Wear plenty to layers and gloves are a must. Face protection is also a lot more invaluable than one might imagine. If only contenders were not cheap and chose to purchase mouth pieces, dentists would not be in such high demand.
Lastly, for some, playing an icy sport might not be the best option for them to socially bond with others while exercising. We must acknowledge that people are not perfectly coordinated and are prone to injuring themselves when trying new things. So before grabbing a scarf and heading outside, try a few practice shots in the bathtub first.