Wednesday, 19 December 2012 15:36

It may be cold, but winter sports are vital

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Getting outside during winter can seem like a bit of a palaver, but all the good hardy folks of the prairie provinces know that breathing fresh air is as healthy as downing a spinach salad. This is why our dear mother's have us yelling "hard" right after we learn hello, or tying up hockey skates is second nature to pulling on your underwear.

Curling or hockey, broom ball or skiing, it doesn't really matter. We all know outdoor sport regardless of which one, is vital to mental sanity, but each of wonder as we grace the arenas on the weekends if we are really just maintaining the insanity.

While my babes are still young, their little legs push chairs around on the bumpy local dam. They know about curling and sweep the floor in the kitchen with such ferocity to copy the Canadian heroes on TV. While it will be a few years before some sort of organized sport hits our household, we keep up the habit of spending some time outside everyday, whether it just being a jaunt around the yard to do chores or have some fun on one of the hills sledding.

One blustery Saturday morning, our new neighbors gave us a call and invited my girls to come sledding at their house. With nary a hill in sight, our ingenious chicken farmer neighbors took matters into their own hands, and Mr. Hans spent the morning creating their own hill for the children to sled on with the pay loader. I reminded my husband that these people were Dutch - if they want a hill, they just build a hill.

After the half hour spent suiting the girls up in their snowsuits, hauling their tiny selves out to the truck, (and) buckling them in, I nearly joined my three year old in tears when the truck wouldn't start. With my husband no where in sight to call upon, I did what any logical country mom would do - we got out the Polaris Ranger. With car seats buckled tight, the wind swept our faces as we made the trek over to our neighbor's house.

I thought I was smart! Dedicated! Logical! That is, until I started roaring onto their lane and I could feel my cheeks were turning red, and not because of the icy breeze. I don't know these people well and had only met the dear Mrs once, I can only imagine what they think of the area they had moved into where the neighbor's pop in on a side by side with babes buckled into car seats.

Exercise and fresh air often come at a cost in this neck of the woods; dressing times that last longer than playing times, frost bite running from the nose to the toes, and even looking a little silly by choosing a less conventional mode of transport when it's too cold to start the truck.  

Really though, I don't think I would choose it any other way.  
As much as I love the ease of, well, just about everything on a warm summer's day, there truly is something magical about being out in the cold and snow. Best of all though, is coming in to warm up by the fireplace and drinking hot chocolate together.

The cold weather might require more planning and effort to go out in, but it makes it easier to curl up under a warm blanket and know that we were better off for having been outside.

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