Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Hockey Life: Best time of the year

When you live in Florida, summer may not be your favorite time of the year. It's hot, with daily highs in the 90s from May to November. It's muggy, making air conditioning a necessity, not a luxury. And afternoons, especially where we live, mean thunderstorms.

To me, though, summer means something else. It's a time for Colin's break from school. That means we get to spend more time together.

During the school year, our schedules leave little time to hang out, mostly my midweek days off and weekend mornings. So, when summer vacation rolls around, it's our time to catch up, hang out and create memories.

This summer, we hope, will be no different. Even though we aren't planning a major road trip, like we did last summer, we still have a pretty full agenda.

Our main goal this summer is to become beach bums. We've been down here seven years now and really haven't taken advantage of our coastal location. So, we're hoping to visit at least one beach a week, either doing a little fishing, flying some kites or looking for shells. And, yes, we'll use plenty of SPF 50 sunscreen.

Once again, baseball will be on our to-do list. And, like past summers, we'll focus more on minor-league baseball, trying to watch games at four Florida State League ballparks within an hour's drive. Tickets are much cheaper, as are the food and concessions. Watching kids still chasing their dreams helps reinforce a lesson, too.

Unlike summers past, we'll embark on a milkshake tour. Not so much for me, but for Colin. We've found our three favorite places for pizza, so it was time to move on and try something new. So far, he has tried Steak 'n Shake. Cold Stone Creamery and Sonic are next on the list. If you have any suggestions, please, don't hesitate to share.

Of course, and at his request, there will be some hockey in his future. Beyond his "hockey lab" out back, he'll also take part in skating sessions, clinics and a big-name camp. Really, did you expect anything else? It's all a part of, as it always is, spending quality time together.

That's why I like summer.

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