Remember a few weeks ago, when it was actually nice outside, we thought spring was finally here and everyone was happy? Yeah, that was pretty fun, up until everyone was blindsided by a cold swing, conveniently timed for "spring" break. Everyone took the opportunity to come out of hibernation and enjoy the weather.
At this time of year, there really is nothing more relaxing than doing something — anything — outside.
Now it looks like this nice weather is finally going to stick around, and as much as it may hurt the studies, that means more time spent in leisure outside and less time pent up in a stuffy library. With all the possible outdoor distractions, it can be tough to choose how best to lower your GPA.
With that quandary in mind, let's take a look at some of the outdoor standbys that will surely consume much of the campus' collective free time.
Let's start out with what is arguably the trademark of all outdoor activities. In Wisconsin, any discussion of summer fun begins and ends with tailgating. Whether in the Miller Park parking lots before a big (or really any) game or an early fall morning along Lathrop Street before a Badger football game, nothing beats kicking back and relaxing with friends while the grill sizzles and the music plays.
But it is important to note that tailgating is not necessarily limited to major sporting events. No less fun is kicking it outside, listening to a baseball game on the radio while throwing out as many Major League references and ripping on your one out-of-town roommate's favorite team.
Living in a city such as Madison, space can be at a premium, making playing games that ordinarily take up a lot of room, such as baseball, difficult. Thankfully, city dwellers have Wiffle Ball to pick up the slack.
It's tough to beat banging Wiffle Balls off apartment complexes for doubles, strategically aiming base hits toward pizza boxes that double as bases and maneuvering among parked cars while chasing down fly balls. Music and food are two other musts. Bonus enjoyment points if the game ends with cheeseburgers taking the place of Wiffle Balls, being thrown and hit around the parking lot that conveniently doubled as a field.
For those with a little more expendable income, hitting the links at one of the area's many golf courses is a great option. A relaxing round spent swinging from your heels and wagering indiscriminately on the course is the best way to bond with some good friends while still getting your competitive juices flowing.
Or, if Titlists and Taylor-Mades aren't your thing and you would rather not shoot a birdie, you could even throw on your tie-dye, tune your iPod to some Phish, grab a few discs and hit the woods for a round of disc golf.
Probably the least stressful of any of the above leisure activities, bags' fun is derived from its simplicity. Virtually no athletic ability is required to play and just about everyone can get involved in some way, either by playing, watching or heckling. And because the game only requires the use of only one hand, which leaves the second hand open for the holding of either one's favorite food or beverage.
A classic way to enjoy the summer weather is to grab a Frisbee and head out for any number of activities. There's the standard game of catch, which is good for picnic-type relaxation. You could always gather up a few people for a game of ultimate in front of the Kohl Center (which has the possibility to escalate from casual fun to an intense battle that could draw blood).
For those of legal age, drag the table outside and set up the most collegiate of all outdoor activities. Competition is intense, players can rotate in and out throughout the day and everyone has a good time. An extra level of difficulty is added to the game when the outdoor elements such as wind, glare and temperature are introduced.
It is nearly impossible to go wrong with any of the above. Each has its own positives and drawbacks, and different situations can call for a different choice. Any way you cut it though, spring is a time best spent enjoying the weather while relieving the stress of the end of school.
Ben is a sophomore majoring in political science. He spent last weekend lounging around golfing, grilling out and playing Wiffle Ball. He can be reached at [email protected]