Thursday November 27, 2014

Pondering ideal summer destinations


View from the Cheap Seats is kind of an extension of the newsroom. Whenever our three regular reporters, Calvin Daniels, Thom Barker and Randy Brenzen are in the building together, it is frequently a site of heated debate. This week: Where would you most like to spend a summer vacation?

Home body

In the summer, I can’t think of any place I’d rather be than right here in Saskatchewan.

Not coincidentally, since we moved here in 2007, our summer vacations have all been spent pretty close to, if not at, home.

We’ve camped at some of the estimated 10,000 lakes, we’ve toured the Southwest a couple of times—a trip every Saskatchewanian should make at some point in their life.

The first couple of years we were in the province, we lived in a house on the point at B-Say-Tah on Echo Lake. Why go anywhere?

This spring, we built ourselves an oasis in our own backyard. For me, summer vacation is all about relaxation. It’s hard to beat sitting out on my own deck with a stack of casual summer reading and cracking a few cold ones.

That being said, there are a couple of destinations that come to mind. I’ve had the privilege of working in the Northwest Territories and northern Labrador during the peak of summer. There is something truly magical about the far North that beckons.

And one of these years, I am going to have to get over to Scotland where my aunt and uncle have a place spitting distance from the old course at St. Andrews.

Honestly, I never thought I would see the day that I would not feel the need to pack every single possible amount of activity into my time off only to arrive feeling like I needed a vacation from my vacation.

I guess maybe I got that out of my system; it just does not appeal anymore.

Now, winter vacation is another story altogether.

- Thom Barker

Fish, ball and disc

It’s summer and that leaves the door pretty wide open in terms of where one might go for a perfect summer holiday.

For me, the first is any northern fly-in fishing lodge where there are monster lake trout, gigantic northern pike, and a side trip to a spot where the grayling course to a fly. Few trips would be any more exciting in my world.

Then there is the baseball pilgrimage of my dreams. It once was a four-stop journey, since reduced to three since the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown no longer interests me. The voter arrogance to keep the likes of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens out of the hall has made it irrelevant in my mind.

So the trip would take me first to Wrigley Field in Chicago, the grandest old park remaining in the National League, then south to an Iowa corn field where my favourite movie of all time ‘Field of Dreams’ was shot, and then over to the grandest old American League stadium; Fenway Park.

The final trip choice would be much closer to home, and a bit more diverse in the activities. Give me a week in Winnipeg during that city’s notable folk festival. The music would be outstanding.

I would then take a side trip for a day of guided catfishing in the Red River. To round things out, I would make a daily stop at one of a handful of disc golf courses in the ‘Peg.

- Calvin Daniels

Sport trifecta

Sports are essentially my life, so you can pretty much bet that wherever I go sports will play a role. However, it’s still far too difficult to narrow it down past a final three.

My top three destinations of where to travel, in no particular order, would have to be Jamaica. No, not for the sand covered beaches or the clear, blue ocean. Nor would it be to engage in any Rastafarian practices.

It would be to watch the ISSA boys and girls Track and Field Championships, which is regarded as the biggest track and field event in the world.

Think about it. Jamaica produces some of the best track athletes in the world. But they have to start somewhere and Champs is where they get their start. Before Usain Bolt was THE Usain Bolt, Pride of Jamaica, he was Usain Bolt, medal hopeful for William Knibb Memorial High School.

The second place on the list is Japan. Most go to Japan to experience the culture and technology of one of the world’s most powerful countries. However I would go to Japan for something I truly love: baseball. More specifically, Spring Koshien, the annual high school invitational baseball tournament that boasts the best Japanese baseball players before they turn pro.

And baseball in Japan is not the same as it is here or in the US. It’s… More pure, more down to earth. It has the same goals of course, but the way they go about it is far more respectful and is something that anyone who enjoys the sport should experience.

The third and final spot on this list actually has nothing to do with sports but everything to do with my other passion, wildlife. Australia makes the list because every animal there has the ability to kill you, and the danger of the animals, for some reason, is something that is alluring to me.

From the diminutive blue-ringed octopus (12-20cm in size) to the 18-foot Great White Sharks, the ocean around Australia is deadly. The land animals are equally as dangerous as Australia has six of the top 10 most venomous snakes, venomous spiders, giant crocodiles the poisonous platypus (yes, that’s right) and the only bird to have chalked up a human kill, the Cassowary.

So if I ever end up visiting Australia, expect Yorkton This Week to be looking for a new sports guy.

- Randy Brenzen



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