Sunday November 23, 2014

How best to wile away leisure hours


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: What is oiur favourite passtime?

By the book

When we were kicking around the idea of our favourite pastime as a topic for this space, my esteemed colleague Thom Barker esquire, quipped I wrote enough about fishing.

Yes, it would be easy I suppose to say fishing was my favourite pastime. It certainly takes up a lot of my free time, especially when you add in related areas such as collecting fish topical first day covers and postcards, and tying flies and making a few homemade lures.

But I wouldn’t say it’s my favourite pastime, any more than would I pick disc golf which I have a blast playing and try to get around to as often as a busy summer allows.

And there are of course boardgames. I love crokinole and have for decades.

Ditto cribbage, and I can add Camelot, Hive, Arimaa, and a handful of miniature games such as MERCs and Dreadball to the list. All are games I get far too little time to explore, and since they require at least one other to play, it’s not always practical as a pastime since jiving schedules is never an easy thing.

So it comes down to reading as my favoured pastime. You can read a good book just about anywhere, and I have.

And over the years I have done just that, from deep under the covers when I’ve been sick, to when I have been in the bathtub, to the shore of a lake, to tearing through a chapter over breakfast coffee.

In the process a good book takes me away from the humdrum world we sometimes live in. It takes me to places of mystery and wonder through the eyes of a varied group of writers from Zane Gray to J.R.R. Tolkien to Margaret Atwood to Farley Mowat and a few hundreds more.

It has been that way from the earliest fairy tales told by my grandma, to the Luke Short western I am currently reading, and I will remain a reader until the eyes fade.

- Calvin Daniels

Never just one

My esteemed colleague Calvin Daniels recently posed me the question: What is your favourite pastime?

And quite frankly it stumped me.

But that’s because I almost always have a hard time picking just one thing, no matter what it is. Favourite song? I have five.

Place I’d most like to visit? Try several places.

Favourite pastime? You guessed it, there are a few.

Let’s start off with sports in general, because, you know,  I’m sooo unpredictable here.

I absolutely love sports. I can watch, play, read about or discuss sports for hours, days, years or, most likely, lifetimes.

Nothing makes me happier than sporting events, which is mainly why I went to university to become a sports journalist (hey, writing about and watching sports for a living? Living the dream).

The second thing on this list of three is reading.

I adore sitting down with a good book (not THE good book of course, although I have read it cover to cover) and poring over the words on the pages, immersing myself in the story.

For me, reading is a way to escape the hard times in life, meaning after the Blue Jays lose again and I need a pick-me-up after being broken hearted again… A pox on you, Blue Jays.

The third and final thing on the list is something that might seem a little odd at first.

I take a great deal of satisfaction from doing research. Yeah, you read that correctly. Research.

If I see something on television that piques my interest I’ll go to the library or, more often, the computer, and search for whatever it is in order to gain as much knowledge about it as possible.

So to wrap it up, my favourite pastimes, in order, are: Sports, followed closely by reading and research.

- Randy Brenzen



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