Editorial: Grab some local summer fun
Time to go and do!
Summer, which officially began Friday, feels delayed this year thanks to cool rainy days. But you can jumpstart your summer by unplugging your smartphone and plugging into the regional scene—boosting your attention span, boosting the local economy and boosting that sense of civic pride.
Americans are spending less and less time on lengthy activities, for better or worse. Here are three signs:
• The U.S. lost more than 200 golf courses in 2017. People don't necessarily want to spend four-plus hours in pursuit of elusive pars and birdies—every week, anyway. Many courses, including local ones in a saturated market, are struggling as a result.
• Major League Baseball attendance dropped below 70 million in 2018 for the first time in 15 years. Again, some people aren't willing to spend three hours at a professional ballpark. (The Twins and Brewers are doing well, however, so there's an incentive!)
• Fewer families are devoting an entire week in a week "at the lake," that Midwest tradition of togetherness. According to Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state has lost 317 resorts and 191 private campgrounds over the last 16 years. Looks at Wisconsin's "resorts for sale" and you see unscientific evidence that things are similar in the Badger State.
While cost is a factor in all three, people's perception of time and their unwillingness to disconnect from technology certainly emerge as significant influences. People demand wifi access 24/7, unhealthy as that is.
We encourage local residents to rediscover these pastimes and offer sone local "prescriptions":
• Head to the driving range, create a putting contest or simply play nine holes instead of 18. You'll get exercise, be outdoors and get a taste for a great game that you can play for a lifetime.
• Take in an amateur, Legion and youth league baseball or softball game. There's probably one tonight somewhere within a short drive. The quality of play might surprise you, the games are shorter and the stars are people you know.
• Head to a local celebration for a day if you can't get away for a week. Family time, food, fun and festivities abound—from Ellsworth's Cheese Curd Festival to Lake City Water Ski Days, from the Cannon Valley Fair to River City Days in Red Wing. You can even pull out your smartphone and take a photo at the selfie stand, if you must.
These options don't cost as much as the full-scale originals, so you can do all three and do them more than once.
Unwind, getaway from it all, relax and enjoy yourself before summer has gone and went.