Outdoor Report: The outdoor gym 

March 21, 2020

Outdoor Report: The outdoor gym 

By Mark Platt, MCP/OCP outdoors writer.

The Watson Country Outdoor Report is a presentation of the Watson Auto Group, selling Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Fiat in Ludington, Manistee, Benzie and Rockford. “Every season there’s a reason to visit Watson Country. For more information, visit watsoncountry.com.

Recently, I found myself lying in an operating room for heart surgery. As a normal person, I am sure the surgeon and I have two very different perspectives on the word “routine.”  There is something about two chest tubes, a catheter, and walking with a walker that seemed the polar opposite of routine.  

I remember what I thought about the most while in the hospital.  It was all the opportunities where I passed. I remember lying there wishing I would have said “yes” to more opportunities that were not work-related.  Don’t get me wrong, I have a job that I love and am honored to hold. However, I have always struggled with the work-life balance and now I was paying the price.  As I laid there on the table, I remember my dad had done the same when he was 52 and here I was at 53 doing something similar. In a way, I felt like I had just been given a second chance.  My dad can run circles around most guys in there ‘50s and he is 75 and I am hoping the same for my future. BTW Hoffmaster State Park is his gym.

I started to feel fortunate and grateful.  My issue had been caught in a routine appointment.  It turned out to be more serious than originally expected.  I even ended back in the hospital due to a complication. It wasn’t anyone’s fault, (well maybe mine) as I overdid it during recovery. All of this has been taking place during the Covid 19 pandemic, which made me want out of the hospital even more than normal. The last day or two in the hospital “social distancing” became a phrase and I thought, “get me back to Hart, it will be easier to “social distance there than Grand Rapids.”  

Now, with all the restrictions, the great outdoors could be your gym, your education, a place to worship and get recentered.  The virus will pass and life will return back to normal. When it will pass is hard to tell. However, maybe the new normal could mean more family time spent in activities like camping, hiking, kayaking, tubing, or going to the beach. 

My college roommate, my dad, and my son have fished together on opening day for many years.  This year the opener is on my birthday and I have one goal and it is that day, that weekend, that opportunity and those memories.  Let’s do this dad!!

Mark Platt is an avid outdoorsman, especially in the world of fishing. At his day job (and night job, plus weekend job), he serves as superintendent of Hart Public School.

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