One of the more interesting habits of active people is the yearning to get together on a weekly basis to do something that we all are passionate about. Whether you have your regularly scheduled foursome on the golf course, your doubles outings in tennis, or your fishing or shooting events, there is a need to have comraderie with your friends on a weekly basis. It takes a lot of work to schedule these outings with games, practices, family or work issues, but if you have the will to do it, you can find a way to schedule your fun with your friends. Take my groups above. My Saturday morning ski group is a prime example of guys who love to ski and get together. Some of these guys I have skied with for over 40 years and others come and go. But the core group can’t wait to get together and the E-Mails start flying around Wednesdays to make sure everyone is coming and to see who is out of town on a great ski trip. The other group above is my Saturday morning Mountain Bike group which also varies in participants but JR Ellis, Pete Hilton, Don Cunningham, and me are the core members who welcome everyone to join us. We lost Ralph Phillips to a move to North Carolina, but he is with us in spirit and we will ride with him in the near future. We get visitors from out of town, guys that come on occasion, and guys whom we meet on the trails who want to join a group of jokers who have fun and tell each other how good we were. Great times on Saturday mornings.
One good thing about scheduling the weekly Saturday outings is the accountability factor. Now each of these groups have participants who are real enthusiasts and can easily ski or ride by themselves. I, for one, like to ski by myself and ride by myself. But I know the value of participating with a group for more than just the comraderie while partipating in a mutually loved activity. You can learn a lot about your friends by spending time with them and make new friends in the same fashion. The participants in my groups need no motivation to get up and run, ride, or ski. It is part of their fabric and they have participated in these activities for so long that they really don’t need the accountability to make them show up. However, if you are a new person to a sport or you have been out of the sport for a while, you might benefit from joining a group that enjoys what you do or are interested in doing, and will hold you accountable if you don’t show. The group will bust you if you fail to make the outing and sometimes this is what a person needs to jump start their activity. Running groups are great for this and cycling groups promote this type of acountability as well. As Jack McArdle has said before, our North Park is the only place you have to apologize for running 5 miles. But if you are willing to schedule yourself and be accountable to a group, you will become better at the sport because you will benefit from the experience of some of those who are in that particular group. I have skied for over 50 years and I still learn something every year and a lot of it comes from skiing with my Saturday morning guys. We talk skiing, eat skiing, breathe, skiing and you can learn a lot just by listening and participating. Same thing with my riding group. We talk equipment, what works, what does not work, fitness, diet, new trails, and everything associated with the great activity of mountain biking. Young guys like to join us mostly because they like to hear the stories about the old days and in some instances, some of us old warhorses can still hang with the younger set which they find appealing. I believe it gives them some motivtion in that a lot of us are as old or older than their dads and are out skiing at warp speed, or riding with a high level of fitness over some demanding trails.
Whether you want to take up golf, tennis, skiing, cycling or running,or whatever, there are clubs and groups of individuals who participate on a regular basis that would be happy to take you under their wing and show you the ropes just like someone did for them. We do it all the time with our ski group and also with our mountain bike group. You can develop some amazing friends over the years if you choose to have a Saturday morning group. Our friend Craig Morris from the ski group could not be more of a loyal friend. My mother always said that to have a friend is to be a friend. You have to make an effort and Craig has done that for our group for a long, long time. We have been friends for over 40 years. Craig makes the effort and is one of the core guys in the ski group. He makes an effort to travel and ski with the guys and values his friendships. He would be an example of my mother’s axiom. The same can be said for my riding group. So………..lesson here is to take up an activity or join others who participate in an activity and try to have a Saturday morning group. They will make you laugh, hold you accountable on many fronts, and be there for you when you need them the most. They get to know you and the activity only solidifies what is important……friendship, and comraderie. Thanks for reading.