Story last updated at 3/14/2017 - 4:36 pm
March is a great month. Maybe my favorite.
I grew up playing basketball so of course the NCAA Tournament is enrapturing but March is far from a month inside watching hoops. It’s the start of a new year. My clipboard goes away and the fly rod comes out. Coach Lund becomes Outdoor Lund.
As a kid, between school, pre-practice, practice and post-practice, most of the day was gone. It was a pretty exhausting routine, but once basketball ended, I missed it.
It’s not easy to have something like that end. All the hours of work and frustration just end and the next school day comes without some sort of afternoon practice.
Each day continues to have exactly 24 hours, but the way you’ve been filling them changes.
As a coach, you stay up most of the night trying to find the words to get the kids to do thankless jobs like boxing out or drawing a charge, or convincing the kid whose job it is to stand and clap (because they likely won’t get floor time) that it’s important. Then the season ends and…well, what now?
When I started my teaching career a colleague implored all us new teachers to have something outside of work that helped us reset and keep us sane. It makes total sense. Your life can’t be your job then empty hours.
So every March I get like this. I wonder what I’d do if I didn’t do what I do. If I didn’t coach basketball, fish or hunt. That is not to say, of course, that there are only three things worth doing, but what would I do with the time or worse, what if I did nothing?
I wish I were into cooking. Like, really into it. You know those people who have ridiculous recipes for smoked salmon and are totally into putting fish up for the winter? Yeah, not me. I make a mean halibut enchilada, but I’ll never be asked to cater a Southeast Alaska surf and turf feed.
I have friends who catch fish one day then spend the next day working on cutting, soaking, smoking and packing the catch then later enjoy taking extra time to prepare a feast. I get my fish vacuum-packed and frozen because I’d rather fish than spend all day processing it. When it comes time to cook, I thaw, prepare, grill and enjoy. Simple.
I do accept the fact that I would totally be a better Alaskan if I put more fish up in more creative ways.
It seems like a natural marriage for someone who loves to fish and to eat fish, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. At this point, I wonder if my Alaskan habits and routines are too solidified to be altered.
That’s probably just an excuse, though. It’s the same type of thing that keeps people inside and on the couch during spring in one of the most beautiful places on earth.
I guess I can always find more time, or at least be more efficient, when more hours off the clock are freed up.