Gillispie: Winter can be fun, but it has limits


Maybe it’s my age, which isn’t as young as my mind believes most days, or maybe it’s because I have a young daughter that shares some of my interests, but winter can be quite enjoyable.

However, it can also be brutal. As a fan of colder weather, I have my limits. Temperatures in single digits or in the negative aren’t fun for anyone, ever.

It’s hard to pinpoint when I stopped liking hot weather and started enjoying cooler temperatures more, but I’m guessing sometimes in my late 20s or 30s. It probably happened once I got out of shape from my college running days and started working on my “dad bod.”

During the last decade, driving anywhere in the summer or sitting outside becomes uncomfortable after too long. I sweat a lot, and it’s not fun. My body starts to feel overheated, and it becomes time for me to get inside and enjoy the air conditioning.

It’s a drastic change from my childhood when I was often outside, often playing sports – usually by myself. I had a Hall of Fame NBA and NFL career in my youth. I ran on gravel roads in the summer. I loved being outside all year.

Those days are now long gone. Give me 65-75 degree weather all day, every day. San Diego might be my retirement locale one day. Or maybe Mackinaw Island in the summer and San Diego for eight months of the year.

One problem with that plan – I love snow! Love it! There is something magical about watching snow fall and cover our world. It’s peaceful and beautiful.

My 9-year-old daughter shares this love. During the big snowstorm last Tuesday, she wanted to go outside and play in the snow. To her disappointment, I had a newspaper to put together. So, she went outside alone for over an hour and played to her heart’s delight.

Once the paper was done, we headed outside together. Dozens of snowballs were flying across our yard, snow angels were made and I pushed her down a small hill in our front yard. It was a magical time.

It brought me back to a time when I was young and loved sledding down the hill of my childhood home. When I got older, I enjoyed “Signal Oak Hill” north of my hometown of Baldwin City and sledding on the hills near the KU football stadium.

Now I’m able to make and share memories with my daughter. We’re making winter memories now. Those summer memories of being hot and going swimming can wait five or six months.

Let’s enjoy nature’s beauty this winter because time flies too fast anyway. But these extreme cold temperatures can go away for good.