Got Cabin Fever?

"February is pitiless, and it is boring. That parade of red numerals on its page adds up to zero: birthdays of politicians, a holiday reserved for rodents, what kind of celebrations are those? The only bubble in the flat champagne of February is Valentine's Day. It was no accident that our ancestors pinned Valentine's Day on February's shirt: he or she lucky enough to have a lover in frigid, antsy February has cause for celebration, indeed." —Tom Robbins

Ah, February. Simultaneously the longest and shortest month. Groundhog Day's not here yet as I sit typing this missive to you, dear reader, but it's coming soon, and we all know the truth. No matter what that glorified little rat sees and does, winter's not done with us 'til it's done.

For those of you who live in a place where winter has a more gentle bite, well … aren't you lucky? For the rest of us, cabin fever has settled in. Yesterday—a relatively warmish day for late January—I went out for a walk in the woods, and the entire path was a sheet of ice. I persevered, but there were several moments—feet dancing around as they tried to find traction, icy wind burning my cheeks—when I thought, "You have to be pretty darn stubborn to be out here right now." And, indeed, I saw not another (human) soul over the course of my 3.5 miles. (I did, however, see a kingfisher and a bald eagle, so all the slipping and sliding was well worth it.)

The good news is, even if you're stuck indoors, looking longingly out the window and anxiously awaiting gentler days, you can find something to do. In fact, most of you are actively engaged in making sure that your community has plenty to do to stay active, entertained and engaged through winter's long dark. Your indoor gyms and fitness centers, natatoriums and more are some of the only options for people who need to get a move on.

But when you're ready to just curl up with some good reading, well, here you go! We've got a ton of great information for you in this issue, from our annual special Guide to Aquatic Centers to feature stories covering inclusive strategies, multipurpose sports fields, fitness programming trends and nonconventional structures (a great way to extend outdoor programming into four seasons, if that's a goal for you).

But don't stop with this issue! We also have some great stories coming in our Rec Report e-newsletter this month. (If you haven't subscribed yet, head on over to the website and get yourself set up.)

We'll be kicking off the month of February with a story on how the U.S. Tennis Association is helping communities across the country expand the sport with grants and assistance for court construction and refurbishment. After that, we'll take a look at how the National Park Service is working to protect bats, along with what you can do to help. Other stories in February will consider safety at swimming pools, and how fitness should be part of the toolkit for treating mental illness. We'll close out the month with a leap-year mailing taking a look at how Purdue University's Cordova Center has simplified things for visitors with a smart locker solution.

On the page or online, we'll be seeing you around. And hopefully soon, we'll all be back outside basking in a lovely spring!

Happy Trails!

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management

[email protected]