A Spring in Your Step

. January 15, 2013.

I asked Gabbi, my high schooler, what her favorite things were about the month of April. “Nothing,” she replied. “I don’t like anything about that month.”

“Really?” I asked,

“Yeah. The flowers come out, which means the bees come out — and so does the pollen. Then my allergies start acting up. It’s a big hassle. I mean, they start off the month with April Fool’s Day, which has never been my favorite holiday. I don’t like getting pranked.”

“Don’t you like to prank other people, though?” (Never mind my thoughts about the dubious classification of April Fool’s Day as a “holiday.”)

“Well, yeah,” she thought. “I guess I like to pull pranks. I’m just too lazy to do it.”

Oy. Teenagers.

So, Gabbi, this column is dedicated to you and all of your high school friends who see the world through adolescent colored sunglasses.

Top five things to love about April

1 It’s not March

I mean really, just about any month is better than March, with its schizophrenic weather. It’s 55 degrees today — it’s spring! Wait, it’s eight degrees — it’s winter. Anyone for skiing today? Anyone for wading through slush tomorrow? You get the picture.

2 University of Michigan commencement

You may think this event only affects a small portion of Ann Arbor, but you’re wrong. When U of M’s students graduate (which is a joyous occasion for families with matriculating sons and daughters), the town takes on a whole new life. It starts with trying to get your hands on a ticket to hear the commencement speaker. You can be sure many of those in attendance at President Obama’s address last year did not know a single graduate. Next come the available parking spaces, which begin to open up the Monday after Commencement. This is the time when students and their visiting parents have eaten their way through the last brunch buffet line. They’ve packed up their cars full of dirty laundry and overly-highlighted books and headed for home. Personally, I love having U of M students in town, but this exodus does give us hundreds of parking places in front of our favorite downtown establishments.

3 Baseball and softball
Not all University students have bolted from Ann Arbor. The school’s baseball and softball teams are still here and often vie for a Big Ten championship. Considered by many residents to be two of the best tickets in town, both Michigan teams are exciting to watch. Even on those rare days when our team takes it on the chin, you can never complain about a day at the ballpark. Simply, the nostalgia, tradition, and festive atmosphere can overcome any bad mood. Moreover, I always like to breathe in fond memories of watching games with my grandpa when I was younger. I feel so fortunate to be able to continue the tradition with my mom and dad today. And now, I get to take my own two kids to the games. In short, a day at the ballpark is like spending a day fishing. I know a few folks don’t “get” fishing. “What if you don’t catch anything?” they ask. I tell them, it doesn’t matter if you catch anything. The joy comes from just being out there.

4 Soccer and field hockey

The start of April brings the start of youth soccer and field hockey. One day at the end of March, I look at the snow-covered pitch and think “there’s
no way we’ll have practice next week.” Then April comes, and the snow disappears from the field. There’s something about spring recreational sports I find more enjoyable than fall sports. I think it’s the fact that the spring season ends when the weather is warm and sunny — as opposed to the fall season when the last game is often held in a sleet storm.

5 Seussical

To cap off such a glorious month, Pioneer Theater Guild will perform Seussical. If you’re not sure what it is, the title almost gives it away. It’s a delightful musical based on the books of Dr. Seuss. For more information on what should be another amazing show from Pioneer, check out our brief on pg 5.

So how’s that, Gabbi? Does that give you enough reasons to like the month of April? It’s the end of rental-movie weather. It’s time to get out and enjoy all of the great things Ann Arbor has to offer. Or, if you prefer to stay inside, you could always clean your room. 

Jim Keen is a freelance writer and life-long Ann Arborite. He lives in town with his wife, Bonnie, and daughters, Gabbi (14) and Molly (11).