Outdoor activities to beat the end-of-semester blues

Winter is never an easy time for students in Montreal. With indoor gatherings banned and limited outdoor activities, these past few months have been especially challenging. Yet, the start of daylight savings, the extension of curfew, and the improvement of the weather are excellent reasons to leave the house, be active, and catch some rays in a COVID-safe fashion.

Spikeball

Spikeball is not just for shirtless fraternity brothers: Its portability, fast setup time, and low skill required make it the ideal lawn game.

Spikeball is essentially volleyball on the ground. Two teams of two gather around the circular net on the grass, one player serves, then the opposing team has three chances to return the ball. Spikeball can be enjoyed by players at all skill levels, ranging from casual first-timers to hardened athletes looking to jump, dive, and put their body on the line.

Finlay Douglas, U4 Science, has played the game for several years and thinks it has a lot to offer in the way of fast-paced fun.

“Spikeball is great because everybody can play it,” Douglas said. “It’s easy to learn, but it also has a high skill cap, so you can always work to get better.”

Breaking out the spikeball net on a sunny spring afternoon is sure to make one the centre of attention in any friend group.

Kick the Can

A childhood favourite to many, Kick the Can is still fun for fully grown adults. A dynamic combination of tag, capture the flag, and hide and seek, Kick the Can involves one person designated as “it” who must capture hidden players, and trap them all before another player frees those already caught. 

Understandably, most McGill students have not played tag since their pre-teens and have forgotten how exhausting full-out sprinting to escape their friends can be. Kick the Can is a great adrenaline-inducing way to bond with friends and relive the joyful nostalgia of childhood hide-and-seek.

Water balloon fights

Although it may sound preposterous, water balloon fights actually require a fair amount of tactical athletic skill. Hand-eye coordination is needed to aim and throw water balloons with high precision at moving targets. Endurance and cardio are key components as well: Running away from one friend while simultaneously running towards another requires agility for long periods of time. A package of balloons is available for purchase almost anywhere, and avid ballooners may even consider purchasing a water balloon nozzle for efficient balloon filling. 

While not a professional sport, or even an official recreational one, water balloon fights may be just the thing to bring out the childhood joy needed after a long winter of little sun and few opportunities for outdoor fun.

“Growing up in Florida, honestly [water balloon fights] were just a way to get out and have a good time,” Rachel Kalmanovich, U3 Arts, said to The McGill Tribune. “It’s running around and hitting your friends with sacks of water. What’s not to love?”

Mini golf

As the last piles of snow melt, many students are bringing back their favourite pastime: Mini golf. Although it cannot be played on any old lawn, Montreal offers a number of locations for mini-putting. 

Putting Edge Centre-Ville has reservation slots for groups of up to 12 miniature golfers, and their website details the COVID-19 procedures in place to keep visitors safe. Further north, Parc d’Amusement Anjou is a half-hour drive away from downtown Montreal and boasts two 18-hole mini golf courses. For those willing to ditch grassy golf for a more adrenaline-filled activity, the park also offers go-karting.

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