Posted by Ken Campbell May 14, 2010 1 Comment 935 views

Paddling along the waterfront the other day, I passed underneath a dock. People strolled the walkway above me and one couple stopped me for a moment to ask about what I was doing. I told them I was riding a stand up paddleboard, that it wasn’t that hard to do and it was a lot of fun, the usual. The woman looked at her husband for a quick second, then turned back to me and said, “But why?”

Why, indeed.

Wouldn’t it be better to be on the couch, with a tub of KFC and a dozen Budweisers? To be down at that musty neighborhood pub, throwing darts and complaining about the kids these days? Wouldn’t it be better to be driving somewhere, like the drive-through at Dairy Queen, or maybe down to the casino for half-price well drinks and cranium-numbing hip-hop at happy hour?

Why? Why do anything?

I didn’t have an answer. Not a good one, anyway. I can think of a dozen responses, but none of them really matter. Like we all told our parents at some point during those prickly, awkward years that coincided with adolescence, “If I have to explain, you wouldn’t understand.” It’s not that I didn’t have an answer for her question; it’s that any answer I may have given might just as well have been in Swahili – she wasn’t going to get it.

It’s the same with kayaking. And climbing, skiing, backpacking, and all the rest. They are all tough concepts to explain when there is no common language.

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