Winter isn’t fun and games

John Kelley

The ice gleams as the sun’s rays beat down upon it. The ground and barren trees are freshly covered in snow. Meanwhile, small children are building a snowman and having an epic snowball fight. The adults are busy getting out their skis and snowboards, preparing for what will be a refreshing trip to the mountains. What these naive people do not realize is that winter is a lifeless, unforgiving sham and those who value their health really ought to stay indoors until spring.

Winter sports, such as skiing and snowboarding are fun. I can think of nothing better than watching emergency medical assistants carefully peel the remnants of what once resembled my leg off of a tree.

Hockey is almost equally enjoyable. I have always wanted to know how it would feel to be short a few front teeth, have a metal hip replacement and three pins in my left kneecap. Try getting health insurance for that sport.

For the younger tykes, there is sledding. I will never forget those wonderful winter memories of pulling my eight-year-old brother’s head out of the ground after he literally flew down a hill, screaming like a psycho at 77 mph.

Did you know there are approximately 83,000 hospitalizations for skiing injuries, 62,000 for hockey games gone awry, 37,000 for snowboarding injuries, 25,000 for sledding injuries and 63,000 for “others,” including snowball fights and making snow tunnels each year. That equals 270,000 hospitalizations during each bleak, cold winter season, twice the amount of injuries suffered during each warm, comfortable summer. The cost of healthcare for these visits will total two billion dollars. The ambulance, stretcher, splint, heart rate monitor and the words “I think I have a pulse,” must be an everyday occurrence for risk-taking winter athletes.

If you believe winter brings warmth and happiness, just ask the people of Finland or Sweden what they think. Dreary, never-ending darkness during winter in these Norwegian countries leads to many suicides and alcohol abuse.

The suicide rate in Finland and Sweden, 22 and 21 respective suicides per 100,000 people, is more than twice the rate for the rest of Europe, 10 suicides per 100,000 people.

Also popular in the winter is illness. Over the three coldest months of my life, I can, and probably will, come down with bronchiolitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, croup, strep throat, rotavirus, mono and the flu. There is nothing like a good case of bronchiolitis; a runny nose, mild fever, wet cough, fast and labored breathing, wheezing, clogged lungs, retraction of the skin between the ribs and possibly death, to brighten your day.

The ice gleams as the sun’s rays beat down upon it. Suddenly the icicle falls, hitting a young child who is building a snowman clean in the eye. Youngsters involved in a snowball fight, immersed in the heat of battle, begin building ice balls. Meanwhile, a slew of emergency vehicles arrive to help one of the many adults who have fallen 20 feet out of a poorly-designed ski lift.

Families throughout New England are ready to do bodily harm to each other after spending the past three months cooped up with the same group of sick and depressed people. I have one question, “Isn’t winter great?”