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It doesn’t matter if you’re young or old, all boys enjoy a “boy’s night out”. I’m sure that girls enjoy their version also, but I can only speak to our version. I grew up with sisters, so spending time with the opposite sex never phased me. And as I reached my teen age years, at times it even became downright enjoyable. Nevertheless, at regular intervals along the way, and even through adulthood, it always seemed “right” to get back to basics by hanging out with my buds.

In Connecticut during the 60’s, most boys, regardless of talent, spent every spare minute playing baseball. We didn’t have i-phones, x-boxes, computers, or even TVs to draw our attention. It was just baseball, the perfect sport. We started in Farm League, then Little League, then Pony League, and finally high school baseball – that was the natural order for all of us in our little town. Man, did I love it. I played for the Kiwanis all those early years. At the start of every season we got new uniforms. A grey button up shirt with “Kiwanis” embroidered across the front, grey pants that were always too long and didn’t stay up unless you put a belt or a piece of rope through the belt loops, royal blue and yellow striped socks and of course the signature yellow Kiwanis baseball cap. The rich kids had cleats, but most of us completed our look with well-worn Converse All Stars. Before the season started and before our uniforms got too dirty or too ripped, a photographer would show up at one of our practices for a team shot. I still have some of those treasured photos in my office desk drawer. Every Fourth of July our town would have a parade down Main Street and every team in the league would proudly march in their magnificent uniforms. Summers flew by with blissful hours spent at the local ball fields. Young as we were, we still had our civic duty. Each year we were asked to collect for charity, which we gladly did. We’d proudly don our uniforms and hold out our official Little League tin cans so our neighbors could drop in their nickels and dimes. (No one can resist a kid in a baseball uniform.) So that was my first recollection of a “boy’s night out”. Just guys, no girls, and plenty of sweating, spitting, swearing, swinging and missing, occasionally making a big play, sometimes crying, building friendships and always making memories.

Every boy has their own version of “boy’s night out”. It could be a long period devoted to satisfying a selfish itch in a manner that no one else but your buds understand, or it might be a short break with good friends to just get away from it all. This world is crazy and hectic and the need to recharge your batteries is perfectly understandable and therapeutic. I still need that therapy today. Fishing weekends are my usual “boy’s night out” these days. A few weekends ago I invited three of my pals to our lake house on Hartwell. We waved goodbye to our spouses, promising to call each night (no guy keeps this promise), and loaded up the truck with cholesterol clogging steaks and more beer than necessary, and headed out for three days of “no worries relaxation”. We’re too old to do anything crazy anymore, so we are content to mostly tell bad jokes and exaggerate about our glory days. But this is just right, at least for us, and it is strangely calming for me personally. I don’t have to worry about clients or deadlines or bills or family concerns or even health issues. All I have to do is wake up early enough to buy bait and get everyone into the boat by first light. Then all I have to do is prove my captainship by finding the fish. If I fail at this I take a bunch of verbal abuse, but it’s all in good fun coming from friends. When the heat of the day comes on and the fishing slows, we motor back to the dock and trade our fishing poles for inner tubes, turn on the boom box, grab a beer and float around in the cove until our feet and hands turn pruney. After that, its crank up the grill, burn the aforementioned steaks, have another beer and plan the next day with the exact same excitement. Pretty dull you say? Our wives would be bored to tears, I’m sure. The key to a successful “boy’s night out” is knowing what works for you and your friends. It’s personal, and it’s something different for each of us.

Here’s hoping that all of you work hard but also find time to enjoy your personal “boy’s night out’ or “girl’s night out”. I already have my next one planned for June, this time at my bud’s place on Marco Island. Did you hear that Erica? – OK if I go? Please? Please? Pretty Please??

Enjoy this awesome recipe for grilling a great steak from Cooking.com

steak