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Common Sense Re-Visited

Happy New Year! A new year is upon us. May we all do our very best to make it a good one for all concerned!

In the days leading up to Christmas, bitter cold, snow, and treacherous road conditions played havoc with the local sports schedules. Many games and practices were canceled on the Thursday and Friday proceding the big day. Players and coaches grumbled a bit, but the individuals charged with the responsibility of making the right choice did so in the spirit of common sense.

As Jean and I drove home from the traditional Christmas gathering of the family, the question arose — what was I going to write about in this week’s column? I confessed I hadn’t yet come up with a topic. The next day, while housekeeping following holiday festivities, I came across a note presented to me by a reader a few months earlier. The reader had given me a copy of a column I’d had written several years ago.

That column was entitled Common Sense. He suggested I consider re-writing the contents in a future column stating, “Those words make even more sense today than when you wrote that column.”

Although some of those words were taken from an obituary printed in the London Times, not mine, I have decided to take that reader’s suggestion in the hopes of providing the new year with a bit of encouragement as we move forward. Some Common Sense follows:

“Today, we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape. He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
– Knowing when to come in out of the rain
– Why the early bird gets the worm
– Life isn’t always fair
– And maybe it was my fault

Common Sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults, not children, are in charge).

His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well-intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of a 6-year-old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student only worsened his condition.

Common Sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job that they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.

Common Sense finally gave up the will to live after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.

Common Sense was preceded in death by his parents, Truth and Trust; by his wife, Discretion; by his daughter, Responsibility; and by his son, Reason.

His four stepbrothers survive him; I Know My Rights, I Want It Now, Someone Else Is To Blame, and I’m A Victim. Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone.”

Even with the descendants of Common Sense floundering these days, the contents of an article I recently read at i9 Sports offers some sound common sense New Year’s Resolutions for today’s youth sports participants to help them become both better athletes and individuals. Common Sense would be proud to see them followed.
– “I will work on my sportsmanship.

Good sportsmanship means treating everyone involved in the game – including teammates, competing players, coaches, referees, and parents – with respect.
– I will be more aware of my teammates’ needs.

All athletes must learn that it’s not about an individual player – it’s about the team as a whole
– I will be patient.

There is no set time frame for athletic success. Some players are naturally gifted, but most must work really hard to achieve the rank of MVP. Unfortunately, many athletes quit if their sport doesn’t come naturally to them, giving up the chance for fun, friendship, and fitness that sports provide. Athletes need to be patient and know 90% of success is just showing up.
– I will get enough rest.

Rest is critical for athletes of any age and skill level. School-aged children need proper sleep for physical growth, brain development, and good behavior.
– I will spend time focusing on my flexibility.

Becoming more flexible is the key to reducing sports injuries. Take the time to stretch and warm up before every practice and game to keep your body loose.
– I will not be afraid to take risks.

Competing is inherently risky because it either leads to a win or a defeat. Athletes can challenge themselves by taking risks rather than giving up.
– I will maintain a healthy sports-life balance.

No matter how much a player loves his sport, it’s important to balance sports, school, friends, and family time. Devoting the proper amount of time and energy to each one can help achieve a successful balance in all areas.

Unfortunately, all too many New Year’s Resolutions are soon forgotten. For the athletes, no matter what sport it may be, making and keeping these seven sports resolutions will lead to greater enjoyment for all involved.

Common Sense would love it!