As I sit here in late December watching my son play mini-sticks (the living room version of the NHL) with his ice hockey teammate, I'm trying to figure out what my New Year's resolutions will be for this year.
Watching the fun they are having playing mini-sticks brings a few ideas to mind ...
Resolution No. 1
I resolve to allow my son to truly play sports with his friends and not interfere. After all, I limped out of my last mini-sticks game, and my new Wiffleball rule caused more tears than cheers. As much as we'd like to think otherwise, our kids usually have more fun when we parents aren't involved.
Resolution No. 2
I'm going to try hard not to let it bother me that my only son has chosen not to follow in my footsteps and opt for basketball as his career. OK, I never made a dime playing basketball, but it was always a dream. His dream is to be a pro baseball player just in case his NHL career doesn't pan out. Every kid should have a dream. And we shouldn't try to squelch them regardless of how far-fetched they may seem.
Resolution No. 3
I'm going to stop getting upset every time I have to go out and buy sporting goods. The lessons (mostly good, but unfortunately, some bad) my son is learning playing sports are like the memories on the credit card commercials -- priceless. And parents spend money on a lot of items that not only don't teach us lessons but are detrimental to our health as well.
Resolution No. 4
I'm going to continue to appreciate the friendships we both have formed being involved in youth sports. Fun times that last far beyond when the final horn sounds. Memories that he'll look back on and cherish well after his NHL and MLB careers are over (hopefully he'll figure out a third career choice). And of course the friendships I've formed with the parents. Have you ever conversed over a cup of coffee in a 30-degree ice rink at 6 a.m.? I get chills just thinking about it.
Resolution No. 5
The most important resolution I'm going to make is to stop getting depressed every time I read an article about another knucklehead parent acting as if his kid's game is a life-or-death situation. Instead, I'm going to do everything I can to continue to stress all of the positives in amateur sports -- not only to my child but also to his teammates and the parents and coaches involved in the sports he plays. After all, 90 percent of the parents involved in youth sports are there for the right reasons. We just don't hear about them. I promise to remember that and hope you'll join me, too.
Wouldn't these resolutions be wonderful for all youth sports parents to make? And wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to make them again next year and the year after? Unlike most other resolutions, these resolutions can have far more lasting effects.
Here's to a happy, healthy New Year.
Jon Buzby's columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous websites. E-mail your comments to his website at www.jonbuzby.com