Sunday April 20, 2014

‘Tis the season for resolutions


View from the Cheap Seats is kind of an extension of the newsroom. Whenever our three regular reporters, Calvin Daniels, Thom Barker and Randy Brenzen are in the building together, it is frequently a site of heated debate. This week: New Year’s resolutions

Salad days

First let’s view the question ‘What is a New Year’s Resolution?’

Well, it’s basically a promise that someone makes to themselves, such as ‘I’ll give up chocolate’ that ends up falling by the wayside mere weeks after it was made. I’m guilty of it, my friends and family have done it and chances are pretty good that you’ve done it. If you are saying ‘no, I’ve never broken a New Year’s Resolution’ then, please, I plead you… Look in the mirror. What you’ll most likely see looking back at you is a liar (unless you’re a vampire, in which case you’ll see nothing).

With that being said, however, it’s time to publicize my 2014 New Year’s Resolution! So here it goes. My 2014 New Year’s Resolution is… Drumroll please… Dramatic pause while opening the envelope… To lose some weight (the total of which is between me, my scale and a saddened Ronald McDonald), to try and eat healthier and to learn Spanish.

And I mean it. Especially the eat healthier part. The last time I ate a salad was in 2006 when I was on a high school “educational” tour of Spain. It was in 2006, by the way, that Team Canada got embarrassed in hockey at the Olympics in Turin, Italy. So maybe I’ll just wait until after the Olympics to eat a salad… You know, just so it won’t jinx them again.

- Randy Brenzen

Sporting life

This week we are suppose to share our New Year’s resolutions with readers.

That is a bit difficult for me, since I have never held much stock in the whole idea of making a resolution to change things just because the calender flips over to a new year.

To me it’s about the same as the pinky swears we did as children to show our dedication to keeping some secret.

There is no real effort to making a resolution, and even less about it being Jan.1, which helps you keep on track.

So I’m not going to suggest some life changing decisions here, but in the spirit of the day, I’ll suggest a trio of things I will make an effort to achieve in 2014.

The first regards horseshoes. I am terrible at the game, but respect it, having seen my grandfather play for years, and my Dad too. Dad actually was pretty good in his class and took in a lot of tournaments over the years winning his share of trophies and medals.

Both are gone now, but my son has Dad’s horseshoes, and the two of us actually got out one evening in 2012, but never tossed a shoe in 2013.

In 2014 I’d like to get back to playing horseshoes, more as a way to pay tribute to my Dad and grandfather, than because I will be good at it. I won’t suggest regular nights at the pits, but will set a modest goal of getting my son out four times this year.

Staying with sports, I am an avid disc golfer, and am on Patrick Park Disc Golf a lot. But I have still not bested par. I have managed par 27 a few times, but no better round has yet been achieved. I resolve to have a subpar round in 2014, before I get too old to have a real chance at it.

Finally, as a dart player the perfect throw of 180 has also eluded me. With my dart league now on Monday evenings I only get out every couple of weeks, being stuck covering Yorkton Council on alternate weeks, so I don’t throw as many darts these days, but I resolve to at least fluke a 180 one day this year.

And there you have it folks a few modest resolutions that I might actually achieve in 2014.

- Calvin Daniels

More Compassion

I generally do not make New Year’s resolutions. That’s not to say I don’t think it is a valuable tradition.

The current practice is a Western secular one, but similar practices go back at least as far as ancient Babylon and Rome where people would start their new year by making promises to their gods.

So, while I understand why New Year’s is a natural time for resolutions, it has always seemed somewhat arbitrary to me, personally. Self-reflection and self-improvement, I think, should be an ongoing process, not relegated to the changing of the calendar.

Statistics indicate the success rate for New Year’s resolutions may be as low as eight per cent. While it may seem like a good time to start afresh, the real harbinger of success, according to researchers is being ready and prepared to change and setting realistic goals.

Failure, it would appear, is almost predestined, probably, at least in part, because of the looming pressure of the big date. With that in mind, if people are determined to make resolutions for the New Year, but aren’t ready to make a big change, it is likely better to scale back the goal. For example, instead of quitting smoking, maybe resolve to cut back and do the preparatory work to make a real attempt at it later in the year.

As I said, I don’t generally make New Year’s resolutions, but I do occasionally make resolutions. In fact, I made one recently that I am working diligently on. When Nelson Mandela died a few weeks ago, I watched and read a great deal about him and his life and I resolved to try to be more Mandela-like.

That’s not to say I want to become a great and transformative public figure, but rather just do some of the little things better. Chief among these is to try not to operate from a position of anger. If Mandela’s life taught us anything it is that anger is a very weak position.

“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion,” he said. “People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Keeping that in mind, I hope, will help me better understand and have more compassion for others’ positions, which in turn, I hope, will make me a more effective agent of positive change.

- Thom Barker



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