COLUMN: Baseball movie leads to 2010 inspiration
Welcome to the new year, a new decade, and once again congratulations on surviving the scare that was Y2K in 2000. That hysteria still strikes me as funny, even 10 years later.
Now, here we are one week into 2010 and I imagine around 89 percent of the country has already betrayed their New Year's resolutions. I'm not one to make formal resolutions. I know what I need to do and generally don't find it necessary to announce what I would like to accomplish in the coming year. Mainly, because I am weak-willed and have the resolve of a 3-year-old. Therefore, my resolutions don't stick. Pessimistic? Maybe. Realistic and accepting of my shortcomings? Absolutely.
I would say I'm a person that is not easily inspired by too many outside sources. My children inspire (and frustrate) me in one way or another on a daily basis. My wife, parents, and brothers inspire (and frustrate) me to varying degrees. Add sporadic flashes of inspiration from friends and that's about how deep I go.
That's why I was a little surprised at a late-night New Year's inspiration earlier this week via, of all things, television. And no, it wasn't a televangelist at 3 a.m. or the latest installation of drunken co-eds on the "Real World" or "Jersey Shore" that got me to look inward.
I stumbled across the baseball classic, "Field of Dreams". Not that it's an exceedingly great movie full of profound dialogue but there wasn't much else on at the time and I hadn't seen that movie probably since it was made 20-plus years ago. What hooked me was a simple line early in the movie. Kevin Costner says: "I'm 36 years old. I have a wife, a child, and I'm scared to death I'm turning into my father."
I don't know if it was the late night, loneliness of a quiet house, stress involved with some recent and forthcoming life changes, or the Doritos and French onion dip, but that statement inspired me to be better in 2010. Simple.
Not that there is anything particularly wrong with my father, but I guess guys reach a certain point where the realization hits and there's no stopping the transformation. And there's nothing wrong with that, as I realized while watching Costner have a catch with his dead dad, who came back to life to play on a baseball field in the middle of a corn field in Iowa.
Our fathers have always been old to us, not with the times, and simply don't understand today's world. So we thought. I guess it took Kevin Costner in a classic, sometimes painfully corny, baseball movie to help me realize what I am and what I should be.
All of us should strive for a better 2010. Take the time to appreciate the good things we've got: Family, friends, health, and this great country in which we live.
Dick Lausten of New York Mills also helped put things in perspective this week when he commented sort of off-handedly recently as we kicked snow in his woods. Dick, who by the very inflection in his voice, sounds a little more knowledgeable than most, especially standing beneath the pines. He told me that when we start complaining we should go talk to our neighbor and really find out how tough things are.
Variations of that saying have been around for generations, but still the message stands true. We all go through difficult times, but I guarantee you someone down the road has it worse off than you, so quit complaining.
That, I guess, is my resolution. Let's all work to be better people. Better husbands, better fathers, better wives, better mothers, better children, better siblings, better friends, better neighbors, better citizens, better conservatives, better liberals, better independents, better teachers, better bosses, better employees, better businessmen, better stewards, better customers, better role models, and better Americans.
Happy New Year and welcome to 2010! That's my message and I'm sticking to it.