IF THE HAT FITS: A sportswriter's New Year's resolutions

A new year is always an exciting time. 

It's a chance to wipe the slate clean and work on one's self. Sure, it may seem like an arbitrary practice because you can technically do that at any time of year, but after the last 366 days — remember, it was a leap year — I think it's as good a time as any for a restart.

For me, I normally make small resolutions. I'll do the ones like "find more positivity" and "don't eat as many McChickens." But in the end, I inevitably sometimes find myself blasting Daniel Powter's "Bad Day" while in the golden arches drive-thru.

Okay, so maybe I'm exaggerating a little bit. Sort of. The point is, this year, I wanted to try something different. 

The last year shook us all, and 2021 is off to a...let's just say, stalling start. But that doesn't mean we can't pick up the pieces and start to rebuild.

I'm a sports junkie. That much should be obvious, considering the line of work I chose. But this year, I want to push myself to see these games from a whole new perspective.

If 2020 taught us anything, it's that we can't take things for granted. So when I walk onto the field or into a gym, I don't just want to cover a game. I want to experience it.

My favorite stories I write deal with people, emotions, sights, sounds, and even sometimes smells — whose mouth doesn't water at the thought of a fresh sausage dog at Mike Deak in the summer? — and if I'm not making our readers feel like they're there in person when they read these stories, then I'm not doing my job correctly.

I have the coolest job in the world, and get to sit and visit with some amazing people, and share their stories with all of you. But now, I want to try to share that moment with you all too. Put you in their shoes, and see the world how they see it, if only just for a moment.

Because when people share a connection like that, it bonds them together and opens the door to a new view on life.

It may just sound like I'm just waxing poetic about interviewing someone, but think about it. Life is better when people come together. Even the staunchest introvert has their circle, their person that they share with and grow together.

A community is best when it's strong in trust, kinship, and understanding. And yeah, I may be just a sports writer for a local newspaper. But if I'm connecting two people out of thousands, then I'm doing my job right.

So those are my resolutions this year. And I fully intend to keep them. Here's to another year of growing as a community, and a little less fast food to try to thin my increasing waist line.

Contact Derek Hatridge at dhatridge@mcalesternews.com.

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