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Column

Learning things in sports and in life

“Go — learn things,” is a phrase said by a character in one of my favorite television shows. I’ve heard it hundreds of times, or so. It really resonates with me.

I know why it does. On Sunday, I turned 62. Now, age is not a big freak-out for me. It is how old I am and I’ve always told my age.

Learning something every day is part of being human. We learn from our triumphs. We learn from our fails.

Area high school area winter sports athletes are learning things. The girls’ basketball teams have a game or two under their belts to gauge where they are and where they need to be as the season progresses. The NCMP boys’ swim team has competed once now and those swimmers learned things.

I remember having my younger nephew at my home when he was a baby. I don’t know how parents get anything done because I just watched him as he learned things. I was learning, also.

I’ve learned all my life, 62 years worth so far. As a journalist, I continue to learn each time I write, each time I take a photograph and each time I take in an activity. I learn from watching the athletes and coaches when they win and when they fail.

Failing is part of life. We aren’t going to go through our journey without the ups and downs.

So, I just offer this advice to all involved — go, learn things.

I recall my parents telling us as youngsters when we fell down to “get up and go again.” It was their way of telling us we were alright, maybe a skinned knee or elbow, a bruise but we were alright.

Playing a game of the Sheets family touch football in the front yard was never just touch football. I remember getting smacked around by my older and younger brothers. I held my own.

I could beat my older brother, who is much taller and stronger than I, in a game of burn-out. I threw a softball or baseball pretty well in my youth.

I caught up with my classmates — Linwood High Class of 1975 — on Sunday. I’m the youngest in our class. I’ve had a lot of fails in those 60 years but the triumphs win out in the end.

This is my seventh Thanksgiving as a journalist in Iowa. I’ll be heading home to Kansas for a long holiday weekend. The plan is to visit my Dad, who is 92, other family members and a few friends.

My dad lives on what used to be the family farm in Linwood, Kan. He has sold most of the land but still has about 20 acres and most of that is in woodland. There’s always a chance to catch a glimpse of deer or other wildlife.

A few years ago on my first Thanksgiving back from Iowa, I watched four wild turkeys scurry from the pasture across the road into Dad’s yard then head down the lane toward the woods. Dad said he had seen a group of about nine turkeys run from his two huge evergreen trees at the northeast corner of the large front yard earlier in the year and go across the road.

I do have those yearnings of days gone by. We’d gather at the our parents’ home or grandparents’ home or even one of my siblings’ home. I miss those big family get togethers.

Life happens. Families sometimes scatter — part of my family now resides in Georgia, I’m here in Iowa and others are in different parts of Kansas.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. First, we stop and remind ourselves there are a lot of good people and things in our lives to be thankful for. It’s a true time of giving thanks for all we do have in our lives.

Although not all the family will be available, we’ll have plenty of turkey and football — NFL games and college games — this trip home.

Have a great Thanksgiving and come back ready to support area high school winter sports.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets
at jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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