Happy 2005 to all! I hope your year is off to a good start. Like many of you, I’ve geared myself up for the many challenges that await me in 2005.

After a very thoughtful early Christmas gift from “Unknown,” I made my New Year’s resolution very simple. I resolved to resist the urge to eat cranberry sauce, no matter how tempting it may be.

Unlike many of my other resolutions, I do intend to stick with this one.

Whoever “Unknown” is, if you intended to get a good chuckle out of me, you got it.

I don’t know how good your memory is, but I’ve decided to challenge the Pratt community with the same challenge that some say started my “career” with the Free Press.

When I was back in high school (which was nearly two years ago, although it doesn’t feel like it) I was disappointed with the size of Hillsboro’s crowd at a basketball game, which came just after the Trojans had claimed the Trojan Classic championship.

I wrote a letter to the editor encouraging more people to attend and support the Trojans in their quest for success.

This year, I have challenged the Pratt community with the same thing with its college team. Our crowds at PCC basketball games have been scarce, at best.

Pratt is a town that has no idea how to support winning athletic programs, so in an editorial in our most recent school newspaper I challenged not only the students, but also the community to support the Beavers. The men’s and women’s teams are a combined 20-8 on the basketball court right now.

Time will tell how successful my efforts are.

By the way, I’ve only been to one HHS game this year, but the crowd at the Ellinwood game was awesome. I can only hope it’s that way at all the games.

Coach Darrel Knoll has a nice-looking team this year, and Coach Becky Carlson’s girls are pretty good for as young as they are.

Help them out!

Another challenge I will face in 2005 is transferring to a different college after graduating from PCC.

I’ll clear it up right now to end the speculation, if indeed there is any. I have decided on Southwestern College in Winfield. I’m not sure what it was about Southwestern, but something made me fall in love with it from the moment I stepped on campus.

In my opinion, it’s a great place to stay in a small school while still being a decent distance from home.

I have to admit, though, it will be a bit odd coming to Hillsboro as a manager of a visiting team.

After recent events, another challenge I have given myself is to keep my car running. I have decided that I don’t care to spend two hours on the side of a road in rural Pawnee County between Larned and Great Bend. So some lucky local auto shop may be seeing my car a bit more often.

I shouldn’t make it sound like my car is unreliable, however. I’ve owned it for nearly four years, and have put nearly 25,000 miles on it, and Monday was the first time it has ever left me stranded.

I’ve become convinced that the Golden Rule applies to cars as well. Treat them as you would like it to treat you. If you treat your car right, it’ll treat you right in return.

Wow, maybe TLC should hire me for some show or something.

It just occurred to me that with 2005 also comes the fact that I will be 20 years old in February. Therefore, my challenge for myself is to convince myself that I’m doing my math the right way, and that I really am 20 years old.

I know my parents would just as soon not believe it, but I guess it’s true. 2005 – 1985 = 20. I don’t claim to be a mathematician, but I believe that calculation is correct. It really seems like only yesterday that I was walking across the stage in my maroon graduation gown.

Then again, time really does fly when you’re having fun.

I hope everybody’s new year is a good one.

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