Unofficially Speaking August 30, 2017 09:33

After 5 years of reading Bob Glanzer’s articles in Prairie Tracks and the fact that my grandfather wrote a weekly article in the newspaper he owned and operated in Wessington, I decided I should be able to at least write an article once a month for the magazines we publish. The easy part of this project is now over, deciding to do it. The hard part is yet to come, writing the articles. The question that first came to mind is, “Are your memories, opinions, and random thoughts article worthy?” The answer that quickly followed was, “Of course not!” I also decided that since I am not the editor of either of the magazines we publish, it really isn’t my problem if they are “article worthy” as someone else will decide if I make the cut. So with 15 minutes a day set aside to work on articles, I am dusting off my thesaurus and tuning up my spell check! For what it’s worth the changing Times are inspiring me towards a new Enterprise!

It was July 2015 at the Heartland 4-H Rodeo Grounds on the east edge of Huron. I had my left hand pressed between my legs and I was jumping around like a jackrabbit trying not to use every word in the book to describe how my left ring finger felt. That is, after I smashed it into the bottom of the 5th wheel trailer hitch as I was throwing a cooler into the back of the pickup. It was a smoking hot day and the dust was incredible that year. Thank goodness the committee has since employed two water trucks to hold the dust at bay. My 11-year-old daughter and I had just finished two days of rodeo heartache. I was not impressed with her performance, and she was seriously disappointed in it as well. Honestly, I don’t even remember what went wrong in her performance if anything at all. An 11-year-old girl wrangling a 1200 pound horse should be impressive enough, but it must not have been that weekend. The fact that she was competing on a 100 degree day, in the dust, on a hot animal instead of turning her brain to toast sending Snapchats should have been enough, but I guess it wasn't. She had worked countless nights in the practice arena to prepare for the weekend and obviously didn’t intentionally lose, so the outcome of the weekend was brutally hard on her.

I was loading the trailer to head home and find some air conditioning, and of course doing it with the attitude of a spoiled 2-year-old that didn’t get the toy they wanted at Walmart®. That's when I picked up the cooler, tossed it into the pickup, and smashed my finger. "Why not?" I thought. "What else could go wrong this weekend?" I stuck my hand in the icy cooler, and when I finally got brave enough to look at my finger it was smashed – to the point that it was only as thick as a quarter – more words of wisdom came flooding out of my mouth. 

So here we sit. My baby girl’s ego and self-confidence smashed right along with my finger. With my hand in the cooler, I began to realize I was to blame for both. Disappointment in a performance that doesn’t go the way you want is expected, but for me – her dad and coach – I should have been there to pick her back up and help her get stronger from it all. 

Fast forward to July 2016, once again we find ourselves at the Heartland 4-H Rodeo Grounds on the east edge of Huron. I’m unsaddling my now 12-year-old daughter’s horse, as the saddle is still a little too heavy for her. She looks at me and says, “It went a little better this year didn’t it, Dad.” Her performance this year was light-years ahead of last year's, but we both knew that she wasn’t referring to her work in the arena. I smiled and replied, “Yeah, it took me a whole year of practice to become a better dad, just think how good I'll be next year!”