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Local Sports

The Sports Schuffle

My first impression

First impressions are somewhere between important and everything. 

I recently read an article on that suggested nonverbal cues, such as body language, can make a bigger impact on an individual’s first impression than the spoken word. Considering you’re reading this in the newspaper or online and can’t see me, that part of the equation is out the window. The article also stated an individual can form their initial opinions of someone else within the first seven seconds of meeting them.

Those seven seconds are probably up for me. Hopefully I’m off to a good start.

I thought long and hard what I should include in this space when I found out I was going to have my first column for the Newton Daily News published today. My editor suggested I use this to introduce myself to you, the reader, so here are a few things about me.

I graduated from the University of Iowa (no, I do not hate or even dislike the Cyclones) two years ago with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication (the supply and demand of words). 

I consider myself both lucky and unlucky. Beginning in August after I graduated, I spent the first 20 months of my career living and working in the Oklahoma City area as the sports editor of the Piedmont Citizen. We printed a paper once a week and updated our website daily. It was an excellent opportunity.

During that time, I experienced and thankfully survived one of the most active tornado seasons in Oklahoma’s recent history. In May of 2013, the only May I lived in Oklahoma, there were 63 tornadoes throughout the state, including the largest tornado ever on record. The 63 tornadoes recorded made for the third most active May in Oklahoma’s history since 1950.

This past May, two months after I moved, the state had four tornados.

I’m currently living without cable TV or a smartphone. In today’s age of HD TVs and apps, some might think I’m living in the Stone Age. That thought wouldn’t be too far off considering I wrote the rough draft of this column on a rock using a chisel.

I’ve been asked a few times why I’ve chosen the career I have. Yesterday would make for a good answer. A few hours after I woke up, I received a phone call from a gentleman named Tom Davis (not the legendary Iowa basketball coach) informing me there was an Olympic gold medalist in town. After a few hours, I had written a story on the United States’ 1952 wrestling champion, Bill Smith, which you can read in today’s paper.

Unexpected opportunities such as that one make this job a lot of fun.

Sports are a lot of things I cannot yet describe to a lot of people I don’t know. My goal is to put into words the meaning, impact and significance of sports to those of you I encounter. 

Have I made a good first impression?

Contact Sports Writer Ben Schuff at (641) 792-3121 Ext. 6536 or at

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