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Local Sports

Column: Loud and proud

One of the loudest places to be at a sporting event these days is the Newton YMCA pool. I’ll tell you what, when the NCMP Aquagirls are swimming at home the building shakes from the cheering. That’s a good thing — that it is so loud with cheers from not just the Aquagirls and their fans but the opposing teams make a pretty good noise too.

Don’t go to a NCMP home swim meet with a headache, especially the lingering affects of a migraine. Been there, done that.

Sporting events evoke a passion among fans and participants. I’ve been in many venues where it is a home field advantage. As recent as the end of basketball season this year, Newton High’s student crowd — along with others — made neutral courts seem like the Cardinal boys’ basketball home.

In the four years, I’ve covered Jasper County high school sports I have noticed the support given to all the teams from season to season. There’s been a few cross country and track meets where a crowd of fans gathered to cheer on competitors. Those are two of the harder sports to have that decided advantage from crowd noise, but area schools have done a good job providing it when they could.

Two of my favorite “loud and proud” venues in all the world are Kansas State’s Bill Snyder Family Stadium — once known as KSU Stadium — and Arrowhead Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Chiefs. There’s no domes to hold in sound and man, oh, man, can these two become deafening.

You know how quiet the world seems when it snows. Well, Nov. 11, 2000, it was snowing in Manhattan, Kansas. I was there for a night game between my K-State Wildcats and the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who were still in the Big 12. K-State was ranked No. 11 and Nebraska came in ranked No. 4 lead by Heisman Trophy hopeful Eric Crouch.

It was not a quiet snowy Kansas Saturday evening. With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Jonathan Beasley connected with Quincy Morgan for the go-ahead touchdown for K-State. The Cats went for two and failed, leaving it 29-28.

Crouch and the Huskers had no chance. With Willie the Wildcat atop the KSU Stadium pressbox, the Wildcat Nation rose and were heard across the Kansas and Nebraska plains. The Wildcats held the Huskers, who went for it on fourth down and the pass failed.

So many games in Arrowhead Stadium were amazing. I remember the days of Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas leading the defensive charge with the Chiefs fans in full throat. You couldn’t hear yourself think standing down on the sidelines.

Joe Montana and Marcus Allen working the offense and it got quiet. What a contrast!

Speaking of loud and proud, I am about the Kansas City Royals. They’ve fallen out of an opportunity for the playoffs this season. They are 14 games out of the American League Wild Card spots with less than 20 games remaining. They would have to win them all to make a run and it would have had started Thursday night in Cleveland.

It didn’t.

How about those Cleveland Indians? With a 10th-inning win over the Royals, the sizzling Indians have won 22 straight games. They have strong hold on the A.L. Central Division. A good friend of mine is an Indians fan, and she won’t talk about the streak. She doesn’t want to jinx it. Jinx, Jinx.

If the Royals can’t make it, I can cheer on the Indians. Those Indians fans are loud and proud in Cleveland.

Earlier in the week, almost every time I got home and turned on the television, the movie “Major League” was on. The 2017 Indians are nothing like those Indians but it’s a bit of a “wild thing.”

Contact Jocelyn Sheets

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