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Local Sports

Column: Whatever works to pick ‘em

Another Friday the 13th has rolled in on us. What will this one bring? 

When the last one came around earlier this year, I talked to athletes and coaches. None put any stock in the Friday the 13th superstitions. This one is a bit cooler, if you like scary movies, because it’s in October — have you ever noticed Halloween is Oct. 31 — Oct. 13 — 13 to 31— get it?

Back to superstitions, I’m a sports fan and yes, I’m superstitious. I tend to wear the same shirt (washed of course) for each Kansas State game when they win and change it up if they lose.

I’ve done the same for high school teams I’ve covered over the years. I’m that way about the Kansas City Chiefs and the Kansas City Royals. The Royals were fun to watch in 2017 — frustrating — but fun. They didn’t reach the playoffs again. I’m doing alright with that. I am worried about what will happen with free agents. We’ll see.

Speaking of the Major League Baseball playoffs, on Wednesday night I had one friend delighted and one friend not so. You guessed, one is a New York Yankees fan and the other loves those Cleveland Indians. The Yankees thwarted the Indians’ bid to return to the World Series.

I guess my cheering will go for the Houston Astros now from the American League. Sorry, Pam, but I just can’t root, root for the Yankees.

The Chicago Cubs had a big game on Thursday — a must win against the Washington Nationals in Game 5 at Washington if they wanted to defend their World Series championship. They rallied to beat the Nationals.

Go Cubs!

Back to football … anyone check out the Newton Daily News’ Pro Pigskin Challenge contest? Being the sports editor, I was put in the VIP section to make my picks of each week’s NFL games.

I love football at every level. 

I grew up cheering on my hometown junior high and high school teams in Linwood, Kan. They aren’t there anymore — consolation. I’ve been a Kansas State football fan since forever, even when the Wildcats didn’t win many games.

Of course, my NFL team is the Kansas City Chiefs. I remember the Chiefs losing Super Bowl I to Green Bay and winning Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings. I never ever give up on my Chiefs or the K-State Wildcats.

How about my Chiefs? They are the only unbeaten team in the NFL. I’m not expecting them to stay perfect for the season. They will lose. A couple years ago they started 1-5 and I did something I never do — in my selections for that week I picked them to lose. They won.

It took me back to the only time I picked against the Iola High School Mustangs in Kansas. Several members of the Iola newspaper staff and I used to predict the scores for the seven area high school football teams each week.

The Mustangs were good that year, but they lost a game they shouldn’t have simply because they took winning for granted. I picked them to lose the next week, and told the players and all the readers why.

Iola’s players showed me. It was the only time I picked against the Mustangs, and there were some very lean times in the 28 years I covered them.

I won’t pick against Newton, Lynnville-Sully, Colfax-Mingo, Baxter or Prairie City-Monroe either. I always expect our teams to win.

That’s how I make my selections each week for the Newton Pro Pigskin Challenge — mainly with my heart not my head. I don’t delve into statistics. I might realize a key player is hurt for a team. There are several teams I will never select to win — Denver or Oakland — hey, I’m a Chiefs fan.

I just pick ‘em as I see or feel them.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets


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