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Verbiage is key is sports

District champion or is it regional champion? I’m so confused here in Iowa when it comes to high school sports management — two state entities supervising athletics and activities. Verbiage people verbiage?

My case in point of confusing can be illustrated with last Friday’s “state qualifying meets” for track. We see the same situation in the fall for cross country. Those are the only two sports which are coed.

Cooperation between the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union for this is commendable. But…why can’t we agree on calling these events districts, regionals or substates for both girls and boys? I don’t really care which “title” we choose.

State qualifying meet is a little long for a headline or even in stories. I don’t know which term to use for a girl or girls’ relay which wins an event or for a boy or boys’ relay which wins an event at one of the track meets — district champion or regional champion. Or is it State Qualifying Meet champion?

Let the cooperation go further. I’m just leaning on my 30-plus-year career covering high school sports in Kansas. Kansas high school and middle school activities — athletic and non-athletic — are governed by one organization for girls and boys.

I’m looking at it from a writer’s point of view. With the shrinking space in newspaper, we in journalism are working to write tighter and more concise articles. Help us out a bit here IGHSAU and IHSAA.

Talking about verbiage — this has bugged me a bit since the April 17 bat flip/hit batter incident between the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox. I want fun in my sports, especially the professional ones because its about entertainment as well as athletics. I want personalities in those sports also.

I also want good character in the players. I don’t want to see anyone get hurt either. All that said, I watched reruns of the “plunking” of the White Sox batter Tim Anderson by Royals’ pitcher Brad Keller, and I didn’t see the major players in the drama to be too upset then the benches cleared and all the players were on the field.

Anderson didn’t charge the mound and actually talked with Royals’ catcher Martin Maldonado as he walked down the first-base line. There didn’t appear much talk going on between Anderson and Keller.

It was a plunking not a beaning as one sportscaster here in Iowa called it. A beaning is a throw at the head of a batter. Keller hit Anderson on the hip.

As a Royals fan since they became a MLB club in 1969, I can tell you there’s no love loss between the Royals and the White Sox. Chicago’s Anderson is not a favorite among Royals’ players or fans. He hit a home run off Keller in the fourth inning of that game and did a big bat flip.

I’m not a fan of bat flips but whatever. People found videos of Mickey Mantle doing bat flips back in the day so it’s not a new thing. But neither is a pitcher hitting a batter as a message the next time he comes to bat, which is possibly what Keller did although he said the pitch got away from him.

My view is if you are going to describe the incident use the correct verbiage. Another thing, let it go sports writers, the game is over and the teams have gone on. Keller and Anderson were both ejected from the game and both drew suspensions from MLB.

History between the two American League Central teams will continue as it has been.

Now, back to Iowa.

Spring high school sports seasons are winding down. Troy Hyde and I will be busy Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the 2019 Iowa High School State Track and Field Championships. The three-day event features all four classifications — both girls and boys — on the Blue Oval.

Sprinkle in a little prep golf, soccer and tennis this week and we’re covering the five Jasper County high schools. Postseasons began this week and run into the next couple of weeks.

High school softball and baseball games begin Monday and Tuesday. Summer is here.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at

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