Wow, 2017, did the time ever seem to fly this year. Feels like yesterday I was down in Des Moines for State soccer but then I realize that was just nearly seven months ago. Of course the weather was certainly a lot warmer than it is right now. I’d take an 85 degree day over this -4 nonsense all year around, but this year just went by in a blur, didn’t it?
I thought about making a basketball joke as the year calendar year starts and ends with basketball and wrestling, but again, wanted to think of warmer times. This was an interesting year for sports at the local, state and national level.
Locally, we had a couple of close calls in the basketball season for a couple of teams going to the State tournament. I still remember the call against the Newell-Fonda girls to end that regional final and still can’t believe that was called in that situation. The Alta-Aurelia boys sadly ran into a budding contender to end their season.
At least there was a lot of success at State track with a few local athletes winning a State title. I feel like the Storm Lake boys soccer team got a raw deal at State against Norwalk. Drawing them in the opening round just like it was set up intentionally to get Storm Lake out of the playoffs. Maybe I’m just too much of a conspiracy theorist, but it just felt all a little weird to me. I would’ve gotten the best picture I’d taken all year down there at State, but the shot was just a little bit too out of focus.
I still kick myself in the rear for that one.
I don’t think baseball/softball season went as well as many teams hoped it would have. A couple got close to State but fell short. I was looking forward to a possible trip to Fort Dodge or back down to Des Moines, but you can’t win them all. Well, a team could, but then it gets a little boring to expect it time after time.
It was interesting during football season that a majority of teams had a chance to make the playoffs for most of the season, everything coming down to the last couple of weeks for most of the schools. Sioux Central was probably the most pleasant surprise in football season this year. Just a shame they were matched up in the first round against a high powered offense that trampled every team they played this year. Volleyball also had a couple of teams make a good run in regional play, but just came up against a couple of the wrong teams in the end.
The jury is still out on basketball and wrestling, but based on the early season portions, it should be a run ride the rest of the way for the respective seasons for both sports. I look forward to what the spring and summer sports of 2018 hold.
Some of my highlights of a bigger state and national level this year are: the Super Bowl. What a comeback that was by the team everyone loves to hate, New England. I never thought Atlanta could blow a 25 point lead but they proved us all wrong. With the play calling that game, it isn’t hard to reflect back at the game and see why New England came back to win. Atlanta gave them the game which gave us one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory. Say what you will about the Patriots but can you think of one Super Bowl with them since Brady start that wasn’t exciting?
Speaking of football, the biggest story since this new season began was the whole protesting issue. I’m not going into it, it’s been beaten from all sides like a dead horse, but it was probably one of the biggest if not biggest sports story of 2017. I think the AP named it as such, actually. Regardless, that kind of leads me to a small tangent.
Vince McMahon, owner of World Wrestling Entertainment, is seemingly getting everything ready to revive his failed football league, the Xtreme Football League. How bad of an idea is this? The NFL ratings are taken from people cutting cords and protesting, so how does this guy think he’d be able to pull ratings in week after week? I just don’t understand how McMahon wants to try this football league again after going down in flames for his first attempt.
The NBA Finals were a joke despite everyone knowing for months it’d end up being Cleveland and Golden State. It doesn’t look to be all that different this year either. The NBA is in some serious need of help to stop this super team stuff. Although people do seem to forget the first super team of this era actually started in Boston which led to LeBron going to Miami which people credit at the first super team. Confused yet?
My biggest NBA highlight was Michael Jordan saying what we’ve all been thinking. The league is a two or three team league with 28 other teams not having much of a chance. He isn’t wrong and that’s what bugs me about it.
Here’s hoping that 2018 brings us another great year of sports at every single level. And, as a two for one special...
We’ve all been guilty of this more than once. Our team, was in a position to win, but an ill-timed whistle from a referee puts the kibosh on the hopes and dreams of winning. The final horn sounds and the game is all but over.
The fans get up from the stands, very disgruntled, and go back to their cars complaining about that outrageous call that cost our team the game. We’ve all been there before and I’ve even done it before when I’m at home watching a game on TV. Most recently in my case was the Iowa State/Kansas State football game with a couple of curious calls that went against the Cyclones.
I was livid, yelling at the TV and generally not all that happy for the rest of the night. Having to go out later that night, I found myself still in a rage over the missed or reversed calls and yelled at a stoplight for being red. I tend to take Iowa State football seriously despite the mediocrity of the program.
Anyways, why do we always target the refs for the inability of our teams to close a game out down the stretch. For every one play we remember the refs getting wrong and not in our favor, there are countless other plays that shape the game and how/why it will end like it does.
The biggest reaction I can remember being at a game since I’ve started working at the Pilot Tribune was the Newell-Fonda girls regional final game against Kingsley-Pierson in basketball. It was at a neutral site, in Cherokee, and there was a questionable call to end the game that knocked the Mustangs out of the game with no time left.
I remember walking back to my car after the game with stunned, confused and upset Newell-Fonda fans who began bickering with Kingsley-Pierson fans about the nature of that call. Look, it was an unfortunate way to end one of the biggest games for either team last season, there were plenty of other ways the game was decided that night, just not that one singular call.
Missed shots, missed free throws and turnovers always turn the tide in a basketball game. It’s a game of momentum and missing shots or turning the ball over can turn that tide against a team. It’s always easier to use that call to scapegoat why a team lost.
As I sat watching the Liberty Bowl with David Montgomery’s fumble, I once again began to lose it on the refs, thinking that the fix was in to cost Iowa State another win. Sometimes we just get wired to keep blaming the refs for every single small problem in a game that doesn’t go our team’s way.
Are there ways to fix this? No, not really. I’ve tried numerous times to just relax and see the outcome of the game happen naturally, but when we see something that we think is an injustice, we tend to speak up about it more often than not.
The best way to go about this is to simply, well, try to relax and remember it’s just a game. We’ve all been told that a few times, I’m sure. This is only a game that we’re watching. We aren’t playing in it, we are simply watching for the enjoyment of the sport. Nothing more and nothing less about it.
Look, being a ref is a hard job. They pretty much know every night in they are going to be yelled at by the crowd for a handful of calls. They aren’t there to be popular, they are there to do what they think is right. How about we just cut them and ourselves a break and enjoy the game?