My journalism background originated in sports, and continues in Reedley along with my editor duties covering the city. But sports never has really left me when it comes to my entertainment preferences.
Movies, theater, music, television? I’ve followed them, some more closely than others. But for all the people who get a kick out of reality TV, there’s honestly nothing more stark, honest and often dramatic than a high-stakes sporting event. Also, sports usually will deliver with precision to the adage of “truth is stranger than fiction.” Or the old reliable: “you can’t make this stuff up.”
That was never more on point than in last Sunday’s National Football League playoff game. My lifelong team of choice, the tradition-filled but often woebegone Chicago Bears, rose from the ashes of five miserable losing seasons and two coaching failures to win the NFC North Division championship and make the playoffs. Buoyed by a new, offensive-minded coach — along with the whirlwind acquisition of a game-changing star linebacker that turned the team’s defense into a true power — the Bears had become a bonafide power that some people thought even had a chance to make the Super Bowl.
But there were doubts. One major one was a kicker who had the annoying habit of booting field goal attempts and even relatively simple extra points into the goalposts (called uprights in the sport) as if a giant magnet had a pull on the football. This happened an incredible four times in one game this season.
It’s not a knock on the kicker. The best of pros miss, including one former Minnesota Viking who golf-shanked a final-play “chip shot” kick that not only didn’t win a 2015 playoff game, it ended the team’s season. There’s always the risk of a player failing in the clutch.
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