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2017 good for sports — the rest, not so much

Posted on Saturday, December 30, 2017 at 5:00 am

Ken Jackson
Picks of the Weak

Here we are, the last weekend of the year, a time to look back on the 51 that came before it, wrapped up in a single calendar.

Years ago, I used to put together an end-of-year list of silly highlights called the KENNY (Keep Endeavoring, Nevermind Next Year) Awards. But 2017 was a soft, cuddly animal in its youth but grew up to be an ugly animal with jagged teeth that we’d just as soon see locked away to not be thought of again.

Sports-wise, it was much like any other year. My problem is I didn’t start writing sports in 2017 until Nov. 1, and by then, out on the front page, our community had suffered through the shooting deaths of two Kissimmee police officers, the nasty weather from Hurricane Irma and the desperate pleas of those we know and have extended a place to who had to run from the effects of Maria in the islands.

Leave the past in the past, I say.

But there was good news and fun stuff in 2017. The Super Bowl was a bizarro world of a comeback for the Patriots. The Houston Astros won their first ever World Series championship, in their first year since 1984 they didn’t begin their year with spring training in Kissimmee (imagine that).

Locally, Osceola High kept a county streak of state boys basketball championships alive at two when they beat Wekiva High back in February to become the first-ever Class 9A champion. Several other individuals won state titles, and the Florida Fire Frogs brought Kissimmee back to the professional baseball ranks, representing the Atlanta Braves in the Class A Florida State League. They’ll be back for Year No. 2 in April.

If there’s any hope for 2018, local high school basketball squads, like Osceola and Gateway’s boys, Osceola, St. Cloud, Harmony and City of Life’s girls, have gotten off to capable starts this season.

Ah yes, 2018, a new year bringing new hope for us all. I have hope that next year will be great, so here’s the Mighty Osceola News-Gazette Divine Nine New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Celebrate New Year’s like a responsible adult — for a change. 2. Watch more bowl games — the corporate sponsors need the money. 3. Spell every athlete’s name right in 2018. 4. Exercise more; a veiled way of saying, “Less work, more volleyball, soccer and golf!” 5. Get the outside Christmas decorations put away before St. Patrick’s Day. 6. Avoid playing fantasy football, again. 7. Do a better job maintaining the numbers — not my weight, the budget. 8. Start Christmas shopping on Labor Day, be done by Halloween. 9. Revive the KENNY Awards for 2019.

Normally I put, “Make better football picks” on the resolution list. But you all know better. And to see if yous guys can tell the difference …

Orange Bowl, Wisconsin (-6.5) at Miami: Remember when these teams were undefeated? It was less than a month ago. Home ‘Canes by 4 points and 2 turnover chains.

Jacksonville at Tennessee (-6): All hail the playoff-bound Jaguars, who must be in love with 2017. They can hand-pick their playoff opponent; Titans if they lose, Buffalo or the Chargers if they win. IF they win … Titans by 3.

New Orleans (-7.5) at Tampa Bay: Bucs can ruin Saints’ hopes of being a division champ and make them a mere wild-card team and … oh, nevermind. Saints by 14, Bucs mercifully to offseason.

Peach Bowl: UCF vs. Auburn (-9.5): When the game is over UCF fans can move on with life and finally escape the Scott Frost-inspired, month-long episode of Knights Of Our Lives … War Eagle by 6.

Citrus Bowl: Notre Dame vs. LSU (-3): Orlando to be overrun by Catholics. Maybe they’ll stay through the Epiphany. Happy Irish by 7 in Holy Upset.

Rose Bowl: Oklahoma vs. Georgia (-2): Bulldogs fans finally getting what they’ve asked for the last 20 Christmases — relevance. Jawja by 3.

Sugar Bowl: Clemson vs. Alabama (-3): Gee, the other SEC team favored in a national semifinal. Why do we even bother? Oh yeah, so King Saban can get revenge for last year. Roll Tide by 7.

One last prediction:

2018 over 2017 by midnight Monday. And not a moment too soon.

 

 

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