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Wide World of Sports take me away

Take me back to the days of ABC’s Wide World of Sports. I loved that show on Saturday afternoons.

Doors were opened to so many of the “minor” sports during the 30-plus years the show ran. The rise of so-called sports channels is said to have been the show’s demise.

“Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport ... the thrill of victory ... and the agony of defeat ... the human drama of athletic competition ... this is ABC’s Wide World of Sports!” Can’t you just see that poor skier featured in “the agony of defeat” shot spinning out of control down the snow-covered hill.

Now, we have all the ESPN and Fox channels, but a lot of those you have to invest more money in to be able to view. ABC’s Wide World of Sports brought us close to skiing, figure skating, surfing, gymnastics and track and field for free.

Plus it was kind of fun during Saturday’s late lunch to sit at the table and watch something like the firefighter’s competitions or the logger sporting games.

Of course, the voice of the show was Jim McKay. McKay was to me for sports as Walter Cronkite was to news. You just knew those guys knew what they were talking about.

Now that football has ended and all that is offered is basketball on channels, I really long for Wide World of Sports. I’m not much of a basketball watcher. This feeling comes around every year for me at this time.

With all the local high school winter sports concluded, I had a little time to peek at my teams south — in Kansas. My Kansas State Wildcat men are really struggling this season on the basketball court. Now, the Wildcat women’s basketball team is in the mix at the top four of the Big 12 Conference standings.

The Wildcat men are at the bottom of the Big 12 Conference standings and haven’t reached 10 wins overall. They are 9-20 overall and just 2-14 in conference play. We lost a lot of experience to graduation and really haven’t come together with several freshmen in the starting mix. Tough go for my Cats.

K-State’s women are tied with Iowa State for fourth in the conference after road victories by both teams Tuesday. The Wildcats and Cyclones have 9-8 marks in Big 12 action. K-State has a 15-13 overall record.

Wrestling was still on my radar over the weekend as I kept an eye on several high schools in Kansas, which had its state championships Friday and Saturday. I was sports editor in Iola, Kan., for 29 years and watched wrestling programs born at the youth level, then middle school and high school levels.

My nephew, Stephen McDonald, wrestled in the first youth wrestling club in Iola and the inaugural middle school team. Seven years ago, Iola High School had its first-ever Class 4A state wrestling medalist as McDonald finished second at 220 pounds. McDonald was a two-time state qualifier — sophomore and senior. He missed his junior year with severe knee injury in football.

On Saturday, the IHS Mustang wrestling program has its first-ever Kansas Class 4A wrestling champion in Logan Brown at 285. For all of us who witnessed the sport being born in Iola and Allen County in the mid-2000’s, we are proud of Brown. The sport has grown into two other high schools — smaller districts — and that’s tremendous for that area.

A couple weeks ago, I saw former standout and state-qualifying wrestler Duncan Lee at the Class 3A district tournament at Marshalltown. He told me watching the Newton High Cardinals wrestle at district got him pumped up for Central College’s upcoming regional tournament.

Well, pumped up Lee was. Lee, a senior for Central, captured the 285-pound NCAA Division III regional championship. He advances to the 2020 NCAA Division III National Championships March 13-14 in Cedar Rapids. Great job Duncan Lee.

I’ve had a little eye on my Kansas City Royals as they are in spring training. Last time I looked, they were 4-6 in the MLB Cactus League under new manager Mike Matheny. My biggest heart leap was to see Salvador Perez behind the plate again. Opening Day is March 26 at the Chicago White Sox for the Royals then their home opener is April 2 against Seattle.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at

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