Making predictions is fun, as long as you don’t mind being wrong

Seriously, don’t you love making predictions? I’m guessing most of you have filled out NCAA touranment brackets. Of course, I would also predict that you didn’t pick Harvard or Florida Gulf Coast in the first round, nor did you have LaSalle playing Wichita State for a spot in the Elite Eight.

But that’s OK. If you are going to prognosticate, you have to br able to deal with making mistakes. Sometimes mistake after mistake. The beauty of predicting sports is that you can quickly forget your totally unexplainable choices and choose only to recall the upsets that seem to make you smarter than you really are.

I remember as a kid telling my mother how an Indians game was going to turn out as the Tribe came up in the bottom of the ninth trailing 9-7. I suggested that Woody Held and Bubba Phillips would get on base and the light hitting Jerry Kindall (how’s that for showing my age) would hit a homer to win it. That’s exactly what happened, my mother was impressed and a fearless forecaster was born.

I guess I could include the reason my mom and I were listening to the game on the radio. I had gone to the local theatre in Attica (yes, there was one) to watch The Blob. I got so scared that high tailing it home to the safety of my mother and the ballgame seemed a logical thing to do. My fearlessness apparently only applied to predicting sporting events.

I’m sure some of the members of my wife’s family will recall a Thanksgiving Day prediction of a Chicago Bears game. I called the last three plays of the game, which involved a quarterback scramble of (exactly as predicted) 17 yards, followed by a touchdown that sent the game into overtime. The return of the kickoff for a game winning TD had family members looking at me as either a genius or the luckiest guesser in the world your choice.

Trust me when I say that I have made a million sports predictions in my lifetime and most of them were just like the baseball and football stories I just told you about. Don’t you believe that? Why do I have the feeling that you are predicting that I might be telling a little white lie?

All right, I have missed a lot more than I have gotten right. So what? That just makes me normal (so to speak) doesn’t it? So how about if I take a look at the sport of bowling, since this is presumably a bowling column.

I bet I could predict the names of 20 bowlers who will appear on the honor roll each week. You’ve seen the names week after week as many of them will appear more than once. That however, would be too easy. Instead, I will predict just why these people make the honor roll week in week out. Let’s take a look at the possibilities.

A They are lucky. Come on now. You can’t be lucky every week. Even though there is some luck involved in all sports, these folks make their own breaks. Put the ball in the pocket often enough and good things are bound to happen.

B They bowl several times a week. There might be something to this one. I am impressed when bowlers compete two, three or four nights a week. I believe any person will get better at any task the more they do it. When was the last time you missed your mouth with a forkful of food? I rest my case.

Then again, I could bowl seven nights a week and I don’t know if it would help. Why would I want to embarrass myself that often? I can do that just by predicting.

C They are good. It is a possibility you know.

I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that the answer is C. Fearless, I tell you. Fearless.

Chris Johnson led the way in the Sportsman League this week with a 715. Rich Yates Sr. posted a 708, Scott Hartsel 648, Rich Yates Jr. 632, Mike Kisabeth 631, Jim Ruess 629, Chris Rhodes 615, Jim Mason 605 and John Streacker 605. Rocket League scores included Tom Tiell 649, Tyson Shope 646, Steve Barnes 614, Beth Jones 607, Pat McCarthy 590 and Dottie Funk 525. Steve Steinmetz Jr. shot 711, Ben Hoyda 662, Steve Steinmetz Sr. 585, Linda Brookes 585, Deb Nominee 546 and Melissa Wilson 454 in the Imperial-Majorette League. Robin Dickman rolled a 604 in the Alley Cats League. Carla Siebenaller had 522, Lorrie Williams 518, Barb Carmon 496 and Janet Houk 491.

In the Wednesday Morning League Tyson Shope shot 678, Richard Yates Jr. 668, Ken Lofton 623, Tim Sturgill 603, Ed Wilson 571 and Harry Smith 570. Scores from the 55 Plus League included Bill Mizen 639, Jim Ruess 603, Dick Gabel 546, Bob Reinhart 534, Paul Gosche 525, Rick Hanna 522, Dan Coppes 475, John Ferstler 459, Dave Everhart 450, Jim Ferstler 424, Jim Donaldson 423 and Paul Fey 405. Steve Barnes shot 591, Dan Bolen 590, Ed Conrad 583, Robin Brownell 484 and Lisa Kraus 380 in the Twilight League.

Al Stephenson is The A-T’s bowling columnist.

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