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David Pressgrove: Trendy pickings

By now most of you have probably heard that the Washington Redskins’ loss last weekend was supposed to predict a John Kerry victory.

Just in case you didn’t hear, this is how the theory went: Fifteen of the past 16 elections were correctly picked by how the Redskins did on the Sunday before the election. If they won, the incumbent won the election. If they lost, the challenger was the victor.

Well, the ‘Skins lost, and the incumbent won. Not only were Redskins fans saddened after the 28-14 loss, most of them had an even tougher Tuesday (the District of Columbia’s electorate had the highest support for Kerry with 90 percent of the votes going to the senator from Massachusetts).



The “Redskins Theory” was the most popular trend on the news Tuesday, but it isn’t the only one that predicted the presidential election.

According to ESPN the Magazine, there were several predictors that forecast President Bush to win. The last three times a horse with a two-word name won the Kentucky Derby in an election year, a Republican won the White House. This year’s winner was Smarty Jones.



Since 1992, if the NBA Slam Dunk champ in an election year plays on a team east of the Mississippi, a Republican has won. Indiana’s Fred Jones won.

Is anybody else seeing a new trend?

Anytime the winner of the Kentucky Derby and the slam dunk competition share the same name, the incumbent wins.

Did you know that since the 1960 election, every election year a baseball team with black buttons on its away jerseys has won the World Series the Republican candidate won?

You didn’t? Well, that’s because I made it up.

I made up the last trend to make a point. Isn’t it funny the extent that we’ll go to try to entertain ourselves?

The whole Redskins thing was fun. It was completely accidental and haphazard, but it made for an interesting note on Election Day.

Streaks and trends in sports come and go, but the need to find new trends will always remain. Last year the Moffat County High School boys basketball team couldn’t win when I was at the game. In the games that I covered they went 3-8, when I wasn’t there they went 10-1. What did my presence really have to do with their record? Absolutely nothing. Just like the Redskins loss had nothing to do with Bush winning. But it was a silly, somewhat useless fact that you might find on Jeopardy if Craig, Colo. was one of the categories.

Who actually looked at how many names the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby had in an election year? Originally I wanted to make fun of us sports writers for trying to make sports relevant to all parts of life. I was going to come to the conclusion that we try too hard or that we feel left out because when you get down to it sports should really have little bearing on life. You know what though, sometimes there is relevance in what the professors of my profession do.

Every time I cover a game I’m looking for trends. Coaches have told me that the questions I ask, particularly about the ones about what I see develop during a game, help them for the next competition.

I’ve been told that my questions keep coaches awake at night because they hadn’t thought about things that way. This isn’t because I’m some sort of genius; I think most sports writers doing their job somewhat effectively find things that others might not think of. What else do we have do with ourselves? We are sportswriters, which basically means we think we are sports experts.

Now we have four more years to come up with some crazy trend about Hillary Clinton and the next Republican candidate. Starting Monday I’m going to start digging for Moffat County trends to predict the next presidency. Keep reading sports fans. Maybe some team in Craig could decide the next election.

One trend that is for certain, when a red-headed sportswriter from Kansas has too much time on his hands he thinks of some off-the-wall columns.

That you can depend on.


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