The 2017 year has finally come to an end. For many it felt like dog years since 2016.

This year reminded me of the turbulent 60s when I was a teenager. There will be books written for many years about 2017. My mom has always taught me to look forward and use the past a teachable moment for the future.

The sporting world had as many political stories as did our general society this year. Sports used to be a positive outlet for people to break away from the real world to support their favorite teams or players. Sports have been dragged into every corner of our culture from politics to social issues. It is important for us to adapt to the times, but my hope for 2018 is that the sporting world could return to the games and sport itself, so we could just enjoy being a sports fan.

The Kansas City Chiefs have had one of the most up and down seasons in the history of the franchise. Even with that the team can win back-to-back AFC West championships for the first time in the 58-year history of the organization. The real test will be if the team can win some playoff games.

Most everyone feels that the team needs a little luck to continue in the playoffs.

The 2018 season is shaping up as the year of Patrick Mahomes. It will be a test for the No. 1 draft choice. The gurus will be so happy to see that Alex Smith is not running the show anymore. Let’s hope the young gun is all he is cracked up to be. For all those Alex Smith haters, you better realize that Smith’s five-year run with the Chiefs put the franchise back on the NFL map.

The Royals are heading into 2018 letting everyone know that the rebuilding years are here. This is the right move if they are dedicated to rebuilding – not just a half-and-half approach. The biggest free agent signing for the Royals is the return of General Manager Dayton Moore. He has proven himself as a builder of teams, and the chance of the team to get back to a high level in the league is much greater with Moore as the franchise leader. As a baseball fan, you need to be prepared for a couple of long summers as part of the rebuilding project.

 

As a college basketball fan, you must like the chances of Kansas, Mizzou and Kansas State making the NCAA tournament in 2018 for the first time in many moons. The area could really use a successful year for all the local teams. Northwest Missouri State still looks like one of the teams to beat for the NCAA Division II Championship again this year. If you are a college basketball fan, 2018 is looking very promising.

I am picking Alabama to win the 2017 National Championship in college football, played in 2018. The Crimson Tide is going to have time to heal up all those linebackers, and Nick Saban will have the Tide ready to go against a very, very good Clemson team.

Oklahoma and Georgia will have a great semifinal contest. The Sooners can score on anyone, but they could not stop the Sisters of the Poor. It will be a very entertaining game to watch. The winner will be whoever has the ball at the end of the game. Let’s hope MU and Kansas State can have another bowl bid status team in 2018.

Man, it is hard to talk about KU football. At least the university is going to invest money in the football facility to attempt to breathe new life into the program in 2018.

If you are an NBA fan it looks like a repeat of the Warriors and Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. The only teams that look like they really have a chance to break through are the Celtics in the Eastern Conference and the Rockets in the Western Conference. That is a long season for the same old same old.

The 2018 high school sports seasons are always the most fun to watch because young people play for the love of their sport. High school sports do not have recruiting classes ... WE HOPE!

High schools do not have a draft or free agency either. High school sports may be the best deal for true sports fans. The contest is played with homegrown players who care about the team they play for and not for how much money can be made.

High school sports will still have many challenges in 2018. Participation rates are down in many sports. Injury issues like concussions have become an important concern for high school sports. Parent involvement/interference issues have been on the rise for the past 15 years.

Young high school athletes are encouraged to quit participation in a sport if things do not go their way. The new year can be one to learn from past mistakes and continue to gain from all the positive aspects associated with being part of a team. The word “”team” is the greatest word in the English language. More than any other time since the 60s, that word is being challenged. However, the key to success is to turn teachable moments into a positive outcome. Have a very positive and enjoyable 2018.

My quote for the year comes from NFL owner and founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Art Rooney, “Class is an intangible thing. Different people show it in different ways, but it does not take long to surface, and it is easily recognizable.”

Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.