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Nick’s Picks | Looking for Sunshine in a Miserable Week A Few Silver Linings

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7 minute read

The week begins with pain and disappointment as many Kansas Citians come to terms with an unexpectedly lopsided loss in the Super Bowl. And it doesn’t help that all week we’ll be battling the worst weather of the season, with what feels like temperatures below zero. 

Can you believe this? It’s not expected to get above freezing again in Kansas City until Friday of next week.

Is the gloomy weather a metaphor for what many of us will be feeling this week?

I was looking up what a loss in the Super Bowl means for the health of fans in the defeated city.

Does it mean more people call in sick the next day?

Does productivity slump?

Do cases of depression rise?

Are there more road rage and angry encounters?

I’ve been digging for answers and what I found was something that surprised me. 

Yes, on Super Bowl Sunday, one team will claim victory and the other, defeat. But psychologically, according to experts, fans will wind up winning — no matter the score.

While the celebrating may still be going on in Tampa right now and millions of people here are still feeling the hurt, sports fans are more psychologically healthy than those who don’t follow sports. 

Those are the findings of Dr. Daniel Wann, the author of “Sport Fans: The Psychology and Social Impact of Spectators.”

Chiefs flag waves in Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs flag flies at Arrowhead Stadium. (File photo)

His studies over the past three decades find that all things considered, ardent sports fans have lower rates of depression and higher self-esteem than those who don’t follow sports. 

Wann, a professor at Murray State, says passionate fans also experience lower levels of loneliness and tend to be more satisfied with their lives than non-sports fans. 

Fandom, even during bruising losses, he claims, connects us to other like-minded people, which satisfies our human need for belonging. 

Of course, that may still not make up for Sunday night’s bruising defeat against Tom Brady. But according to Wann, while the joy of victory can linger for months, ardent fans usually recover quickly — typically within three days.

So will we see more smiles around town on Thursday? I’ll be watching as I conduct my own psychological experiment. I’ll report back.

‘Fighting For Her Life’

A 5-year-old named Ariel will dominate local newscasts for much of this week. 

She’s the young girl who is fighting for her life after being seriously hurt in a crash involving Kansas City Chiefs Assistant Coach Britt Reid. 

The Kansas City Police Department is still investigating the cause of the collision and Reid’s involvement. Reid is the son of Chief’s head coach Andy Reid.

A police report claims Reid admitted to having two or three drinks before driving. 

No charges have yet been filed against Reid. Investigators say they are still awaiting blood toxicology results. 

Britt Reid has faced previous DUI charges. He’s also been charged with gun and drug-related crimes. 

In a separate news development, the head of Mothers Against Drunk Driving has requested a meeting with Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt. The group has a partnership in place with the Chiefs to educate players about the risks of impaired driving.

Impeachment Trial Begins

Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial begins this week. 

You can watch the proceedings in the Senate chamber starting at noon on Tuesday. We’ll be broadcasting the entire trial on our second channel, Kansas City PBS 2. We’re also streaming the trial on our webpage at

It will take a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict the former president of the impeachment charge, which is “incitement of insurrection.” If all 50 Democrats voted to convict him, 17 Republicans would have to join them to reach that threshold.

Former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial starts tomorrow, Feb. 9. (File photo)

That’s considered unlikely after almost every Republican senator voted to dismiss the trial as unconstitutional two weeks ago. 

But that’s not stopping one Republican group from attempting to change minds. The Republican Accountability Project is spending $500,000 on television ads targeting senators they believe could flip. On that list is Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran.

Missouri Takes Up Police Residency 

Should police officers have to live in the city in which they serve?

It’s a question that will be debated this week in the Missouri Senate.

Kansas City police officers have long been required to live in the city. But that policy would be removed under a bill now working its way through the legislature. 

Opponents of the residency requirement say Kansas City officers should have a choice in where they want to raise their families. They also argue eliminating the residency requirement would help with officer recruitment. 

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas is among those opposing the move. It’s argued that allowing officers to live outside of the city would break down community trust and reinforce the perception that the police are an occupying force.

Complicating the debate is that the police residency bill has been combined with another police reform bill that includes a ban on chokeholds and sex with detainees. That will make it a tougher vote for particularly Democratic lawmakers who have been demanding police reforms.

No Path Forward For Transgender Bill

Last week Kansas was making national news after four state lawmakers introduced a bill to criminalize medical treatment for transgender youth.  The bill would make it a felony for doctors to provide medical treatments to help transgender youth transition.

After all the headlines, the measure is likely to go nowhere this week. 

The chair of the Health Committee in the Kansas House says the bill won’t get a hearing because the panel has too much other work.

Prisoners Get Vaccine

Who will get the COVID-19 vaccine this week?

In addition to seniors, Kansas prison inmates will begin getting the shot starting today. The decision has been condemned by Republican lawmakers in Topeka. 

They argue it’s wrong for convicted criminals, including murderers and sex offenders, to be in the front of the line ahead of tens of thousands of Kansans with medical conditions that put them severe risk if they contract the virus. 

A spokesperson for Gov. Laura Kelly claims the early vaccination of inmates is necessary to control community spread when prisoners and staff leave a corrections facility.

Senate Democrats also argue that refusing to give inmates priority could lead to a lawsuit against the state for housing prisoners in substandard conditions.

A Lot Of Surge, Not Much Plummet

I read an interesting thought piece over the weekend about how the news media is far more likely to report stories about surging and skyrocketing statistics than they are when the numbers are moving in the opposite direction. 

It got me thinking. How often do we in the media say the numbers are plummeting? Usually, it’s when we are referring to the weather and talking about plummeting temperatures. 

The story was about news coverage of COVID-19 statistics, both here and in Europe. Do we report only the numbers that go up and forget about the numbers that go down? 

With that in mind, I should point out that over the weekend, Kansas City reported the lowest number of daily COVID-19 cases since mid-October.

And while it may be an exaggeration to say the numbers are plummeting, the Kansas City metro area also reported the sharpest decline in coronavirus hospitalizations.

Hospitalizations fell by nearly 19% over the past week, the biggest drop since last fall, according to the Mid-America Regional Council.

 In fact, only one county in the metro saw an increase of new hospitalizations, and that was Clay County.

Exclusive Sneak Peek

All of Kansas City’s big museums and attractions shut down during the pandemic. Almost all have reopened, with one big exception. The Truman Presidential Library and Museum in Independence has been shuttered for the past 18 months. It closed in 2019 for a mammoth renovation project. And while that work is now wrapping up, the virus has slowed down its reopening. 

While there’s still no word on when the new-look Truman Museum will allow visitors inside, this week you can get an exclusive sneak peek at what’s been going on behind those closed doors.

You can step inside the $26 million reimagined Truman Museum this Wednesday night at 6 p.m. on a virtual tour. 

You can reserve your digital seat by clicking on the events tab at

The Show Must Go… Online

You may have seen the news over the weekend about Disney on Ice. All of the show’s performances at T-Mobile Center were shut down after what the health department claimed were “multiple and repeated” violations of the city’s COVID rules.

The story demonstrates the enormous challenges facing all performing arts organizations as they try and navigate a return during a pandemic.

This week, the Broadway musical “Something Rotten” makes its debut at the White Theatre at the Jewish Community Center. 

All of the actors and actresses will be wearing clear plastic face shields. And while they’ll be performing as usual on stage, they’ll now be looking only at a camera. With continuing worries over public health, they’re going virtual. 

So, the show must go… online. 

It starts Saturday. Click here for more information

Ringing In The New Year

Break out the champagne. 

Later this week we will be ringing in the New Year. 

The Chinese New Year, that is. 

It starts Friday, coinciding with the first new moon of the lunar calendar.

We will be saying goodbye to the “Year of the Rat” as we usher in the “Year of the Ox.”

According to Chinese folklore, the Ox is an esteemed animal that represents hard work, positivity and honesty.

Valentine’s Day

We have another holiday to celebrate this week.

Sunday is Valentine’s Day.

How will you be celebrating it?

Now that we’re in a pandemic, it’s unlikely you’ll be sending flowers or massive balloon bouquets to your loved one’s office. And many Kansas Citians may also still be skittish about heading to a restaurant to celebrate this day of love. 

In the past, I have bought concert or show tickets for my sweetheart around Valentine’s Day. That’s not happening this year either.

According to the National Retail Federation, we will still plan to spend an average $165 on Valentine’s Day gifts this week. That’s $32 less than we budgeted last year. 

Their research finds three ways we will be marking the occasion differently this year.

No reservation required: With continued concern over COVID-19, just 24% of us will celebrate with an evening out this year. That’s the lowest in the survey’s history. So most of us are swapping an evening out for an at-home meal or celebration. The National Retail Federation survey finds delivered meal kits are going to be really popular this Valentine’s Day as we try to recreate a fine-dining experience in our own kitchens.

Love in the COVID bubble: This Valentine’s Day we’re going to be spending a whole lot less money on other people. It makes sense. With many schools now operating virtually, there won’t be many cards and candies handed out to classmates this year, or teachers for that matter. The same goes for co-workers. One group that won’t be ignored this Valentine’s Day is our pets. According to the retail federation survey, just like last year, 27% of Americans plan to buy Valentine’s gifts for their pets.

Skip year for young people: And the final trend is that our young people might be deciding to sit this holiday out entirely this year. Compared with last year, those between the ages of 18 and 24 are significantly less likely to celebrate Valentine’s Day.  So can we call this a gap year for dating?

Nick Haines dissects the week’s most impactful local news stories, Fridays at 7:30 p.m. on Kansas City PBS.

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