Whatever the betting odds are for Sunday’s Super Bowl LIII showdown between the Los Angeles Rams and New England Patriots, a number of unlikely prognosticators are coming out of the woodwork with their own predictions.
In recent years, elephants, porcupines, sea turtles and one canine billed as “Winston the Psychic Dog” have hobbled, leaned, nibbled or otherwise selected their NFL favorite. This year, a guinea pig in New York and a white squirrel in North Carolina are trying their paws at the art of divination.
So why shouldn’t tots who attend La Cañada’s Hogg’s Hollow Preschool get in on the action?
For the third year in a row, children from the local school have done just that, participating in a game that combines running, seeking and object retrieval with a few basic math skills thrown in, according to Hogg’s Hollow program director and founder, Rose Hogg.
“One of the things we like to do is reinforce math lessons with games,” she said. “Somehow, it sticks.”
During a Jan. 24 field trip to La Cañada’s Mayors’ Discovery Park, preschoolers were told 48 mini footballs (24 representing the L.A. Rams and 24 for the New England Patriots) had been hidden somewhere on the park grounds.
They had five minutes to find and retrieve as many balls as they could and return them to a box. When time was up, teachers helped kids count the footballs by team to see which side had more.
The result? The Rams by a margin of 21 to 14.
It seems like fun and games, but the students’ picks have so far been uncannily accurate. In 2018, the tykes correctly placed the Philadelphia Eagles in the winning bracket. The year before, they were spot on with a prediction that favored the New England Patriots over the Atlanta Falcons.
“I don’t know how they did it two years in a row,” Hogg said. “I’m sure it’s just a fluke.”
Hogg’s Hollow parent Mark Kulkis says his 4-year-old son, Clive, is beginning to show interest in football, especially when partial to a certain team logo or jersey color. (A fan of blue, Clive was disappointed the Carolina Panthers didn’t make it to the playoffs.)
Kulkis said the game was a fun way to get kids running around in the fresh air while introducing basic sports concepts, like the fact each game has four quarters.
“They actually learned a lot about football in the course of it,” he said. “Now they’re all rooting for their team to win.”