Disclaimer: At this time of year, most sports columnists will write their typical Christmas column that involves the columnist playing Santa and giving sports individuals gifts for the coming year or writing about their wishlists for the sporting world. I have always thought these columns were a little, what’s the word, lame. That being said, because I am a sports columnist I am obligated to do this type of column, plus I am pretty excited about it.
Tis the season for giving gifts, but more importantly for receiving gifts. For most of us, this means receiving gifts from Santa Claus. I began to think about the current sporting landscape and thought to myself, “If I were Santa, what would I give…?” If I were Santa this year, these are the gifts I would give.
To Ron Artest: I would give Ron Artest a nice spa retreat to a lovely mental hospital of his choosing. In addition to that I would give him a sense of gratitude. Gratitude for the way the Indiana Pacers stuck by this guy even as he became a villain and the epitome of everything that is wrong with the NBA. If he is traded, I hope that he enjoys playing for a team that is more likely to lose 55 games than compete in the NBA Finals.
To all the players in the NBA: I would give every player in the NBA uniform shorts so long that the waist would be at their chins and the shorts would still drag the court. I would also allow the players one day a week to wear whatever they wanted to on the court. This would of course be casual Friday.
To Donovan McNabb: I give Mr. McNabb two straight weeks of peace. There will be no attacks on his leadership, no attacks on his health, no attacks on his skill, and no attacks on his blackness. I still have not figured out how McNabb has become the bad guy in this whole Terrell Owens mess. I may not think much of TO’s agent Drew Rosenhaus, but his publicist is awesome. It would seem that all of Philadelphia is now on TO’s side, including teammates. I am sure Donovan is just as confused about this turn of events as I am.
To the Indianapolis Colts: I give to you the gift of an undefeated season in 2005. What’s that? Oh, sorry about that. This was one I really wanted to give. I am getting a little tired of the 1972 Miami Dolphins popping the champagne and celebrating every time the last undefeated team of the NFL season gets beat. They are like a traveling band of buzzkillers that takes pleasure in the dashed dreams of others. So to the Colts I will give you a consolation gift, a Super Bowl victory.
To Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa: A nice quick, quiet retirement. Have a nice life.
To the Cleveland Indians: To the Cleveland Indians I give a World Series championship in 2006. That’s right, 2006 is your year. The last two champions have been teams that have gone the second (Chicago White Sox) and third (Boston Red Sox) longest period without a World Series championship. The Cleveland Indians are the next in line. Sorry Cubs fans, recent history shows us that your team will never win another World Series.
To UK football coach Rich Brooks: Well, you already got your present from UK athletic director Mitch Barnhart when he decided to bring you back for one more season. Enjoy your year because it will probably be your last.
To UK coach Tubby Smith: I give you patience from at least one person in the state. I also give you realistic goals for this season. I will only expect a 28 win season and a Final Four finish instead of a 30 win season and a championship. I will give you a break this year.
To U o L coach Rick Pitino: I give you forgiveness from your constituents for losing the big one. I, on the other hand, applaud you for it.
To Randolph Morris: I give you, Randolph, appreciation. Appreciation for all that Coach Smith and the University have done to keep you from ending up in Russia playing basketball in a renovated gulag. I also give Randolph the ability to filter out shysters and agents who try to get him to leave UK for the greener pastures of the NBA. Stay for the rest of this season and the next and I believe you will be fine.
To ESPN fans: I give you less Chris Berman and poker. Both of these things give me headaches and severe abdominal cramps, I just want some relief. I believe that next year ESPN original movies will be added to this list because those are already giving me double vision and dry mouth.
The Texas Longhorns basketball team: I would give the gift of a Texas Rose Bowl win over USC to take some pressure off of your crazy season, but we all know I can’t do that. So I just wish you good luck and I will make the Big 12 just as mediocre as it is every year.
To the USC Trojans: I give you a Rose Bowl victory, but I really wish you could let Texas stay in the game for a half. I expect USC will score 21 points on the Longhorns in the first quarter and I know that Big 12 football is a joke, but I am hoping that Texas can stay within 10 points for one half. Throw us a bone for crying out loud.
To all the NFL players on my fantasy team: I give you as horrible a showing in the playoffs as you gave me. You lead me to a first place finish but then you didn’t show up for work during the first week of the fantasy playoffs. I now must root against you for the rest of the season. Well, except for Carson Palmer, it’s not your fault Carson.
To the Cincinnati Bengals: I give you a fine showing in the playoffs and a full year of being referred to as the Cincinnati Bengals and not the Cincinnati Bungles.
Those are just a few things I would give to the sporting world if I were Santa Claus. My own personal sports wish list includes an NCAA title for the UK Wildcats, a World Series and a Super Bowl victory for Cincinnati, the return of softball and the introduction of kickball to Ohio County, and a stick.
I will be taking some time to enjoy the Christmas season and will return in the New Year. Thank you for putting up with my ranting and raving and I hope my faithful readers (all three of you) as well as the rest of you have a Merry Christmas, a happy holiday season, a Happy Festivus and a happy New Year.