Whether you light the Menorah or the Christmas tree, or perhaps gather around the Festivus Pole for the annual airing of grievances, ‘tis the season of giving. In that spirit, we once again bestow upon our friends in the sports world the gifts we’d like to see them receive:
Mike Smith: Good health. His Falcons just clinched their fourth-straight winning season, and it barely rated a notice. We’d hate to see chest pains drive him from the sideline, and the team back into the Dark Ages of Mora, Henning, Campbell, Hecker, and myriad others.
Jim Tressel: A new sweater-vest. Any colors except scarlet and gray.
Atlanta Braves: One more win. Maybe new hitting coaches will help.
Craig Kimbrell: One more save.
Chipper Jones: One more season.
Frank Wren: One more day. We know you’re itching to make a trade, and one involving Martin Prado and Jair Jurrjens would be a bad one. Just take it one day at a time. Just make it through today without making that bad trade.
Paul Johnson: A smile. And a defense. And a bowl win. If he enjoys what he’s doing, why does his sideline demeanor always display disgruntlement? And is that why he always has to push his players onto the field with the next play?
Mark Richt: A contract extension. And a Bulldog Nation that appreciates his efforts, and realizes that a change is more likely to bring in a Ray Goff or Jim Donnan than a Vince Dooley. Even Florida has only hit .500 with its last four coaches.
Paul Hoolahan: A clue. The Sugar Bowl CEO could have chosen from myriad one-loss, Top 10 teams. Instead, he chose Virginia Tech, a team that couldn’t even win a middlin’ conference because it lost to Clemson. Twice. His other choice, Michigan, couldn’t even reach the championship game in its middlin’ conference. Margaret Hoolahan could’ve made better picks. Who says this system isn’t broken?
Lexi Thompson: Space. Yes, she’s a fabulous golfer, but she’s only 16 years old. Apparently the massed media won’t rest until she’s another Michelle Wie, burned out at age 18.
Mark Fox: A frontcourt.
Northwestern: A first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance.
Indiana: A football team. Hey, Kentucky’s a basketball school, too, but the Wildcats manage to win more than one football game every fall.
Tim Tebow: Knee pads.
Craig James: A senate seat. Just what we need inside the beltway: another expert in palm grease. Remember, this is the guy who took a pay cut when he left SMU for the Patriots.
Jim Boeheim: Discretion. Geez, you’d think by now he’d know when to keep his mouth shut.
Jim Mora, Jr.: Another head coaching job on the left coast. The UCLA gig will keep him as far away from Atlanta as possible.
LeBron James: Sorry. No one can buy you a championship.
Lopez Lomong: An Olympic gold medal in the men’s 1,500-meter run. Remember Lomong? The former Lost Boy of the Sudan, who spent 10 years in a Kenyan refugee camp, carried the flag for the USA team in Beijing. He just received his degree from Northern Arizona University, graduating with a 3.5 GPA. Who better to end the long US drought in the 1,500? The last American winner was Mel Sheppard, in 1908 — the same year the Cubs last won the World Series.
Steve Spurrier: Four more years, and a rematch with Nebraska. Though not the quote machine he once was, he can still rise to the occasion. As in, “We’ll see how Georgia plays when they know they have to win.” We saw. Georgia 45, Auburn 7. He also finally gets another crack at Nebraska. The last time was in the 1996 Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska 62, Florida 24. Ah, memories.
Miami Marlins: Fans. It’ll take more than 19,000 per game to cover their suddenly exorbitant payroll. Otherwise south Florida shall witness The Third Great Purge. And who want to sit in a stadium so quiet you can hear Ozzie Guillen cuss in two languages?
Atlanta Hawks: Wait —are they still in the league? Didn’t they move to Winnipeg? Or was that the Flames?
The BCS: A new sloganeer. “Every Game Counts.” Seriously? The biggest game of the entire season meant nothing to either participant. What if Alabama wins this time? Shouldn’t they play a third game?
Oklahoma State: Abolition of the BCS.
Stanford: Abolition of the BCS.
Boise State: Abolition of the BCS.
Les Miles: The latest edition of Grammar for Middle School: A Sentence Composing Approach.
And to all of you loyal readers, peace, love, and happiness, now and throughout the New Year.