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Ashway: Having fun with the season of giving
Denton Ashway
DENTON ASHWAY

It’s that wonderful time of the year again: the season of giving. Whether you light the Menorah, trim the Christmas tree, or rally round the Festivus Pole for the annual sharing of grievances, we can all agree on the joy of giving.

And so we proceed, filled with holiday spirit, to bestow upon our unsuspecting friends in the world of sports some well-earned gifts:

Everyone: A new year that takes us back to the good ol’ days of complete schedules, packed stadiums, no non-weather-related cancellations, unmasked sideline reporters, announcers attending games, and no discussions of protocols.

We could leave it at that, but that would leave you with a hollow feeling, much like the one that accompanies being notified that a donation was made in your honor to The Human Fund. So let us continue with some specifics:

Brian Kelly: A large buffet table. He’ll have a lot of families to feed now that his Fighting Irish aren’t playing their Rose Bowl game in Pasadena. And if you really thought Kelly was serious about not accepting an invitation to play in a vacant stadium, don’t play poker any time soon.

Jimbo Fisher: A prescription for Donepezil. That might help him remember that his Aggies lost to Alabama, 52-24. Yes, A&M beat three-loss Florida. Notre Dame beat Clemson.

Nick Saban: Unlimited press conferences. He’s the master, and he’s still got it. When asked if he felt reinvigorated after missing the Iron Bowl, Saban replied, “Well, I didn’t know that I was not “vigorated.” I guess you have to not be vigorated to be reinvigorated.” After Alabama won another SEC championship game, Saban was asked if he was proud of his quarterback. “I’m proud of all of my players,” was Saban’s smug response.

Dan Mullen: A facemask that muffles his voice. Every time this guy opens his mouth, something idiotic seems to escape.

Dabo Swinney: A facemask that muffles his voice. Stick to coaching. We have an exclusive, hand-picked committee to select the four playoff teams. You’re not on it.

Chris Fowler and Kirk Herbstreit: A mute button in their booth. It’s absolutely exhausting listening this duo broadcast a game. They operate under the conviction that allowing a nanosecond of dead air to escape their booth is a crime against humanity. Their games amount to a three-hour assault of verbiage.

Gus Malzahn: A market for all those unused Auburn sweater-vests that no one else in the world seems to wear.

Army: Holidays in Shreveport. So, you sign an exclusive contract with the Independence Bowl to ensure that you have a bowl game in which to play, but they cancel the game, and then your 9-2 team has no bowl in which to play. O, the irony.

Atlanta Falcons: All future games are limited to 50 minutes in length.

Dan Quinn: A job with another team in the Falcons’ division.

Thomas Dimitroff: A job with another team in the Falcons’ division.

Todd Gurley: 20-year-old knees.

Julio Jones: 25-year-old hamstrings.

Matt Ryan: A 30-year-old arm.

Cleveland Browns: Playoffs! Playoffs? Yes, playoffs!

New England Patriots: Finally! A nice, quiet January at home in front of the fireplace, watching the playoffs.

Josh Pastner: Kentucky to become Kentucky again. That would be a nice signature win to have on the resume, especially after a rough start against some in-state schools.

Tom Crean: One of Hugh Durham’s red blazers. Anthony Edwards was Georgia’s highest draft pick since Dominique Wilkins in 1982. The next year, Georgia reached its only Final Four. This year, Edwards’ ex-mates have started 6-0. The last group that started 6-0 in Athens was that Final Four team.

Women’s College Basketball: A mercy rule.

Kim Mulkey: Some holiday spirit. What’s her deal? Her Baylor team whipped McNeese State on Saturday, 117-24. That’s right. They won by 93 points. For the second time in a row. On Friday night, they edged Northwestern State, 136-43. What could possibly be gained from embarrassing anyone to that extent?

Brian Snitker: Five more wins in the playoffs. Hard to believe that the guy who didn’t figure to lose his “interim” prefix has become the second-best manager in Atlanta Braves history. Leading a team with no starting rotation as far as he did was one of the great managerial feats of all time.

And to all you loyal readers: Peace, love, happiness, and being virus-free to enjoy them, now and throughout the new year.