Tis the season, the wonderful time of the year for celebrating Christmas with family and friends.
The time of giving, especially to those less fortunate and to those in need. The time for celebrating another year of waking up alive each morning (as opposed to the alternative) The time for reflecting on the year that is almost past, and time to start thinking about all those new year's resolutions we will make and break, probably within a few months, weeks, days, even hours after the first tick of the clock in 2011 comes a week from Friday night.
The time for holiday treats, and time to start thinking about buying pants that are a another size bigger to squeeze all those extra holiday pounds into (thank goodness for stretch waists).
Have you been good this year, giving Santa plenty of reasons to visit in the wee hours of Saturday morning? Here's my wish list for Christmas for some of my favorite people in the world...
To Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini, a big win next Thursday over Washington in the Holiday Bowl, and a healthy Taylor Martinez for the bowl game. The freshman quarterback phenom was fantastic when he was 100 percent, but that hasn't happened since very early this season.
To McCook head boys basketball coach Tim Garcia, a couple of big men. I know Coach "G" won't trade any of his players on this year's roster, and no offense to any of the Bison varsity players this year. But I'd love to see a big man on this year's team, about 6-foot-5 or bigger, who could control the middle and trigger the Bison Young Guns' "run and gun" fast-break. Garcia's team is going to see some teams down the road that have at least one strong, tall player in the middle, and that will present matchup problems for the vertically challenged McCook boys. But on the other hand, can those big boys keep up with the Bison stampede? Regardless of the size of the Bison players, Coach Garcia and his squad are going to win quite a few games this season.
To Bison girls basketball coach Jeff Ellis and his team, many more wins, plus patience for the second-year head coach, and a couple of scoring threats. The Bison girls, 3-5, have already won three more games this season entering the Christmas break than they did all of last season's tough 0-25 campaign. The McCook girls have a ways to go to be a solid team this season, but the 2010-11 edition is a much better team than Ellis had a year ago.
The Bison girls could use a win or two (three would be lights-out) in next week's GNAC Tournament to supply a boost of confidence heading into the rest of schedule in January and February.
The Bison girls are, no doubt, a long shot to win the Class B state title next March. But hey, crazier things can happen, and Ellis has some talent. But I'd settle for continued improvement (and I'm sure Coach would, too) and hopefully the Bison girls can become a competitive, confident group when districts roll around.
To Bison wrestling coach Nick Umscheid, a few more healthy bodies. Umscheid's Bison mat squad has been tough so far this season, with a team title at the Holdrege Invite and fourth at Valentine last week despite several open spots each time out in the varsity lineup. I can't wait to see the Bison compete when the expected varsity competitors are all on the mat at the same meet.
To McCook head swim team coach Lori jumps, continued improvement from her swimmers. McCook is the smallest school in the state competing in swimming and diving, and the Bison always have a tough time competing with the state's Class A schools. Coach Jumps always stresses individual improvement, and several of her competitors have already made big strides early this season.
The Bison divers, coached by Kim Korgan, are the strength of the team, and I'm betting there will be more than one representative wearing a Bison 'speedo' on the one-meter diving board at the 2011 state meet.
To Josh Cherry, at least one long field goal in the Pinstripe Bowl in the Big Apple next Thursday. Good luck to Mr. Cherry, McCook's native son, who will boot the ball as Kansas State's starting place kicker in the bowl game against Syracuse in a historic contest at Yankees Stadium in the Bronx. The bowl game will be Josh's final game in a KSU uniform, and I hope he can cap his collegiate career with a bunch of PAT kicks, a few field goals, and a KSU win.
Oh my goodness, New York City, be warned -- Pat Cherry is coming there next week!
To Fred Backer, an ice-cold refrigerator on Christmas Night.
To all sports fans everywhere, a very Merry Christmas, and best wishes for a prosperous 2011. God speed to all our servicemen and women stationed overseas, especially those in harm's way in the Middle East. May you all be safely reunited with your loved ones very soon.