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With all that's on my list, Santa's reindeer have their work cut out for this year

On Sports
Rochester Business Journal
December 14, 2012

After I watched “Miracle on 34th Street” the other night for the fifth or sixth time, there was no way I could not send Mr. Kris Kringle, aka Santa Claus, a list of things the sports world and others need to find in their Christmas stockings on the morning of Dec. 25.

As this is written, I am dreaming of a white Christmas, which is usually a given here in Upstate New York. Right now, though, we are snowless. Let’s hope it happens so Santa’s reindeer won’t have to pull his sled through mud and Rudolph’s bright and shiny nose will light up the night.

There are so many things we not only want but need, and dear ol’ Santa might be the only person who can make them happen. So, Mr. Claus, here they are, in no order but just as they popped into my pea brain: 

Give all athletes the gift of realizing that they are not the most important people or things on the planet and that they are lucky to have us fans—not that we are lucky to have them. You know, a dose of humility, and if they don’t have a clue what that means, arrange to meet with them, Santa. And while you’re at it, throw in a bag of anti-cheating substance that I hope they’ll OD on and wake up Dec. 26 knowing that not cheating is far more important than not getting caught. 

For all of us, how about politicians whose No. 1 goal is to make this a better country and not to just get elected or re-elected? Yeah, Santa, I know, that’s quite a challenge, but see what you can do, OK?

Then there’s the NCAA Division I championship football game, legendary Notre Dame vs. Alabama in the first week of January. There will be a four-team playoff tournament in 2014 for the first time in D-1, so how about leaving the NCAA’s Moe, Larry and Curly a note to suggest that the title game be played before Memorial Day?

If you can find one, make one or buy one, would you consider bringing the Buffalo Bills a general manager or a coach who can recognize a good quarterback when he sees one? Assuming he ever sees one.

And even more important, put a one-way ticket back to Georgia in Bills coach Chan Gailey’s stocking and another to Alabama in general manager Buddy Nix’s stocking. Being an old Southern boy from Louisiana, I love their accents, but that’s about it. The Bills need true grit, Santa, not just guys who love grits!

Oh, and also in the South, dear Santa, bring to my Northwestern State Demons whatever it takes and whatever they’re missing so they can run the table next season—and not just in football, where they were 4-7 this season, but in every sport.

And while we’re down South, bring the New Orleans Saints a gift to put them back to where they were in 2009, when they won their first Super Bowl. Hint, Santa: How about a defense that can stop something harder than running water! And while you’re at it, a new, long-term contract for suspended coach Sean Payton, but no bounties!

Then there’s Major League Baseball, Mr. Claus, where spitting and opening and closing the Velcro on batting gloves after every pitch drives too many of us crazy! So here’s an order, not a request: In commissioner Bud Selig’s stocking, put a new rule allowing no more than one spit per at-bat for both the batter and the pitcher. If the pitcher does it more than once, it’s an automatic ball; if the batter breaks the new rule, it’s an automatic strike. Should work, Santa!

As for me, KK, give baseball and us fans more Derek Jeters and no more Barry Bonds. Why? Well, it’s self-explanatory.

I don’t know if it’s possible, even if you have time to make it happen, but how about brains for the National Hockey League owners and the Players Association? Otherwise, we might have no 2012-13 season.

For the USGA, wrap up a brand spanking new golf rule book that is no more than three pages long to replace the 200-page book now in use. And that’s belly putters or no belly putters, Santa!

Then there’s some other local stuff here, Santa, which I hope you can make happen. A Calder Cup championship for our Rochester Americans and a Governor’s Cup for our Rochester Red Wings. Oh, and while you’re at it, a local women’s soccer team led by our own Abby Wambach, who wasn’t voted the female athlete of the year but should have been. Did you blow that one, Santa?

Finally, if you can make it happen, Santa Claus, bring more love and hugs into the world, a world where hate should be outlawed and caring should take over.

Thanks, Santa! And I can’t wait to reach into my stocking Christmas morning!

Rick Woodson’s column appears each Thursday on the Rochester Business Journal website at His book, “Words of Woodson,” is available at Listen to his weekly program, “The Golf Tee,” at 9 a.m. Sunday on WHTK-AM 1280 and FM 107.12/14/12 (c) 2012 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or email

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