News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 12, 2008

HUGHES, NEWS & VIEWS: Selfishness aside, let’s give sports figures what they need

By David Hughes

TERRE HAUTE — Welcome to my 19th annual Christmas column, where I ask Santa Claus to leave gifts for members of the Wabash Valley and world sports community.

This year, I promise not to ask Santa for any selfish presents. I have a great wife, my mother is healthy and my 2006 triceps injury is a distant memory, so I don’t need anything else.

I mean, there’s absolutely no reason for Santa to bring me a new answering machine for my home phone, a “The Baseball Career of Harmon Killebrew” DVD, a new alarm clock that actually works, two tickets to one of the Indianapolis Colts’ remaining home games or a 21st Century computer for my work station.

Seriously, I can live without these items.

No, really, I’ll be fine.

Just don’t do it, Santa.

But if you insist, just because I’ve been so good this year, I can make room under our tree.

Now on to the gifts that I’m requesting for others:

• For the above-mentioned Colts, plane tickets to Nashville, Tenn., so they can enjoy a January rematch with the Tennessee Titans after they meet in Indianapolis for the regular-season finale Dec. 28. (I think Indy can take them with a healthy Peyton Manning.)

n For Peyton Manning, a new bursa sac (whatever that is) so his knee doesn’t become infected again next summer.

• For Terre Haute South boys basketball coach Mike Saylor, a T-shirt that says, “Vigo County’s Senior Basketball Coach.” (Hard to believe after so many years of Hall-of-Famers Jim Jones and Pat Rady gracing our sidelines, isn’t it?)

n For seniors Jake Odum of Terre Haute South and R.J. Mahurin of Rockville, authentic basketball jerseys that say “Indiana All-Stars” on the front.

• For recently convicted felon O.J. Simpson, two gloves that actually fit in case his new home gets cold. (If Santa can’t find time to accommodate Simpson, maybe Fred Goldman can mail him something that expresses exactly how he feels.)

• For former Terre Haute North multi-sport standout Steve Weatherford, a long-term contract to serve as punter for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

• For Indiana State football coach Trent Miles, a verbal commitment or — better yet — a signed letter-of-intent from the 2011 NCAA Football Championship Subdivision National Player of the Year to become a Sycamore, starting next season. (I requested this last year, but maybe Santa skipped over that part of my column.)

• For Tribune-Star staffer John D. Wright, dozens of favorable reviews for his new book “The Terror of Terre Haute,” which chronicles the life of 1920s boxing legend Bud Taylor. (I plan to generate my own review of his book for next week’s column.)

• For fellow T-S sportswriter Craig Pearson, whom I face in our Pig Skinners League fantasy football playoffs this week, a sticker that says “Wait ’Til Next Year” to place on the side of his desk. (Never mind, Santa. He’s a Chicago Cubs fan, so he already owns plenty of those.)

• And for my new gym, the nice and clean Fitness Experts on Ohio Street, a new incline bench with a rack so that members like me can get the most out of our workouts in the free-weight room.

Oops, I think I just broke my promise.

David Hughes can be reached by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at (812) 231-4224; by e-mail at; or by fax at (812) 231-4321.