TERRE HAUTE —
Hello, readers. I’m kinda busy this year, so instead of rattling off a lengthy gift list for my 23rd annual Christmas column, I’m simply instructing Santa Claus to bring all of you an “Elf On A Shelf.”
That should please everyone, right?
Cool. Take care and Merry Christmas!
(Ten-minute pause, imagine “Final Jeopardy” theme music followed by “Jingle Bells” playing in the background.)
OK, I’m back. I guess suggesting one horrible present from Santa would be an unforgivable copout.
Below is a real sports-themed gift list. Enjoy.
• For all Terre Haute NFL fans, tickets for a huge party to watch an epic rematch of Indianapolis vs. Denver in the AFC playoffs, preferably in the championship game. I’m not sure which team would win if there is a next time — Colts handed Denver its first loss back in October — but each needs to play better than it has in recent weeks if it wants to reach the Super Bowl. They both made strides toward that goal in their victories on Sunday.
• For anyone planning to attend Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., an extra-thick hooded parka to stay warm while bar-hopping before the game. This ain’t Miami or New Orleans they’re going to.
• For Indy quarterback Andrew Luck, three blue-chip offensive linemen and a healthy Reggie Wayne for 2014.
• For Denver QB Peyton Manning, a fifth NFL Most Valuable Player award and his first as a member of the Broncos. For years, I’ve maintained that someday the league will present its future MVPs with the annual “Peyton Manning Most Valuable Player Trophy.”
• For Terre Haute South High School runner Jackson Bertoli, a large trophy case so he’ll have room for all the new awards he’ll win after he recovers from the broken fibula he suffered Dec. 14 in the Foot Locker National Cross Country Championships at San Diego. (News alert: Father Jim Bertoli said that Jackson’s cyst-removal surgery Thursday went well and he’s already talking about winning the IHSAA boys 3,200-meter run in the spring.)
• For anyone with strong opinions about Phil Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” being suspended by A&E … nah, I’m not touching that one. I’ve never watched the show anyway. But every person with a social-media account is required to mention his name at least once, it seems. I hope this counts as my one time.
• For the Indiana Pacers and team president Larry Bird, a written guarantee that they’ll have homecourt advantage throughout the NBA playoffs. That way, they should later receive the ultimate gifts — an NBA championship banner and their first Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.
• For retired NBA legend Bill Walton, unlimited airfare to Indianapolis/Terre Haute — good for the rest of his life — so the Big Red Head can visit our fine city as often as he wants. He sure was fun to have around during the Bird statue dedication weekend last month.
• For former Terre Haute resident Greg Oden, nothing material is needed. He’s already made millions of dollars, so he can buy pretty much anything he wants. Just bring him some magic healing dust, then hopefully he can fill the big-man role for the Miami Heat later this season. That might force me to root for the Heat a little, but that’s OK, except for when they play the Pacers.
• For the Rose-Hulman baseball team — a special request from longtime assistant coach Sean Bendel, who’s been very good this year — a few more wins in 2014 than the 15 compiled by the Engineers in 2013. I’m not sure how Santa can deliver that, unless maybe he puts bats and gloves with tiny, unnoticeable holes under the tree of Rose’s opponents Wednesday morning.
• And for myself, I’d better take this seriously because I actually received my gift request published in this column in 2011 (an iPhone). Let’s see, how about airfare to Florida, Hawaii, Las Vegas or California and an extravagant motel room for one week in January so I can escape this lousy Indiana weather? The older I get, the worse I handle Midwest winters.
Merry Christmas (for real this time).
David Hughes can be reached after 4 p.m. by phone at 1-800-783-8742, Option 4, or at 812-231-4224; by email at email@example.com; or by fax at 812-231-4321.