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Scott on Sports: The List

With apologies to Clement Clayton Moore: ‘twas the week before Christmas and all through the town excited young children tried not to frown! At this very special time of the year, life’s normal routine is anything but normal. The pace quickens, anticipation levels rise, and minding one’s Ps & Qs is of prime importance for Santa’s believers.

Recently passing a church message board the reminder of the season was quite evident. “I’m also compiling a list and checking it twice — God,” it stated.

At the complete other end of the spectrum, while driving to the Harrisburg area the other day a sign outside an adult establishment stated, “Merry Christmas — have you been naughty this year?”

So it seems lists and ‘scorecards’ are being kept by most everyone these days. But regardless of your personal beliefs, this time of the year, folks just carry on a bit differently than they do when the Christmas spirit is not in the air. People are friendlier, think more often of others, and are more prone to charitable giving or lending a hand to those in need. Many overspend as they try to find that perfect gift for a loved one.

While completing a banking transaction, I asked a customer service representative if she had completed her shopping. “I thought I had,” she replied, “until watching a Dallas Cowboy game the other night. They are my boyfriend’s favorite team, and Jason Whitten is his favorite player. Whitten caught a touchdown pass, and the thought hit me — he’d really like a Whitten jersey. So even though I had told myself I was done shopping for him I went over my budget and bought him that jersey. It’s Christmastime — why not?”

Santa’s sleigh will be packed with sports items of various sorts that are at the top of those lists from big and small alike. There hasn’t been a yuletide yet that hasn’t included some kind of sporting touch under our family Christmas trees. There have been books, tickets, clothing, gift cards, and equipment of all types that have been memorable and enjoyable.

One of the cherished photos in our family’s archives comes from a Christmas when our son Doug was four or five years old. At the time Socker Boppers were among the items on his Santa’s wish list. They were air inflated balloon-like boxing gloves, which found themselves under the tree on Christmas morning. He was thrilled and spent most of the day with his hands encased in the hoped-for gift.

What made it most memorable was the sight before our eyes. A few days before Christmas he had acquired a big black shiner under his right eye, the result of a sled riding misshape. On that Christmas morning, he was a sight to see, wearing a bright orange Miami Dolphins robe, the Socker Boppers on his hands, and his predominate black eye. Indeed, he looked just like a fighter finishing a fight!

Years earlier, while stationed at Loring Air Force Base in northern Maine, we took our two-year-old daughter Denise with us to Christmas Eve church service. At a very quiet poignant moment of the service, when “Silent Night” was about to be sung, our inquisitive, active daughter suddenly stood up on the pew seat, looked around and in a loud voice asked out, “Where’s Mr. Mooney?”

Mr. Mooney, some of you may recall, was a fictional character on the sit-com television program “The Lucy Show.” We had no idea where Mr. Mooney was and went about giving it our best effort to silence our chatterbox before the strains of “Silent Night” were forthcoming. No luck. Much to our dismay, we became the subject of many parishioners attention and later comments about “Isn’t she cute?” and, “I’ll bet you’ll have a great Christmas!” We did, but Mr. Mooney was not on anyone’s Christmas list.

I’m not privy to any advance scouting report on what items headed for Lycoming County addresses are on Santa’s list this year, but if some were making their list it might look something like this:

Keith Davis, Montgomery Boys Basketball coach — an injury free season for his nine-player squad. In the earlier season going the Red Raiders have not been able to field a junior varsity team.

Justin Mamon, South Williamsport Girls Basketball coach — continued improvement of his young team that won one game two seasons ago and five games last year. This year’s edition opened the season with two wins as they hope to continue its upward climb.

Gavin Hoffman, Montoursville’s returning state wrestling champion — a successful season seeking to become a three-time District 4 PIAA state champion. He entered the season as the country’s Number 1 ranked 195-pound high school wrestler.

The collective District Four football coaches with powerful Southern Columbia on their schedule — just find a way to become competitive with the eight-time state champions.

Oh, and to those folks who may have the New York Yankees on their shopping list — save your money and time. They’ve already got way more than they need.

From this column to you, in whatever way you may celebrate the season — Merry Christmas!

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