Sports Santa, as he always seems to be this hectic time of year, is in another state of disarray.
SS has misplaced his watch. It's an old Pulsar, which has been resuscitated several times by a jeweler. SS has turned his home, office and sleigh upside down, as well as his pockets.
It's nowhere to be found.
The only reason SS cares about the timepiece is that it has sentimental value, a gift from Mrs. Claus years ago.
Oh well, it's the season when SS must separate himself from the pratfalls of everyday life and get on with giving the rich and famous gifts to help comfort them.
It seems like more athletes and celebrities have been naughty rather than nice in 2009 and here's who's on SS' list.
• A clean slate for Royce White, the suspended University of Minnesota men's basketball star. SS believes Royce might be one of the best players ever produced in Minnesota. SS saw him play a few times last year and he reminds SS of a youthful Dr. J. Royce is 6-8 and 250 pounds of dunking athleticism. Unfortunately, he hasn't been able to stay off the police blotter. SS hopes that young Royce can turn his life around and become a productive member of society, let alone have a post-high school basketball career.
• A new life for Tiger Woods. The greatest athlete on the planet needs to get his personal "affairs" in order. First, he likely has to deal with an ugly divorce. Playing in a PGA Tour event can't be on his radar anytime soon. Tiger hasn't been seen in public since his infamous car accident at his home in Florida. Can you imagine the media mob and the throng of fans that will flock to the first event in which Tiger decides to participate? His coming out party will make the Super Bowl resemble a Minnesota Lynx game.
• An offer to become chairman of the Insight Bowl for Gophers football coach Tim Brewster. The firing of Glen Mason three years ago, and the hiring of the unproven, superlative-spewing Brewster, has thus far been a lateral move. Minnesota is 14-23 since coach Brew seized the reigns and the Gophers continue to qualify for pedestrian bowl games like the Insight where 6-6 teams get to play. Under Brewster's leadership, Minnesota has shown no inkling that it will move up in the Big Ten. If coach Brew is shown the door, athletic director Joel Maturi needs to hire the football equivalent of Tubby Smith.
• An airline ticket to Los Angeles for owner Zygi Wilf because that's where his Vikings will be playing since the state will be unable to build him a new stadium. Unfortunately, the state has more pressing needs, like education, roads, billion-dollar deficit, etc., than to build a billionaire a stadium. Wilf could endear himself to the Minnesota sporting public forever by building it himself but that's not how pro sports play the stadium game. SS hopes Vikings fans enjoy themselves this season and the next two. The only consolation when the Vikings move will be that fans will no longer have to fret about Minnesota losing a fifth Super Bowl.
• Thank you notes for White House party crashers Tareq and Michaele Salahi. The reality show wanna-bes managed to slip into a state dinner even though they were not on the guest list. In addition, SS' favorite late night talk show host has been telling a story about how a couple on a tour of the White House was invited to have breakfast with President Obama. The talk show host joked that it seems John McCain and Sarah Palin were about the only people not able to make it into the White House.
• Orange jump suits for Richard and Mayumi Heene. The Associated Press reported Wednesday the Heenes were sentenced to jail - 90 days for Richard, 20 days for Mayumi - and barred from profiting from their newfound celebrity status for the next four years for the frenzy that was caused when Richard claimed his 6-year-old son had floated away in a giant helium balloon shaped like a flying saucer. SS hopes the chance for a reality TV show, the Heenes' ultimate goal, deflates faster than their balloon.
• Happy holidays to you all!
Mike Bialka, sports editor, may be reached at email@example.com or at 855-5861.
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