This time of year I usually play Santa and send out my Christmas wishes for Columbia County's athletic programs.
This year I'm going to be a bit selfish - I'm going to let the readers in on my personal wish list for the upcoming year in sports.
For this holiday season, let's start with the biggest wish of all: a college football playoff for Division I-A.
I'm wishing that Michigan can beat Southern Cal by a point in a controversial ending at the Rose Bowl, while Oklahoma and LSU play to a sloppy tie in the Sugar Bowl.
Then four teams could lay claim to the national championship, and that would be the death knell for the Bowl Championship Series fiasco.
If this wish comes true, perhaps a decade from now the BCS will be forgotten like eight-track tapes or the Rubik's Cube.
Wish No. 2 gets very personal.
For Ashton Kutcher to come running in my house to inform me that my Pittsburgh Steelers' dismal season was just an elaborate prank by MTV. The Steelers actually are 13-2 and have the home-field advantage for the NFL playoffs.
The third wish is for all the critics out there.
I would like the pessimists and cynics to shut up and just enjoy NBA rookie LeBron James.
Some people love to put him down, but I'm amazed by King James. He's just 18 years old, but he had displayed great maturity and immense talent. Just six months after graduating from high school, James is averaging 19.2 points, six rebounds and 6.2 assists per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Also, James is playing 40 minutes a night and shooting a respectable 42.7 percent from the field, which is better than Kobe Bryant, Vince Carter, Paul Pierce, Tracy McGrady, Allen Iverson, Steve Francis and Latrell Sprewell. James also has posted a shooting percentage four points higher than Carmelo Anthony, the NBA's other heralded rookie.
In James, we are witnessing rare greatness. Why not sit back and enjoy?
Here's a wish shared by many - some help for Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.
This guy is amazing. I'm not a Falcons fan, but I certainly will admit that Vick is fun to watch.
If Atlanta owner Arthur Blank and team general manager Rich McKay can find some players to complement Vick, one of the worst franchises in NFL history could become a consistent contender.
Here's a wish to see a local star wearing green next spring: a Masters title for Charles Howell.
Gene Sarazen's double-eagle in 1935; the chip in by Larry Mize in 1987; Jack's thrilling victory in 1986; even Tiger's record-breaking performance in 1997 - all of those Masters moments would pale in comparison to Howell donning a green jacket in 2004.
If I were to write a movie script - in which the lead character's first trip to Augusta National ended with him seeing fellow Augustan Mize snatch a Masters win, then 14 years later the hero returns to win golf's biggest prize - no one would buy it. The script would be written off as too unrealistic.
But sports brings us these unbelievable stories all the time, and I'm hoping the unexpected happens for Howell this April.
My wish list could go on forever, but let me end by wishing our president to guide this country with wisdom this year.
I also would wish for a safe return for our troops in foreign lands, where they are spending this Christmas fighting to keep all of us safe here at home.
When you're celebrating this holiday season, remember that some families don't have their loved ones at home for Christmas.
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