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Holiday Tidings Extended To The Sports World
Here's Hoping Fans Get What They Want, Too
Happy holidays to You. Yes Virginia, after watching a profusion of television specials about Coach Santa Claus and his short-on-height, but long-on-depth teams these last few weeks, my faith in the legend of Old St. Nick is restored.
But, like my 6-year-old daughter said last Thursday, "I'll bet Santa sure will be tired by Christmas Eve, dad, after visiting the kids at all those malls."
Christmas can be a tiring time too. And I'm sure you are weary of my week-in and week-out opinions on this team and that one.
So, this week, a bit of a respite. In keeping with the spirit of the season, allow me to extend a few sincere, (and some not so sincere) holiday wishes to a few special people. Some of them we know very well, others are not so recognizable, but they make it happen in sports just the same. The Fans.
Bob Watkins
Cats' Pause Columnist
It is my fondest holiday wish that...
Pervis Ellison... Louisville's prize freshman center has the serenity to remember who he is.
Howard Cosell ... has the serenity to realize who he isn't.
AI McGuire... has the serendipidy to realize that he needs some new cliches.
Kentucky Coach Eddie Sutton... has the good sense to remember who really pays the freight.
Louisville Coach Denny Cram... stops making TV commercials for Cadillac.
Roy House of London, Ky.... gets to make a road trip with the University of Louisville basketball team Feb. 22...to Houston.
Jerry Claiborne... a partridge in a pair tree and three recruits like Ken Pietrowiak.
Al Baker... has the good sense to realize that his future is in Kentucky.
Dick Butkus... will make more TV commercials with Bubba, Boobie, Billy, Boog...and Rodney.
Brace Springsteen... will be nominated for a Nobel Prize.
Western Kentucky Coach Clem Haskins... will get word from his school's administration that the coach and team are in for a vote of confidence Christmas gift  a new 5-year contract for Haskins.
Winston Bennett... will be reminded by his family doctor that it takes fewer of the 80 facial muscles to smile than it does to frown.
NCAA's Walter Byars... retires to one of his farms.
NCAA rales committee... throws away the Book.
NCAA executive committee... asks Bob Knight, Denny Crum, John Thompson, Rollie Massamino, Bob Cremins and Lou Carnesecca to be part of a committee to rewrite NCAA recruiting guidelines.
John McEnroe... will have a personality transplant before the next Wimbledon.
Chris Evert-Lloyd... has one more glorious day against Martina Navratilova.
Joe Theismann... has the gumption enough to take his money and run.
Mary Lou Retton.. will remain energized for Seoul.
UK's Eddie Sutton... has an afternoon with Wildcat fan David Hall of McRoberts, Ky.
David Hall... receives two tickets in the mail for the UK-Tennessee game, Jan. 25 at Rupp Arena.
Zola Budd... earns another date with Mary Slaney in Seoul.
Kenny Walker... has a visit with Virginia Harvley of Sonora, Ky.
Rod Messer of London, Ky.... gets to make a road trip with the University of Kentucky basketball team Jan. 18...to Florida.
Kenny Walker... will start a new fade in eyewear.
Tom Marshall of Mt. Sterling, Ky.... successfuly taps into Kentucky's basketball computer (recruiting) system.
Rex Chapman... finds a compatability level with reaching his potential and having a good college experience.
Hal Teegarden of Brooksville, Ky.... gets to hang out for an afternoon with Rex Chapman and Eddie Sutton.
Bobby Knight... spends a year on assignment...following Washington Post writer John Feinstein around in preparation for a novel on the sports media.
Dan Issel... gets a ton of money from his book Parting Shots and gives a chunk of it to charity.
Joan Benoit... an old hat and 26 miles of good road in Seoul,
Letters to Santa Claus
Kids are extra wonderful at Christmas time aren't they? What follows is a collection of letters to Santa from little kids in Kentucky I chanced to read this week.
 From Kelli: "Dear Santa, I have been good. I want a book, skate board, drum and a pen that writes in red, white, blue and green. Logan is still a rat. Don't bring him much."
 From Jamie: "Dear Santa, I will leave you 19 cookies and 18 glasses of milk.
 From Tiffany: "Dear Santa, Watch the chimney because we haven't cleaned it this year.
 From Mary Elizabeth: "Dear Santa, I would like only one thing. Give the kids something that don't have a mom or dad.
Jerry Claiborne
Al Baker
 From Relukah: "Dear Santa, Will you bring me something to go from Pasqqulies Pizza Friday night at about 9 or 10?" Comment: Kids. They're the best game in town, aren't they?
Cheers and jeers
Yes, the holiday season has a few of these as well.
CHEERS to Pat Williams, GM for the Philadelphia 76ers on North Carolina State Coach Jim Valvano. "They had a scandal at his place," Williams quipped, 'They found three players in thie library."
JEERS to former heavyweight boxing champion Larry Holmes for saying, 'Rocky Marciano couldn't carry my jockstrap."
CHEERS To Steve Garvey who said, "When they asked God to make a baseball player He carved out Pete Rose. The rest of us were made from the chips off the mold."
Comment: Wonder who they were?
JEERS to the so-called Seat Belt Rule in high school basketball. It keeps a coach on the bench while the ball is in play at risk of a technical foul.
CHEERS Maybe some good will come of the rule. Coaches will behave themselves.
Special salute
Acknowledgement to a fellow named Art Spander, a sports columnist in San Francisco who last summer posed the rhetorical question, "Where have the (sports) heroes gone? Joe DiMaggio...Joe Louis et al...?"
"What we hate to see is a world of sports turned upside down where the winners are graceless and the losers are tactless, where we're so concerned about the destination we can't enjoy the journey. We need athletes who are worth idolizing, athletes who want to win but know how to lose." Parting shots
 From Clinton County a snicker about former UK basketball coach Joe B. Hall, now a banker in Lexington.
"Did you hear the one about Joe B. Hall being taken hostage in a bank building?"
Seems the robbers were holding Hall and the bank guards could have gotten the situation under control if it had not been for the problems they were encountering from Hall.
He kept shouting, "Don't let the guards shoot! Don't let the guards shoot!" Comment: Hmmmm.
 In October Minnesota football coach Lou Holtz was warning his coaching colleagues not to put too much faith in lifetime contracts. "At some schools a lifetime contract means if you're ahead in the third quarter, and moving the football, they can't fire you."
Two months later Holtz was the new coach at Notre Dame. Comment: Holtz's new team had better do more than "move the football in the third quarter."
 Seems a well-to-do college football coach was told that his star freshman running back would not be eligible to play in an important game in mid-season because of academic problems.
"But we've got the big one coming up Saturday," the coach pleaded with the adviser. "Can't you find some kind of test he can pass so he can play at least this week?"
All right, coach, the adviser said, "call the boy in. If he answers one question correctly then he can play." The player came into the office.
"Add 2 plus 2 and you can play," the faculty man said.
"Two plus two," the young man mused. He thought it over for a couple of minutes and then a light seemed to go on. "Four!" he said with emphasis.
Standing nearby the coach yelled as if in pain. "Give him another chance! Give him another chance!"
And so it goes.
Happiest holiday greetingsM