Well here it is, the last Christmas that starts with 19. We are of course
aware of the split between the people who say the millennium ends in a few days
and those who say it begins in a year and a few days, and of course the latter
argument is correct, but the mad dog bombers are gunning for this January, so it
must have some significance. But that's a few days away, or a year and a
few days. We've been reprimanded by both camps, so we're covering our bases, and
anyway it's Christmas, which is or should be one of the sweetest seasons in any
The gift-giving is nice, but the generosity behind it is nicer still.
At the end of the day, putting tribalism of all stripes aside, we're not that
different from each other. Recently we saw a list of several specific
traits which identify human civlization - cooking food, burying or cremating the
dead, religious ideas, rites to indicate passage into adulthood and so
forth. There's not that much that sets us apart, and if you doubt it, ask
yourself if your enemy wants his child to die. The question answers itself.
Recently we heard a guy named Ali call in to the Jim Bohannon show and tell a
good joke on West Virginia - he was a Marshall fan - saying that their song was
"I'll be home for Christmas." We loved it - a Muslim immigrant who
caught the Marshall fever so thoroughly. But after that, he did something
wonderful, we thought - he wished Jews around the world a Happy Hannukah. Given
the level of acrimony between the two faiths, we thought that was truly touching
and very moving, and it put a lot of things in perspective.
So for our Tar Heel friends, we hope you, but more importantly your children
and loved ones have wonderful Christmases, we wish you good health and the best
possible fortune in every possible area save one. To our Kentucky fans, we
wish nothing but the best also, again with the single exception of any games
with Duke. You guys are amazingly devoted fans, even if sometimes you do
take it too seriously, and we greatly admire your passion.
To our other ACC friends, we have some more general good wishes.
- To State, we wish continued improvement and an NCAA berth. You are
talented and deep and it's time for you to reappear on the national stage.
N.C. State is too proud a name to fade away.
- To Wake, we wish a long and fruitful relationship with Dave Odom, who, it
appears, was born to coach the Deacons. It's hard to imagine how
anyone could have done a better job.
- To Maryland, we like your young team probably more than any Maryland team
in - well, gosh, maybe ever. What a nice bunch of kids. They
deserve to do well, and we hope they do.
- To Virginia, we hope Pete Gillen continues his sensational building job
and continues to remake UVa's image as a speedy, zippy, fun team to
- To Clemson, though Larry Shyatt doesn't celebrate Christmas, we wish for
patience to get through what looks like a nightmarish season. He's a
good coach, as his brief stint at Wyoming proved, and he's a guy who truly
appreciates Clemson, and that isn't an everyday occurrence.
- To Tech, we hope Bobby can manage to pull through his career death
spiral. Cremins we like for a number of reasons: 1) he reads books,
and not just mysteries. 2) He's spontaneous and warm and funny, and he
smiles when the world is coming down around his ears. 3) He did a
teleconference interview from a bathtub. 4) He obviously loves this game,
but he's not so obsessed that he lets it run every aspect of his life. In
that regard, he reminds us of Al McGuire.
- To Florida State, we wish some talent. Steve Robinson is an honest
man, we believe a good man, and a superb tactician. We want to see what he
can do with some real talent. We suspect it'll be fairly amazing.
- To Bill Guthridge, we hope that your fans soon have reason to be pleased,
(but not against Duke of course)
A few individual players:
- Chris Carrawell - We have the greatest admiration for your journey.
We hope you get a first round contract - after you get your degree.
But even if you don't, we're sure you are going to make it. There's not much
that can stop a guy like that.
- Nate James - we hope your injury bug is through.
- Brendan Haywood - We hope you realize you have a significant talent for
this game, because we believe that you do, and would hate to see it
- Will Solomon - we hope you get some support from your teammates. No one
could do more in your situation.
- Chris Burgess - we hope you are happy in Utah. We really do. Being unhappy
- Kenny Inge - we hope you find a spring of love and drink long and deep
- Justin Gainey - we hope everyone realizes what a spectacular career you
have had, and that someone snaps you up as a coach. You seem like a natural.
- Juan Dixon - we admire your courage as much as anyone we can
remember. You have no parents to spend Christmas with, ever again, as
they both died of AIDS. We know you'll be lonely today, and you'll
probably cry, and we hope all ACC fans take a minute and think of you
on Christmas Day and wish you well. We certainly do. God bless you, and thanks for giving those of us who haven't suffered some valuable perspective.
Also, this probably a good time to say Jennifer Jordan, noted UNC fan, is out of the hospital we understand and recovering.
If you are alive today, life is good. Enjoy the day, love your family, and try and do some good somewhere.