What does Christmas mean to me?
It means joyfully witnessing the tornado that is the unwrapping of gifts by my grandchildren, who annually justify my belief that spending 10 minutes to wrap a gift in picture-perfect style is pointless when it takes children what seems like one-10th of a second to obliterate all the hard work.
It means watching the holiday classics with those same small individuals.
“The Grinch That Stole Christmas.” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” And, of course, my all-time favourite, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Linus’ re-telling of the Christmas story from the Bible makes me shine inside every time.
But it also means the sharing of gifts—be they of the tangible or spoken/written word variety.
On that note, I present a series of sports-inspired gifts to certain members of the athletic world which I have been fortunate enough to write about since my return to the sports desk here at the Times four months ago:
•To Wayne Strachan and the Fort Frances Lakers—new luggage that hopefully will be used for springtime trips to Wellington, Ont. for the Dudley Hewitt Cup and Vernon, B.C. for the RBC Royal Bank Cup.
•To the Muskie court sport teams—a four-title sweep on their home floor at the NorWOSSA playoffs in February, and similar success against their Thunder Bay foes in the NWOSSAA finals.
•To the Muskie girls’ hockey team—a historic first-ever trip to the OFSAA championships in Sudbury in March.
•To the Muskie boys’ hockey team—clear vision to help keep their eyes on the prize and earn yet another NorWOSSA title and OFSAA berth;
•To the Muskie curling squads—in-turns that burn their opponents and an endless supply of rocks on the button.
•To the athletic department at Fort High—a much-needed upgrade of Highway 502 so school reps don’t have to dig through their couches at home for spare change to fund the 75 percent increase in road trips to Dryden.
•To organizers of the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship—20 more teams and 20 terrific ideas to make the 20th edition of the championship one to remember (my vote for the nighttime entertainment remains with “Great Big Sea”—what could be better than a band from Newfoundland and Labrador headlining a fishing tournament?)
•To the Rainy River District Women’s Fastball League—more teams on the circuit and no more 30-year breaks between seasons.
•To the Fort Frances Curling Club—the possibility of one day landing a provincial women’s or men’s curling championship.
How cool would it be to have Brad Jacobs or Glenn Howard, or Rachel Homan or, for that matter, former Muskie and proud Devlin native Jenna Enge (as part of Tracy Horgan’s Sudbury rink), shooting for a berth at the Tim Hortons Brier or Scotties Tournament of Hearts right here in Fort Frances?
•To Duncan Keith—a road map back to Fort Frances if the Chicago Blackhawks win their third Stanley Cup in the past five seasons (third time’s the charm for a Cup parade down Scott Street?)
•To local fans, coaches, and players—a reminder that you may not like referees at times but you do need them.
Don’t treat them like unnecessary parts of the game—unless you’re planning to don the striped shirt yourself (funny, I don’t hear a stampede to form that line-up).
•To the Fort Frances Triathlon Club—completed construction on the Noden Causeway so, one day soon, they can hold a full triathlon in the area, which I think would be a big draw of athletes to the region.
•To all of you and yours—best wishes for a great Christmas, and a New Year blessed with good times and good fortune.
What does Christmas mean to me?