COLUMN: A Christmas Sports Gift List for 2016


It is upon us again, that time of year when additional time is spent thinking about gifts and giving. And this is the week that most of those gifts are distributed.

The sports community, despite being busy with tournaments and bowl games, is no exception. Therefore, let us take a few moments of your time to offer this wish list.

These are the gifts that we would give – if we could – during this holiday season. Some are in fun, others quite serious. A few are even repeat gifts from previous lists that we may keep offering until they materialize.

And, even though they are offered as enjoyment, some of them actually work out.

For example, in recent years we wished Tony Blum would get Eli in the Super Bowl, Matt Szczur an All-American selection, the South Jersey win record for Paul Rodio, the Howell family a gym named after Dixie, Chris Curran a starting spot with Ursinus, a turf field at Carey Stadium for Mike Lenhardt, George McNally a school in the Northeast for Lauren and a spot in the South Jersey Hall of Fame for Coach Joe Fussner.

They all happened.

Wonder which ones will come true this year. Regardless, hope you enjoy them.

JOHN HUFF: World Series championship No. 28.
AL EMENHEISER: a trip to Memphis to see Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.
DAVE TALARICO: World Series tickets at Camden Yards.
FRANK RIGGITANO: a season without an injury list.
THE OCEAN CITY PBA: thanks again from the basketball community for their involvement in the Ocean City PBA Tipoff Weekend. With additional thanks to Tom Heist, Gary Schaffer, John Murphy and Jay Gillian.
CHUCK SMITH: a turf field for the Mustang Corral.
MIKE LOMBARDI SR.: a spot on Dancing with the Stars.
LEON HART: a brand new Hummer.
DAVE PFEIFER: his own indoor track in Absecon.
AARON BOGUSHEFSKY: another South Jersey title.
MIKE LOMBARDI JR. an Emmy Award.
FRANK BASILE: dinner at the diner.
MATT SZCZUR: a spot in the Phillies’ outfield.
JIM GINN: a video camera.
MATT PURDUE: a 10-peat in 2017.
SCOTT WAHL: tickets to see the Packers in the Super Bowl.
WALT TUCKER: another year filled with lunches with the old guys.
ANASTASIA & GENE: triplets.
KEVIN SMITH: continued improvement in 2017.
MATT ULMER: a drone license.
BRUCE BEAVER: a Lexus every day.
DAN MERRIFIELD: selection to the South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame.
YOUNG JOE FUSSNER: a Cowboys win in the Super Bowl.
FRANK VOGEL: a berth in the NBA Finals.
JOSH HENNIG: some vitamins. 
EARL TARVES: a quick recovery with his new knees.
GARRETT JONES: a starting spot in a college secondary.
MARK RUCCI: lunch with the Obamas.
CORY TERRY: her own trophy case at OCHS.
PAUL BARUFFI: a return to the state finals.
MIKE TROUT: a spot in the Yankees lineup.
GARY HEGH: a kettle of soup at every game.
MIKE O’BRIEN: a website where he can promote Mainland football.
GENE ALLEN: a quiet, New Year’s celebration.
DOUG COLMAN: a trip to the Super Bowl as a coach.
DAVE WEINBERG: Springsteen on Saturday Night Live every week.
BUD RINCK: the return of his old email address and license plate.
JOE MITCHELL: lunch in Rome with his new pal, Francis.
PAUL RODIO: a win over Bob Hurley.
ANDREW DONOGHUE: continued success on the football field.
JOHN LEON: his new book made into a movie.
GREG DONAHUE: more OCYAA Little League champions.
RON MORETTI: delivery from Marcello’s.
MIKE GATLEY: a CAL baseball all-star game.
STEVE PARKER: a weekend of rounds at St. Andrews.
JOHN BRUNO: season tickets for James Madison football.
FELICIA, SHERIANN & AMBER: lots of apples, pizza and hot dogs.
MIKE PELLEGRINO: an uneventful and relaxing 2017.
MATT JAMISON: more time to talk football.
DAVE NAHAN: the world largest strobe light.
MIKE GILL: a 300 game.
BRIAN CUNNIFF: The Beatles said it – “Eight Days A Week”.
DAVE DeWEESE: a couple games in the Pine Belt Arena.
AMANDA NUNAN: a repeat in the pool.
DON & GLENN WIESENTHAL: lots of Johnson’s Popcorn.
CONNOR LAVERTY: 1,000 points at Widener.
SKIP ANGELO: a quick recovery with his new hip.
MARK BISIGNARO: a spot on the PBA Tour.
JIM SCHAFER: Phillies Spring Training credentials.
DENNY DiORIO: an injury-free baseball season for his team.

TO THE REST OF YOU: have a very happy holiday season and a 2016 full of great sports moments.

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