By TOM WILLIAMS
Here it is, that time of year when people focus on gifts and giving. And this is the month that most of those gifts are distributed.
The sports community, for the first time in modern history, is idle this December. But let us take a few moments of your time to offer the annual wish list.
These are the gifts that should be given during this holiday season. Some are in fun, others quite serious. A few are even repeat gifts from previous lists that may keep showing up until they materialize. And there are some wishes that are contradictory.
Strangely, even though they are offered purely for enjoyment, some of them actually work out. For example, in recent years the wishes included Frank Vogel in the NBA finals, a NJ Sportscaster of the Year Award for Mike Frankel, Matt Szczur an All-American selection, the South Jersey win record for Paul Rodio, 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 after appearing on the gift list.
Wonder which ones will come true this year? Regardless, hope you enjoy them.
DAVE TALARICO: World Series tickets at Camden Yards (or Super Bowl tickets to watch the Ravens).
BOB HOFFMAN: great success with his first book.
MIKE WILLISCROFT: World Series championship No. 28.
AL EMENHEISER: a trip to Atlanta to see Georgia in the Peach Bowl.
FRANK RIGGITANO: another strong freshmen class.
CHUCK SMITH: a turf field for the Mustang Corral.
LEON HART: a bunch of McDonald’s Lunchmeat Burgers.
DAVE PFEIFER: his own indoor track in Absecon.
AARON BOGUSHEFSKY: another South Jersey title – and a mural of the game-winning goal.
FRANK BASILE: dinner at the diner (an out of state diner, so his son can fly him there).
MATT SZCZUR: his painting of Lance Bailey hanging in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
RILEY GUNNELS: see Al Emenheiser, above.
JIM GINN: a new video camera.
MATT PURDUE: an undefeated Eskimo Meet season.
TRISH HENRY: good seats for the Kentucky-Tennessee game.
CAPE-ATLANTIC ADs: press box elevators.
WALT TUCKER: renewing those lunches with the old guys.
JOE SACCO: plenty more assists when Vassar resumes basketball next year.
ANDREW BRISTOL: World Series championship No. 28.
ANASTASIA & GENE: a home closer to home.
GANNON BRADY: 1,000 points.
KEVIN SMITH: a championship in 2021.
JIM QUINN: a personal chef.
MATT ULMER: indoor football in the WJFL.
BRUCE BEAVER: a competitive performance by the Irish on Jan. 1.
JOE FUSSNER: working a TOC final on the court, instead of at the computer.
FRANK VOGEL: a repeat.
JOSH HENNIG: a salad bar at 950 Tilton Road.
WILL MORRIS: a chain of supermarkets.
PHIL ANASTASIA: a rewarding retirement (but a quick return somewhere).
The NFL: decide clearly what constitutes pass interference.
EARL TARVES: follow his brother, Don, into the OCHS Sports HOF.
JOE FENTON: a win in the AARP Super Jock Contest.
MARK RUCCI: a run against Jeff Van Drew for the House in 2022.
JACK BRESLIN: his comic character, Chip, picked up by Disney+.
CORY TERRY: a safe return to the classroom.
DENNY DiORIO: another win in the Baseball Owners Club.
AHMAD ROSS: eight tackles and a sack in the Army-Navy game.
PAUL BARUFFI: lots of cookies.
SAM PICKETTS: a strong season for his Cape May Tech boys basketball team.
JOHN RODIO: return of the Seagull Classic in 2022.
TORI RHODES: lots of happiness in Virginia.
MIKE TROUT: a shot at some post-season action.
GUY GARGAN: outdoor high school swim meets.
YOGI HILTNER: decades more of his dedication to local sports.
DEAN MICHALSKI: a self-driving truck.
FRED DALZELL: a return of the REAL Steelers.
JOE LaROSA: a book about good weather.
MIKE FRANKEL: the sports seat next to Jim Gardner on Action News.
DAN TOWN: a basketball championship.
MIKE O’BRIEN: a website so he can promote Mainland football.
TONY BLUM: a 2021 Lexus.LX.
AL SACCO: World Series championship No. 28.
GENE ALLEN: a quiet holiday season.
JOE REPETTI, JAKE INSERRA, BRADY RAUNER, JAKE SCHNEIDER: all star seasons again in spring sports.
CHALIE McLAUGHLIN: a fishing trip with Frank Campo.
RICH VAN NOORD: three more decades broadcasting Millville football.
BOB ADAMS: a reserved seat on the aisle in the Dixie Howell Gym – soon.
TRISTAN BISIGNARO: a dozen varsity letters over the next decade.
BUDDY TARBOTTON: sausage & peppers at every game.
BOBBY BARR: a repeat in Kansas City.
DOUG COLMAN: a trip to the Super Bowl for the Browns.
GINNI SZCZEPANSKI: a vacation home in Oregon.
DAVE WEINBERG: his fourth selection as New Jersey Sportswriter of the Year.
BUD RINCK: golf at Pebble Beach.
GEOFF HAINES: lots of chances to see his daughter play this winter.
TOM JAMISON: a repeat for Clemson.
PAUL RODIO: win number 1,000.
HARRY SACHS: Mac Jones or Trevor Lawrence in a Jets uniform.
FRANK CAMPO: see Chalie McLaughlin, above.
ANDREW DONOGHUE: a great career as a sports announcer.
PATRICK SMITH: more 300-yard games.
JOHN LEON: his next book made into a movie starring Jim Gaffigan.
GREG DONAHUE: more OCYAA Little League champions.
PAT DOUGHERTY: a hole in one.
RON MORETTI: delivery from Marcello’s.
BILL SHALLCROSS: an Academy Award.
MIKE RHODES: a quick recovery and successful college career.
STEVE PARKER: a weekend of rounds at St. Andrews – with a good dog sitter in the hotel.
DR. MATT JAMISON, DR. ROB WAGNER, DR. CHRIS LENTZ, DR. ED WOOLLEY & DR. SHARON REMENTER (AMONG OTHERS): the pride in their degree they deserve despite what a few foolish knuckleheads have said about Dr. Jill Biden’s PhD and, by inference, theirs.
JOHN BRUNO: another 20-win season.
SAVANNA ROLLS: lots of mac & cheese.
MIKE PELLEGRINO: an uneventful and relaxing 2021.
SUE REPETTI: victory in the Mother-Son Three-Point Shootout.
TOM PARK: new speakers at Carey Stadium.
TIM WATSON: thousands and thousands of frequent flyer miles the next four years.
MIKE McGARRY: a CAL Basketball Tournament in February.
TONY SURACE: World Series championship No. 28.
MIKE GILL: the Phillies play-by-play gig.
BRENDAN MCGONIGLE: a 50-yard field goal.
FAITH SLIMMER: a World Cup championship.
LESLIE JAMISON: a suite on the 50 yard line at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans on New Year’s Day.
DANIELLE DONOGHUE: a return to hugs.
JIM SCHAFER: lunch with Larry Shenk in Clearwater.
BRIAN CUNNIFF: the NJSIAA TOC at the Crest Pier.
DAVE DeWEESE: a couple Patrick School transfers.
TO THE REST OF YOU: have a very happy holiday season, with reduced celebrations, and remember to wear your mask, stay 6-10 feet apart and wash your hands often so that 2021 can be full of great high school sports moments.