the holiday season. The season for celebrating religious anniversaries,
visiting family and being with loved ones. It’s a time for business
parties, get-togethers and of course frantic shopping. It’s that
beautiful month when people spend two hours looking for the perfect
card or drive 15 minutes out of the way to have something gift wrapped.
But it’s that perfect look on the recipient’s face just as they open
their gift that somehow makes everything worth it.
being said, I figured I’d join the party and do my own gift giving as
well. These awards are the only thing cheap enough to not burn a hole
in my wallet. Turkey legs have been done before and no award show will
ensue. In fact, the winners probably will have no idea of their prize.
So use your imagination. In some small way, I feel I’m doing my part.
As they say, it’s better to give than receive.
Coal in the Stocking: Ron Artest
award goes to a team or individual whose actions got them stuck on
Santa’s naughty list.
Up: Terrell Owens
Artest would be better off forgetting 2005. His November decision to
enter the stands in Detroit landed him suspended for 72 games, the
entire 2004-2005 season. But the native New Yorker’s recent public
trade demand put him in the land of ill repute with the Indiana Pacers
organization. And then days later, (as is often the case) Artest
changed his mind stating that he wants to stay with the Pacers. To top
Artest’s miserable year off, he was fined $10,000 under the new
collective bargaining agreement for making a public trade demand.
Too Old to Believe: Jerry Rice
award goes to an individual that clung to his/her career a little too
long ruining that graceful exit.
Up: Jack Nicklaus
Rice should have retired after the Raiders’ Super Bowl run in 2003. He
had another shot in 2004, but was released mid-season. He clung on with
the Seahawks for nine games. Convinced he could still play, the NFL’s
greatest receiver tried to win the fourth stringer job in training camp
as a Denver Bronco. That didn’t happen. Rice will be remembered for his
three Super Bowl rings as a 49er with both Joe Montana and Steve Young.
Hopefully, the Bronco lore won’t haunt Rice’s image because he was a
phenomenal athlete with a great career.
Not a Tie Again: Atlanta Braves
award goes to an individual or team that continually gets handed that
dubious gift, year after year.
Brave skipper Bobby Cox is one of the greatest managers in the history
of baseball. Like Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski, Cox probably did his
best coaching job in 2005. But after winning the National League East
for the 14th consecutive year, the Braves made a routine early exit. In
game four of the Divisional playoffs, Braves pitcher Joey Devine gave
up a heartbreaking homer in the bottom of the 18th inning. The game was
the longest playoff game in MLB history and the second year in a row
that the Braves were exited by the Houston Astros.
Forgot to Light the Luminary: Kellen
award goes to an individual that makes the dumbest move of the year.
Think Homer Simpson as he hits his head yelling “Doooh!”
Up: Kenny Rogers
Winslow had a legitimate injury breaking his leg during his rookie
season. But as the Hall of Fame son tried to rehab his leg, he tried a
couple of hobbies. Winslow attended a motorcycle rally and attempted to
imitate tricks later in the day. Like Jay Williams before him, Winslow
ended up injuring himself jeopardizing his career. The worst part for
the self described “warrior” was that the incident was caught on tape
by the local community college. Trust me; there are better ways to blow
a signing bonus.
Furby/ Tickle-Me-Elmo: Michael
award goes to a team or individual that dominated the headlines for a
short period of time, but quickly became yesterday’s news.
Up: Virginia Tech
pulled out a dramatic victory on the famous No. 2 course in Pinehurst.
Campbell, marred by a mediocre professional career outlasted Tiger
Woods by two shots to win his first major. Campbell didn’t win another
PGA tournament and finished 16th on the world money list. But for that
extended weekend in mid-June, Campbell was the best golfer in the world.
Building Traditions: Charlie Weis
award goes to an individual or team that establishes traditions for
years to come.
Up: Roy Williams
course, Notre Dame is full of tradition. But the jolly Charlie Weis
ignited the fan base, signed a lifetime contract, and tutored a 2006
Heisman favorite in one short year. The former Patriot offensive
coordinator was an extended arm short of stopping USC’s win streak.
Weis quelled any arguments about Bob Davie or Tyrone Willingham getting
raw deals. He has the Irish currently ranked No. 5, the highest since
1993. And most important with building tradition, Weis has solidified a
bright future through recruiting. Of recruiting expert Tom Lemming’s
top 100, Notre Dame has six players verbally committed. And Lemming
ranks Notre Dame dead even with Florida as the No. 1 class.