2005 Holiday Awards

by Eric Gilmore

'Tis 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.


With that 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

This award goes to a team or individual whose actions got them stuck on Santa’s naughty list.

Runner Up: Terrell Owens


Ron 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

This award goes to an individual that clung to his/her career a little too long ruining that graceful exit.

Runner Up: Jack Nicklaus


Jerry 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

This award goes to an individual or team that continually gets handed that dubious gift, year after year.

Runner Up: Vanderbilt


Atlanta 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 Winslow

This award goes to an individual that makes the dumbest move of the year. Think Homer Simpson as he hits his head yelling “Doooh!”

Runner Up: Kenny Rogers


Kellen 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 Campbell

This award goes to a team or individual that dominated the headlines for a short period of time, but quickly became yesterday’s news.  

Runner Up: Virginia Tech


The Kiwi 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

This award goes to an individual or team that establishes traditions for years to come.

Runner Up: Roy Williams


Of 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. 

Eric Gilmore