By David Mullen
This is not a fairy tale. There happens to be a lovable group of sports fans residing at the North Pole. Yes, Virginia Cavaliers, there is a Santa Claus, and he is a sports nut.
Santa and his posse have had a few months to sit around and listen to sports talk on the ham radio and watch games on TV before they “had to get busy,” as the pro athletes like to say. Radio and satellite TV reception at the Kris Kringle compound is excellent, and they have all the sports packages.
This holiday season, prior to reading millions of lists, the North Pole inhabitants chose to make their own list. They have checked it twice and now they want to be heard by sports fans everywhere. They don’t like social media. They are decidedly old school.
Santa wished football lineman looked more like him — like they did back in the old days — than these chiseled Adonises that make up college and professional football teams today. Santa admits that he has bad eating habits on the road, consumes too many cookies and doesn’t have a personal nutritionist like Tom Brady.
In the spirit of a recent trend, Santa would like to see the reserve clause renamed the reserve “Claus.” Like college athletes, Claus feels his Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) has been used in player negotiations without compensation for decades. Santa was heavily recruited, but without a full scholarship offer — Nome State was willing to give him a chance to walk on — he had to put himself through driving school. Yet he still sees his NIL everywhere.
Santa is requesting a civil trial beginning on or after December 26.
The elves would like to see more “small ball” in baseball. They are worried that the strategy that was once a critical part of the game has been sent off to the Land of Misfit Toys. They get giddy over a sacrifice bunt or a well-executed hit and run but are not impressed with 15 pitch at-bats. They have short attention spans and would like to see baseball games played in less than three hours.
Once an understanding lot, many elves have a microchip on their shoulder. They are concerned that they may have built too many video game consoles throughout the years. Instead of exercising, boys are learning to “destroy the enemy Ancient Structure inside their stronghold” from the comfort of their couch.
These young people even created a cottage industry called “eSports.” The elves thought that “eSports” stood for “Elf Sports,” like when they throw snowballs and play reindeer games.
Mrs. Claus loves everyone but would like to see better behavior on and off the field. She is also blessed with Santa’s vision and can see when players and fans are naughty or nice. She has seen a lot of naughtiness this year. She hears a lot of praying, but she doesn’t like foul language and wants to see her older children in bed early at night, especially before a big day. Both Santa and Mrs. Claus embody the team concept, but even Santa can get too big for his britches. “There is no ‘I’ in team,” Santa came to say. “But there is an ‘I’ in sleigh!” Mrs. Claus just nods her head and reminds Old St. Nick to remain humble and stay in his lane.
Santa is concerned with the number of drones that have filled his big red sack recently. While searching for a movie to watch on the Hallmark Channel, Santa came across something called “Drone Racing.” It was being televised by NBC Sports, and the announcers were yelling and screaming like Bobby Thompson had just hit the “Shot Heard ’Round the World.” Santa still claims he was at the Polo Grounds on that day in ’51.
The remote operated drones can interrupt Santa’s route to rooftops, interfere with his GPS signal and sometimes get stuck in the chimney, which impedes his descent. And the talking head drones, like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith or Fox Sports’ Skip Bayless, displease Santa because they talk too much and say too little.
Rudolph wants to see more scoring in hockey. He still gets chills every time he sees the red light go on behind the goal. When someone “lights the lamp,” Rudolph puts his hoof up to his eyes, points to the TV and sheds a frozen tear.
But there may be a bigger issue afoot. There was “rocking around the Christmas tree at the Christmas party hop” that the reindeer are trying to organize. The reindeer have already approached Cupid about becoming the union president. “I just want to share the love with everyone,” Cupid said. “Just like baseball owners and baseball players do.” Cupid has a big heart but may be a bit lacking in the brain department.
Dasher, a track and field fan, would like to see all athletes participate under the same rules. He is against performance enhancement and can’t understand how Russian athletes were allowed to compete in the Summer Olympics when their country had been issued a ban. But Prancer is looking forward to the upcoming Winter Olympics, especially men’s figure skating.
Blitzen is worried that tackling in football has become too rough. Comet is concerned that the NBA is becoming all about launching three-point shots and that playmaking and defense have left the game. And Vixen is worried that women are using his name at naughty nightclubs where athletes like to frequent after games.
The North Pole is full of sports fans just like those guys that call into sports talk shows every day. Who knew?
This season, take heed to Santa and his Pole posse. He is a long-time caller. Be a first-time listener. Instead of leaving milk and cookies, leave Santa a protein shake and a CLIF Bar. Mrs. Claus will appreciate the love, and you might score a drone for Christmas.