Gifts from the sports Santa: indictments, bowls and flies

by Alex Hodes | 12/4/07 1:17am

I never thought I'd have to say goodbye to 2007 so soon. Oh wait, I wouldn't if Dartmouth kept to the same schedule as most schools, but that's another column for another year. On the bright side, we're certainly sending 2007 out with a bang. Yep, you guessed it, the festival of lights begins tonight, and what a gift I've already been given. This dumping of snow is just what I needed for finals period -- as if I wasn't going to have a hard enough time getting my work done. Still, while you're reading this waiting on another embarrassingly long Novack line, I'll be making some first tracks. And Professor Press, my apologies if I don't make it back in time for our 2A.

But I'm not the only one getting early presents. In fact, the sports Santa, or whatever you want to call him, has been doling out gifts all year. Why, just this past weekend, LSU and Ohio State were given the gift of a lifetime when Missouri and West Virginia simultaneously decided they had no interest in playing for the National Championship. And let's not forget the gift Kansas got when they were granted a trip to the Orange Bowl over a superior Missouri team that beat them head-to-head.

In baseball, Barry Bonds received the best gift of all when federal prosecutors waited until after he broke the home run record to indict him. Hmm, on second thought, it's tough to call anything a gift in relation to federal charges -- just ask Michael Vick. Beyond Bonds, the Indians sure have a lot to be thankful for (pre-implosion against the Red Sox). Why, they might be the first team to ever win a game because an actual plague descended upon the field just when it looked like the Yankees were about to even up the ALDS before heading back to New York. No, I'm not bitter.

Even Yankee-haters were given a very special gift this season. The emergence of Hank Steinbrenner as a cultural phenomenon is a bigger treat than cornbread on fried chicken Mondays. Okay, so maybe cultural phenomenon is too strong, but consider this: aren't all of you thankful you have someone new to vilify? There was a legitimate concern that the post-Boss Yankees wouldn't find themselves in the tabloids enough. Still worried? Didn't think so. But don't think I'd let the haters have all the fun. As a fan, what a relief it is to know that the team won't turn into the Mets any time in the near future. As my dad likes to say, "he's Tony Soprano, but at least he's our Tony Soprano."

Not too many gifts were handed out to the NBA this year, but its fans were sure treated to some quality entertainment. And at every Knicks fan's expense, the rest of the world has been given the gift that is the James Dolan-Isiah Thomas comedy show. At this point, however, the situation might be beyond laughable.

Hockey fans were given a great gift when the NHL completed its second consecutive season sans labor strife. Unfortunately, only three people were watching. But hey, that's still more than were able to watch last week's Cowboys-Packers matchup on the NFL Network.

Even Dartmouth had reason to celebrate in 2007, and that's quite a fete what with all the lawsuits, alumni infighting and the like. With perhaps the best gift of all, the College took home its first NCAA title in 31 years courtesy of Dartmouth skiing. And somehow, I seem to have come full circle with this column -- what a treat.

I suppose I can't even ask for much more this holiday season, but mom, if you're still reading, don't forget that cash is always welcome. Seriously though, I feel like I've been given a lot of gifts this year. I turned 21, which will certainly be a help if I'm ever at a formal where all the underage attendees get busted by the cops. But most importantly, I was given the opportunity to be somewhat productive on campus through these columns. Of course, I wouldn't have had this chance had it not been for outgoing editor Evan Meyerson '08. I suppose I owe you one.

See you all in 2008.