By Alex Byington

By the Book

"It is, indeed, the season of regenerated feeling - the season for kindling, not merely the fire of hospitality in the hall, but the genial flame of charity in the heart." - Washington Irving, "Old Christmas"

Despite what the weatherman may be telling us, it's that time of year again.

Although snow is unlikely, Christmas is very nearly here.

As we wait for Santa to scuttle down the chimney tonight, or whatever entry-way you may have, let us remember what this season is truly about - presents.

Don't get me wrong, I know there are far more important things to celebrate during Christmas than presents under the tree, but let's be honest - there's plenty of time for good will toward man throughout the coming year. You only get to shred neatly wrapped presents nestled under a fire-hazard of a tree once a year.

So, in light of that honest nugget of truth, I've got another one.

While the jolly ol' fat man was doing a little dry run the other day, I spotted him and offered up some spiked egg nog and a couple of Christmas cookies. (Let it be known, despite his robust appearance, Santa is a lightweight.) After he passed out, I was able to sneak a peek at his playbook - the Christmas wish list.

Although there were plenty of requests for Xbox Kinects or iPhone 4s for all the good little girls and boys of the world, there were a few Christmas wishes that caught my eye from a couple of area sports figures.

The season of giving is upon up us, and like my good friend, ol' Saint Nick, I'm here to deliver:

David Ash, former Belton quarterback and soon-to-be University of Texas freshman - "I wish for an offensive coordinator that will air it out like I had with the Tigers. None of this 'run-first' stuff they tried last season - we saw where that got 'em. Let's do what Texas football is known for and spread the ball around in four- and five-receiver sets. In other words, I want Mike Leach, or at the very least Chad Morris from Tulsa."

Rodney Southern, Belton head football coach/athletic director - "Dear Santa Claus, I need another quarterback like David Ash. No need for wrapping paper or anything like that, you can just drop him off at the fieldhouse. You know how I like 'em - strong arm, tall and a tireless worker. I don't think that's asking too much."

Celneque Bobbitt, Harker Heights boys basketball coach - "Please, Santa, I beg of you - no more injuries. Last year it was Royce, this year it's my point guard Thomas Cherry. All these injuries are bad for MY health and I can't take it any more. Just let my boys stay healthy for a season, that's all I ask,"

Shirretha Nelson, Harker Heights girls basketball coach - "I need more consistent play from my girls. Can you help with that Santa? Give my girls the ability to hit shots with some consistency. After two years of missed opportunities, I know we finally have the team to make a playoff run, as long as we're consistent with the ball."

Kenny Mann, Salado boys basketball coach - "I'm just asking for continued success for the team. It's been a rough year here in Salado with the football team and the flood, and the community could really use a pick-me-up."

And, so long as I don't go straight to the naughty list for doing this, my wish is for even more great basketball from all of our area teams.

It's been fun so far, let's keep it going well into the new year.

Here's hoping Santa comes through for everyone (and I don't find a lump of coal waiting for me Christmas morning). Merry Christmas.

Contact Alex Byington at or (254) 501-7566.

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