(ISN) – In keeping with the true meaning of the holidays, I will depart for the moment from my unabashed bashing of Roger Goodell for his dismal performance as king of the National Football League and keep this as succinct and shortbread sweet as I can. Because the deadline for this column looms like a loose noose around my neck, I will endeavour to focus on keeping my head off the chopping block despite a potentially fatal case of writer’s block. So with that on my mind, here’s a heartfelt shortlist of New Year’s wishes and resolutions for 2015 and beyond.
For Geordy and Janet, a Stanley Cup for their Vancouver Canucks, as long as it’s not at the Habs’ expense. 2014 has been a tough year for them, including getting kicked by a couple of cacti that they didn’t see coming. Janet is as passionate about her hockey team as any woman I know, and her unwavering faith deserves to be rewarded after so many years of angst. Janet was there with words of support many years ago during the meltdown of my first marriage, fielding a couple of painfully desperate calls made awkward by the fact she probably felt obliged to talk to me because Geordy wasn’t home at the time. She answered the bell when my life was reduced to peaking out from the darkest corner of the abyss, down three goals in the third period with three minutes left in the game, and I will always be grateful for that, even though I’ve never thanked her until now. It seems like Geordy has been my best friend forever, although it’s probably closer to 50 years, a calming presence behind home plate, no matter how many wild pitches I’ve thrown his way.
For my son Chris, a championship of some sort or whatever they call it for Liverpool in soccer, which for me has all the excitement of watching a five-year-old bowl. Even if the ball starts off right down the middle, I’ve lost all interest by the time it hits the pins. Nevertheless, he plays the game he loves with feverish determination and a level of skill that escaped me in any sport, and he sets his alarm religiously at ungodly hours for the chance to cheer for his team, dressed in the red he bleeds when they lose. This year marked the first Christmas in a long time that we had the opportunity to spend together, and in keeping with the spirit of the holidays, I stifled the urge to unleash my repertoire of mocking comments about soccer’s pace and lack of scoring until Liverpool had secured the win. Waking up to Chris and his extraordinarily nice girlfriend curled up on the couch watching his team win and unfortunately, her team lose on Boxing Day was one of those moments that I will keep in that place where most people other than me have hearts.
For football pool pals Fishy Face and Pigskin Annie, another Super Bowl for their Seattle Seahawks, as long as it doesn’t come against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. I can’t stand Seahawks head coach Pete Carrol for reasons that escape sane analysis, and I detest Richard Sherman with a degree of disdain usually reserved for the Boston Bruins, for reasons he makes obvious every time he opens his mouth. But I must grudgingly admit that Seattle is as young and talented as any team that has threatened to repeat as champions. It’s been a long time since any team has turned that trick, which coincidentally happened to be the Broncos. Nevertheless, if Seattle deserves to raise the trophy again, let’s just rip the Band Aid off and get it over with as quickly as humanly possible so Fishy Face and Pigskin Annie can celebrate one more time, then not again for the next 20 years.
This final wish is for my devoted readers, the brave, loyal and hopelessly chronically faceless few who make up the thin ranks of my fans, not including my obligated family and misguided friends. May this year be filled with sublime moments of triumph and joy that carry over into next season and the years that follow on and off the field, the ice, the diamond, the pitch or any surface upon which you live and play.