It is easy to look back. We do that all the time. The key word is "last," as in last night's game, last week's win, last month's slump and last year's highlights and lowlights.
Tomorrow is something else. How many times has a sportscaster advised us that there will be no tomorrow for the losing team?
Fortunately, tomorrow always arrives. In fact, today is tomorrow.
There is a 1986.
With the anticipation of an upcoming sip of bubbly titillating my senses, and maybe warping them as well, I contemplated what might be expected to occur in San Diego's world of fun and games in the year to come.
One of the biggest differences between last New Year's Day and this one is that the music has stopped for the Padres. At midnight a year ago, I almost expected radio stations to be playing one of those "Cub-buster" songs rather than auld lang syne.
I suppose it is only a matter of time before the first of the 1986 Padre songs comes tumbling out of someone's garage studio. It should probably be a commentary on the convoluted scenario which resulted in the return of Dick Williams as manager.
It might be something called "Peace in the Valley," but I personally would prefer something called "Mission Valley PTA."
We have all been advised by now that a new Dick Williams, cheerful, open and accommodating, will replace the one who turned Scrooge into a description rather than a fictitious character.
Indeed, this new demeanor will result in Williams winning a rather prestigious award in 1986. No, he will not be the National League manager of the year. He will win the Mr. Fluoride Award for his smile.
Another reversal in character will come from Steve Garvey, who will stop talking to the media after the National Enquirer reports that he goes to Ronald Reagan's hair refinisher.
On the academic front, a San Diego State basketball player will graduate--but not from SDSU. He will take a course in bartending, majoring in tall Scotches and minoring in slam-dunk shooters.
The Sockers will petition the Major Indoor Soccer League to incorporate a rule change which will allow matches to be played with two balls rather than one. Owner Bob Bell is forever seeking ways to keep his stars happy.
Juli Veee will change the spelling of his name or change his name or change his number or announce that he will come back in a second life as a female gymnast named Bruno Brutus.
U.S. International University, the stray cat of collegiate basketball, will announce that it will be playing in a new 18,000-seat arena . . . in Yugoslavia.
Denny Stolz will fare much better in his second game since being hired as head football coach at San Diego State. On the Saturday after he was hired, he coached Bowling Green to a 7-51 loss to Fresno State in the California Bowl. Of course, his team was a little green at bowling.
The Chargers' first draft choice will be a running back. Since it remains unclear who is calling the shots, a taped message will inform the media that the front office was deadlocked with time running out. The receptionist cast the deciding vote, theorizing that the running back was the best athlete available.
A bit later on draft day, the Chargers will take a quarterback from ARCO AM-PM on the seventh round. A ball boy will explain that Chargers' scouting reports indicated the guy was the fourth-best quarterback in the draft, expressing amazement that so gifted an athlete should be available so late in the day.
Their offense thus bolstered, the Chargers will be averaging 48 points a game halfway through the 1986 season. However, they will be 3-5. The receptionist and ball boy will be fired.
San Diego County custodians, noting that Kevin McReynolds' agent said his client may as well play like a janitor if he is paid like one, will threaten a mini-work stoppage. Noting McReynolds' batting average, they announce that they will henceforth clean up only 23.4% of the dirt until they are paid like center fielders.
USD's basketball team will shock both itself and the West Coast Athletic Conference with a second championship in three years. It will get to the NCAA regionals, where a public address announcer will introduce the team as the University of California at San Diego State.
Going for their fifth consecutive indoor soccer championship, the Sockers will fall short. In the best-of-five, semi-final series, they will once again run afoul of off-the-field reversals of on-the-field decisions. They will again lose a game while riding in an airplane. However, they will lose a second game while riding on a team bus and get eliminated while riding the Tijuana Trolley to a victory party.
There will be sadder news for golf fans because the San Diego Open will undergo another change in name--and, this time, location as well. It will be moved to Virginia, where it will be known as the Sherwin Williams William and Mary Andy Williams Williamsburg Open.
Fortunately, in spite of commercial sponsorship and a name change, San Diego will not lose its bowl game. It will still have the Holiday Spa Holiday Inn Holiday Massage Holiday Bowl.
Believe it or not, none of these foretellings were written while under the influence of holiday cheer. However, just to be on the safe side, I decided to subject the column to a sobriety checkpoint.
Since it failed, I feel assured that it presents a reasonable look at what will likely happen in San Diego in 1986--especially if it is anything like last year.