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Playing Santa and filling wish lists


I’ve always related to the plight of long-suffering Ralphie Parker.

You remember poor Ralphie? He’s the tormented kid in the movie “A

Christmas Story” who only wants one thing in the world for Christmas


-- a shiny-new Red Rider BB gun.

But as much as he wishes and hopes for the special gift, little

Ralphie is dissuaded and put down by his parents and his teacher for

even suggesting such a present.


Even good ol’ Santa Claus tries to derail the boy’s dream of

hoping to find the prized possession under the Christmas tree,

telling the wide-eyed lad “You’ll shoot your eye out kid.”

However, in the end, Ralphie gets his Red Rider BB gun, and all is

right in his world.

But during this seasoning of giving, how many of us get what we

really want for Christmas? If you’re like me, not very often.

The same can be said for many of Burbank’s local coaches, players,


teams and schools. When it comes down to it, there are a lot of

people and teams in need.

So for the sake of laughs, I will play the role of Santa. I am

ready to dip into my magic bag of goodies and hand out what is needed

for the local community.

Here is my Christmas wish list for this holiday season:

* To Burroughs High girls’ basketball Coach Doug Nicol: A season

with no more injuries, illnesses or accidents to his players. And no


more players transferring. Nicol’s teams have had a history of bad

luck, and it’s about time the basketball gods smiled a little on the


* To former Burbank High baseball player and Pittsburgh Pirate

Freddy Sanchez: A chance to prove himself as a starting major league

infielder. Sanchez is one of the nicest guys around and he deserves

all the good that will be coming his way.

* To Burroughs High girls’ tennis player Jeannie Eamnarangkool: A

few more bubbles on her Scantron form to fit in her last name.

* To the Burbank High aquatics teams: A wish to finally have their

own on-campus swimming pool. After their pool was damaged in the 1994

Northridge Earthquake, the Bulldog teams have had to practice and

play their contests at Burroughs and at park pools. Construction on

their new pool facility is expected to be completed by next fall.

* To Bellarmine-Jefferson High girls’ basketball Coach Bryan

Camacho: Some gift certificates to the Men’s Warehouse, so he can

remain in spiffy duds and maintain his front-runner status as one of

the area’s best-dressed coaches.

* To the Bellarmine-Jefferson High football program: An updated

schedule for next season that includes a few nonleague opponents that

have winning records. The Guards have likely gotten over their sugar

shock after dining on so many cupcakes last season.

* To Burbank High girls’ tennis Coach Paul McNiff: Some good

doubles talent to go along with a fine group of singles players.

* To Burbank and Burroughs highs: All-weather running tracks to go

along with their all-new schools. There are no plans to upgrade the

pitiful tracks that exist at the schools. Why go to all the trouble

to construct completely new facilities and keep the same old inferior

tracks? It doesn’t make sense.

* To Providence High Athletic Director Andrew Bencze: A little

rest. Bencze keeps up a hectic schedule coaching three sports, along

with being a teacher and handling the athletic-director duties.

* To the Burbank Vikings Youth Tackle Football program: Continued

growth and increased success for the area’s only football feeder

program for the local high schools.

* To Burbank High baseball team: A little space to practice.

Because of ongoing construction at the school, the Bulldog squad has

been pushed into smaller and smaller confines. And at this time of

year, much of their field is taken up by a huge Christmas tree lot.

* To Burroughs High girls’ and boys’ golf Coach Mike Krose:

Endless amounts of fax paper and ink cartridges. Krose never misses

faxing in the scores of his Indian teams -- even when they are on the


* To former Providence and Seattle Mariners’ baseball player Jeff

Cirillo: Hoping he gets back his offensive punch and finds a team

where he can contribute on a regular basis, after suffering through

two bad seasons.

* To the CIF Southern Section: A realignment of the Foothill

League. It’s time the Santa Clarita schools make their own league.

* To any local high school team: A CIF Southern Section

championship. Although the Bell-Jeff girls’ basketball made it to a

title game last season, it couldn’t bring a crown home to Burbank. In

fact, it’s been six years since a team in the city has won a

championship (the 1997 Bell-Jeff girls’ hoop team). And you have to

go back to 1994 for the next title. Come on teams, end the drought.

* And to everyone else: A wonderful holiday season and a joyous

new year.

JEFF TULLY is the sports editor of the Burbank Leader. He can be

reached at 637-3245 or by e-mail