Column: Gift ideas for sports fans, free of charge

Heather Karr

Heather Karr uses golf balls to roll away the tension of clients.

(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times)

What to get the L.A. sports fan. How about an end to this Dodger TV standoff? Or Vin Scully in the White House? We can – and will – do much worse.

What about an NFL team for L.A., or maybe three?

Or a reprieve from those dating ads, which seem to run constantly (though I admit that’s how I met my sixth and seventh wives).

Some things are beyond my control. OK, everything is beyond my control. But Sports Santa would like to offer up these holiday gift suggestions for the naughty-or-nice fan in your life -- a grab bag of Christmas swag:


Groove your jump shot

Schedule a lesson with NBA shooting coach Bob Thate, best known for helping Blake Griffin learn to groove his jumper. Thate will work with trajectory, arm angle, and balance in a fun and informal session. Cost: $200.

Take a lap in a Lambo

Racing buffs will flip over a chance to take the wheel over a 1.2-mile road course at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Cost: Five laps in a Porsche Cayman, $199; Lamborghini Gallardo, $299.


Tour the Lakers locker room

Shoot hoops at Staples, tour the locker room and hang out with Shaquille O’Neal, Elgin Baylor and D’Angelo Russell at the 12th Annual All-Access fan event Jan. 25. This behind-the-scenes look isn’t cheap, but proceeds go to charity. Cost: $550.

Stay in (surf) school

It’s all in the footwork, dude. Instructor Matt Rosas will offer tips at his surf school. Stand-up paddleboard lessons also available. Cost: One-hour surf lesson $80, includes rental board and wetsuit.

Bob Thate, Chris Erskine

You can be like Chris Erskine, right, and get a shooting lesson from Bob Thate.

(Cheryl A. Guerrero / Los Angeles Times)

4 ski resorts, 1 pass

Teens are people too. They’re just tougher to buy for. Dazzle them with a season pass that allows access to four mountains: Mammoth, June, Bear and Snow Summit. The pass opens up nearly 6,000 acres of ski trails. Cost: $749, ages 13-22; $999, 23-64.



Massage therapist Heather Karr uses actual golf balls to roll away the tension, in soothing and effective one-hour sessions. The Thousand Oak-based therapist will also sell you the device for home use. Cost: $100 per session.

Up on the roof at Wrigley

Jay Buckley Baseball Tours puts together some interesting adventures, including rooftop seats to Chicago’s Wrigley Field, or a visit to the Field of Dreams site in Dyersville, Iowa. Gift certificates can be applied to any package, any year. Cost: Wrigley Experience starts at $1,345 per person, double occupancy.

Punch up your workouts

Rocky is so last century. These days, it’s all about UFC stars Conor McGregor and Holly Holm. Get your kicks, and an appreciation for this tremendous new sport, with mixed martial arts lessons at a sprawling, 24-hour UFC Gym. Cost: $39-$99 per month.

More wings, anyone?

No bluffing, hang gliding is safe, affordable and a jolt of adrenaline for active people of any age, including those impossible-to-buy-for teens. Participants launch off the bluffs at Dockweiler State Beach, then soar down to the ocean’s edge. Must be at least 14. Cost: Four flights $85; seven flights $140.

Treat your tailgater


Face it, tailgating is often more fun than the games themselves. Entertain guests in style with the portable Weber Q series grills, available at most major hardware chains. Cost: Basic models start at about $169.

Bargain bin

Clayton Kershaw or Yasiel Puig bobbleheads, $29.99; Angels watch, $39.99. Assemble a gift bag of snacks, beverages and a TV bowl schedule for your football fanatic, under $50. A winter walk around the glowing Rose Bowl. Cost: Free.

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