Just in case I missed something around the tree and he needs to swing back by the house…
OK, let’s be clear about one thing.
I haven’t been good this year.
That whole “knows when you’ve been sleeping, knows when you’re awake” thing?
I know. I know what you’ve seen. Worse, I know what you’ve probably heard.
And it hasn’t been good.
Not good at all.
But you know that already.
I guess I’m asking you to look beyond all that, especially the stuff that happened in early April and October. Because all I want for Christmas are assurances. Nothing else.
No toys. No flat screens. No money.
Well, OK, if there’s a chance at money, well, who am I to turn that down? So that would fine. Not deserved, but fine.
But I digress.
Two things I’ll ask for, and that’s it. And I know it’s a lot. Too much to comprehend, perhaps.
But wanted just the same.
Because I thought there was a chance I was getting these things last year.
And then I didn’t.
Close, but agonizingly ripped away.
Let’s talk about this past April first. Because if I’m willing to bargain, it’s over this. When the North Carolina Tar Heels fell behind by 26 freaking points in the national semifinal against Kansas while Roy Williams stood and watched, all I wanted was one thing.
Not for a miraculous comeback, which almost happened anyway. I knew the Heels weren’t nearly bad enough to keep playing the way they were, and even though I knew Kansas was scary good, I knew the Jayhawks wouldn’t keep shooting 70 percent from the floor.
So I thought, if the Heels could trim the deficit to 15 or so by the half, they would have a chance. And that just about happened. After cutting it to 17 at the break, North Carolina got all the way within four points before Kansas pulled away again.
But now that the Heels have everybody back from a team that might have been the best in the land last year except for one night, they are far and away the favorite to win it all this year.
And they might. Then again, they might not. But Nick, I’m not asking for another national title for my alma mater.
I just want, sometime during the NCAA Tournament, to have the ability to force Roy to call an appropriate timeout when desperately needed. That’s it. Just give me that ESP for one moment come March and April.
Because if I have to sit through another 19-0 run without a timeout to settle things down in the most important game of the season, the words that will come out of my mouth will … well, probably closely resemble the ones that came pouring out in October.
And that would ruin things for next year.
That said, I know I’m asking for a lot here. So, like I mentioned earlier, I’m willing to give that request up if I can get a return on this next one. Seriously. How’s that for the giving spirit?
Wait, don’t answer that.
Look, Nick, we’ve been down this road before. It’s the same thing every year. You know it before I even have to say it.
The Cubs, Nick. The Cubs.
I thought you were coming through this year. Honestly, I did. I mean, I know I talked a lot about how they would crumble, because, well, they always do. So I kind of figured it was coming.
But then it did. In crushing fashion. Again.
So let’s lay this out there, Nick. In 2003, it was Bartman. In 2005, it was a collapse in the last 10 games to lose the wild card. In 2007, a three-game sweep in the first round. In 2008, the NL’s best record, but yet another three-game sweep.
And that’s when the torrent of bad behavior flowed. And, probably, the exact moment when you moved my name from the “Kinda Good Except For April” list to the “Coal” one.
Look, Nick, I know I don’t deserve it, but if there’s a Cubs World Championship somewhere on that sleigh of yours, well, you know the drill. We’ve been here before, haven’t we?
And maybe I’m not the guy to ask. I get that. That “better be good for goodness sake” has kind of been lost on me, hasn’t it?
So do it for the good Cubs fans. The ones who believe every single spring that this is the year. Do it for Ron Santo, and people like him.
But since they’re probably asking for important things like world peace and ending world hunger, I’ll carry the torch for the Cubs.