By Doug Gorman
Dear Mr. Santa:
I don't know if you are a sports fan, but I am, and there are a few things I would like for Christmas. I know some of these things my not happen before Christmas Day, but any help you could give to make my wishes come true, even after Christmas would be appreciated.
A quality coach for the Atlanta Falcons: As a 23-year resident of Georgia I feel have suffered enough when it comes to watching the local professional football team. Although Dan Reeves is a good man, he was unable to get the job done during his tenure with the Falcons. There has to be a good coach out there who could help bring a Super Bowl to this football crazy city. In case you don't know Santa, Michael Vick, perhaps the best athlete in the NFL, quarterbacks the Falcons. If we can find a coach to bring out more of his talents, I know we can make it to the Super Bowl.
A long-term contract for Paul Hewitt. Something very unusual is starting to happen in Atlanta. Local sports fans are starting to hop back on the Georgia Tech basketball bandwagon for the first time in years, and credit has to go to the team's young coach Paul Hewitt. Tech might just be the best basketball team in the country. With its undefeated season, Tech belongs in the Top-5. The Jackets have already knocked off No. 1-ranked Connecticut. That could be a sign of things to come. Although Tech has yet to play an ACC game, my guess is the squad is going to make a run at the conference title. I can't wait to see this team come March Madness time. Hopefully, Tech will reward Mr. Hewitt for his hard work and assure that he's at Tech for a long time.
A Stanley Cup for the Thrashers: Atlanta may not be known as a hockey town, but the Thrashers are starting to change that. After struggling through their first four years, it looks like the Thrashers are destined to make the playoffs. Thanks must go to coach Bob Hartley, who can flat out coach.
Hartley has the team playing the best hockey in franchise history despite the tragic auto accident, which killed Dan Snyder and severely injured last year's All-Star game MVP Danny Heatley.
Heatley, the driver of the car, must deal with this the rest of his life, while trying to resume his hockey career.
Chill Pill for some local fans and readers: If I had to choose one gift it would be for local sports fans and readers too simply calm down. It gets so frustrating to read e-mails and message boards from fans who think their teams, athletes or children are being mistreated or overlooked. As I have said before, we have no agenda. We aren't perfect, but do not favor any of the 15 schools we cover with just a staff of three. I am a 39-year old man, who has better things to do with his time than to favor one school over the other.
Get off the softball, football and basketball message boards, turn on CNN, Fox or some other news source, and see what's going on in the real world. Then get on your knees and thank God that your children are healthy and happy and live in a country where they are free to play sports anytime they want.
More than anything else, I wish the readers of the Daily a happy holiday season.
(Doug Gorman is sports editor of the Daily. His column appears on Thursday. E-mail at email@example.com)