It’s me, Tom. Yes, I know it’s been a while, but everything’s been good. I haven’t needed or wanted anything for decades now. I remember when I was a kid growing up in The Projects, I used to write you letters every December. Every year, I would ask for a bike, but every year, I would just get socks. My penmanship must have been atrocious.
By the time I got to high school, I was working a couple part-time jobs, so I could afford to buy my own socks. So, I started asking you to bestow gifts upon others. (I’ve always hated it when athletes are interviewed after a game and they thank God for helping them win. That’s just ridiculous; God doesn’t care who wins a game…but Santa might!)
I would use the typewriter in the office at the school so there wouldn’t be any more miscommunication between the two of us. I remember it like it was yesterday; I asked you to get Jerry West a championship. He always tried so hard. But even though I typed it carefully and proofread it, you must have been in a hurry when you read it, because three years in a row, the Lakers got to the championship round, but lost all three years.
In 1971, I was working at the Post Office and I decided to send you the letter Special Delivery with a return receipt requested! Yeah! And wouldn’t you know it, the Lakers won an all-time (all professional sports) record 33 straight regular-season games and cruised to the NBA championship.
After that, I came to Arizona on a (junior-college) basketball scholarship. I played a few sports, learned a bunch of stuff, and met my future wife. I really didn’t need your help any more.
Last week, however, I saw something that caused me to believe that you’re still active. The day after Thanksgiving, I turned on the TV and there was this nationally televised three-hour commercial for Stone Canyon Golf Resort. It was actually a modified best-ball, match-play contest between the team of NFL legend Peyton Manning and NBA star Steph Curry vs. golf hero Phil Mickelson (who owns Stone Canyon) and Hall of Fame hoopster Charles Barkley.
You were obviously in a giving mood because you showered Mickelson with gifts. First off, the weather was PERFECT. Highs in the 60s, no wind, and not a cloud in the shockingly blue sky. The aerial shots of the holes didn’t even look real and the ground-level stuff with Pusch Ridge in the background was absolutely stunning. My cousin Gino, who watched the match, emailed me from Minnesota and asked how much it costs to play Stone Canyon. I told him that the place is so exclusive that there are locals who golf on a regular basis who don’t even know that it exists. Plus, Gino’s only a Chemical Engineer, so there’s no way he could afford it. I heard that Bill Gates got wait-listed at Stone Canyon.
Plus, Santa, somewhere along the way, you gifted Charles Barkley with a serviceable golf swing. His swing used to be a crime against humanity, but now it’s just bad. And, because of his formerly horrible swing, Barkley got to tee off from a spot that was hundreds of feet closer to the hole than the tee the others had to use. Your early Christmas presents allowed Mickelson and Barkley to win easily.
Anyway, while you’re in a generous pre-Christmas giving mood, do you think you can give most of us Tucsonans a lavish gift by having the University of Arizona Wildcat football team beat Arizona State this week? I know that’s asking a lot, but we’ve been through so much.
This year’s squad might be the worst Wildcat football team of the past half-century. They’re so bad that a three-game winning streak would only move them up to horrible. You know how cable channels have to go back and edit stuff out of movies that might be offensive? When showing the movie “Speed,” they had to cut out the part where Keanu Reeves notices Sandra Bullock’s UA sweatshirt and says, “Arizona Wildcats…good football team.” They’re afraid that hospital emergency rooms would be overrun with people who had hurt themselves from laughing too hard.
The UA is historically bad, 9-18 under Coach Kevin Sumlin and riding a 11-game losing streak. But with this being a rivalry game, that old cliché about throwing out the records actually has a chance of being correct. And what records! At press time, the UA was 0-4, while ASU was 0-2. No Rose Bowl this year.
You helped out Phil Mickelson, who is a multi-millionaire who owns the Heaven on Earth Golf Course. There’s got to be something in your bag for the rest of us.