There's still a few shopping days left until Christmas.

Good thing, too, since I still need to hit the stores.

If you have yet to buy for your favorite prep sports writer, assuming of course you all have one, here's a wish list of things he/she wouldn't mind getting. There's no question as to whether we've been naughty or nice.

You Seinfield fans might recognize some of these as Frank Costanza's Festivus airing of grievances.

More gymnasium setups like Chesterton, where table space and electrical outlet access is never an issue and nobody's standing over your shoulder waiting for you to finish your story. These things don't happen by magic. Just in case, might as well throw in an extension cord. Do they make them retractable?

More football press boxes like Munster. Jamie Marsh, five stars.

More folks like at Hebron, where my man Phil is the nicest night crew person I've ever met at a school where the people are the true salt of the earth. I would say this even if they didn't feed me so well.

Internet accessibility at wireless dungeons Lowell, Westville and Valparaiso (unless you sit in the one corner where you can get a signal). If we're including out-of-area schools, Caston.

Waterproof pens and paper. Anybody who was at the New Prairie Cross Country Regional knows what I'm talking about. Writing was impossible. The notepad never recovered.

A transcriber so we can plug in our phones and have the audio from our interviews written out. 

A flashlight so we don't trip and fall down the steps of dark stadiums.

Bolt cutters for those occasions when we get locked into stadiums. Most of us can't scale a fence anymore.

A laptop that has all of its keys.

Dry roads where the deer stay in the woods.

No one saying, "We have to take it one game at a time." Not gonna use it.

While we're at it, a new set of baseball cliches. No sport is more prone to them.

More compact equipment for our radio and Internet colleagues. Mind if we shoehorn into that one spot?

Athletic directors and coaches who notify us when start times change. Please and thank you.

Less fans who take things personally. We absolutely appreciate the passion, but none of us dislike your school, team, player just because something negative may have been written about it. Keep bringing the energy, though.

More trusting ticket takers when we happen to forget our work ID. We understand, you're probably just following somebody's orders, but none of us are going to show up at an event lugging a computer, etc., as a ruse to try to save $6. Come on now.

More open, up front coaches. We respect how you have to tiptoe the line of political correctness, but we crave candor. There's a few of you out there. Props.

A dollar every time someone tells us "off the record" in public. If we see you at a bar or restaurant, we're not going to quote you. Probably.

Preferred parking.

More respect for officials. The zebras are under constant attack. It's no wonder the ranks are dwindling. Mistakes are going to be made, even with the luxury of replay. Take a deep breath. It's not a perfect science.

More flashy outfits for basketball coaches. We enjoy attending Valparaiso boys games simply to see what Barak Coolman is wearing. Not enough Jim East jackets around anymore.

Bigger student sections. High school games have lost some appeal with a lot of kids, for whatever reason, but organized fan bases are bringing back the youthful energy to the gyms. Love the theme nights. It's great to see. Your classmates appreciate it.

Gas cards.

You can leave the presents at the office.

Thanks and Merry Christmas! Or was it Happy Festivus?

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This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at


Sports reporter

Jim was keeping standings on his chalkboard from the time he could print and keeping kickball stats in grade school at St. Bridget's. He covers all manner of prep sports for The Times and is a long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.