Portage at Chesterton girls basketball

Enthusiasm is one of the gifts of sports that keeps on giving.

Kale Wilk, File, The Times

On a day when many of us unwrap presents around a Christmas tree, I think of sports as a gift that keeps on giving.

Here's a sleigh full of ways how:

Sports is the gift of faith, the belief that you can overcame all obstacles and achieve your goals.

Sports is the gift of hope, that chance we hold on to, no matter how slim sometimes, because we want something so much.

Sports is the gift of love, a passion that enables you to meet challenges and push beyond your boundaries.

Sports is the gift of perseverance, the refusal to concede no matter the odds or the adversity.

Sports is the gift of sharing, giving of yourself for the betterment of yourself and your team.

Sports is the gift of the improbable, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Sports is the gift of strength, physical and mental, gained through competition.

Sports is the gift of experience, moments, both good and bad, that makes us better, inside and outside of the athletic arena.

Sports is the gift of perspective, the ability, over time, to put things that happen into the proper context.

Sports is the gift of patience, knowing that the results don't always come as soon as you want them to come.

Sports is the gift of leadership, learning how to stand up and point the way for others.

Sports is the gift of ambition, setting the bar high and then setting it again when we clear it.

Sports is the gift of character, becoming a better person by meeting the challenges you faced as an athlete.

Sports is the gift of enthusiasm, that infectious quality that fuels your endeavors.

Sports is the gift of inspiration, the knack for lifting those around you to higher levels.

Sports is the gift of tradition, the common bonds that unite our teams, schools, towns, states and countries.

Sports is the gift of support, knowing someone always has your back.

Sports is the gift of confidence essential to maximize your talents.

Wow, there were more presents in there than I thought, and I'm sure you can come up with more, if you keep looking within yourself.

• Just a few notes on a couple of the holiday good deeds I've heard about at schools via word of mouth or social media…

Members of the LaPorte Student Athletic Council got together to shop at Wal-Mart to make the holiday a happy one for an underprivileged family.

The Slicers girls basketball team passed out gifts to needy kids at the LaPorte Jaycees' annual Deserving Kids Christmas event at the county fairgrounds.

"They contacted us," coach Rob Walker said. "We did it two years ago and they said they liked our team. They kids have a lot of energy. It's a feel good thing. These have people in the community who look up to them. They're role models. It makes you feet good to hear that about your team."

The South Central girls basketball team, along with Tolmen Financial, put together food baskets for military veterans.

The Valparaiso girls basketball team visited their 'senior pals' at Avalon Springs in town and welcomed them to Friday's game.

The Boone Grove baseball team served food and drinks during a free community dinner at Cafe Manna at The St. Teresa of Avila soup kitchen in Valpo.

"We wanted to help serve during the holiday season," Wolves coach  Pat Antone said. "We’re very fortunate and blessed and wanted to help those who aren’t as fortunate as we are and give back. It was a great way to have an impact outside of baseball."

I wish I knew of more to list them here, but blessings to all of you for sharing the spirit of.the season.

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This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at james.peters@nwi.com.

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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.