HOLIDAY MEMORIES

CHRISTMAS MEMORIES: Local athletes and coaches share their holiday memories, traditions

2013-12-24T14:45:00Z 2014-01-02T19:42:30Z CHRISTMAS MEMORIES: Local athletes and coaches share their holiday memories, traditionsTimes Staff Reports nwitimes.com
December 24, 2013 2:45 pm  • 

Each year, The Times sports staff asks some of our region athletes and coaches to recount their favorite holiday memories. Below are their responses.

From our Times sports family to yours, happy holidays

Chesterton freshman swimmer Amy Socha doesn't feel shortchanged during the holidays, even though her birthday is Christmas Eve.

"Some people feel sorry for me," Socha said, "because they feel I'll only get presents one time.

"It doesn't really matter to me. It's the thought that counts."

But Socha does appreciate that her family splits the occassions.

"Our family has always kept my birthday and Christmas very separate," she said. "They're really good about that."

At this point, no birthday/Christmas celebrations stands out in her mind.

"They've all been pretty good," she said.

-- Jim Hunsley

Hunt through the tree: The family of Kankakee Valley girls basketball player Lauren Stokes has started a tradition like no other.

Stokes, one of two children in her immediate family and one of eight cousins, said that she joins her extended family at her grandmother's home every year on Christmas. It's a house filled with cousins, aunts, uncles and love. And competition.

In the last few years, Stokes' grandmother began hiding a vegetable in the Christmas tree and asks the children to find it. The first to find the item receives a gift.

"My grandmother puts a pickle in the Christmas tree," Stokes said. "My whole family is really competitive. I have never found it."

The award for the finder of the Christmas pickle is typically something like a McDonald's gift card, Stokes said.

"It's not about the gift," she said. "It's just that finding the pickle is one-upping everyone else." — Hillary Smith

Trimming the tree: Marian Catholic football coach Jerry Verde said his Christmas moment just a few weeks ago.

"My fondest Christmas memory so far with my daughter Jaclyn would have to be putting ornaments on our Christmas tree," Verde said. "She is only a 18 months old, so last year she didn't understand what was going on. Unfortunately she didn't understand that trimming the tree was a one-time job, so she has continually been taking ornaments off, and trying to put them back on." -- Mike Nieto

Mom's best friend: T.F. South sophomore football and baseball player Louis Reynolds said his favorite story is about a gift he helped pick out. he hand his sister Cori, a senior volleyball and softball player got together for a special present for their mom.

"My mom loves dogs, especially beagles," Reynolds said. "We had to put our beagle (Buster) down in 2005. My Mom took that really hard. My sister Cori and I started talking in the summer of 2010 about getting Mom a beagle puppy for Christmas. It took us a long time to convince our Dad to do it, but we wore him down and he said yes.

"We went to a breeder in Bolingbrook, and he had only two left to choose from. They both were adorable, but my sister and I both liked the same one, so that’s the one we bought. It was still a week before Christmas, so my grandmother said she would keep him until Christmas Day. We visited the puppy several times that week and couldn’t wait to see Mom’s face when she saw her gift. Because my family members are all huge Chicago Cubs fans, we decided to name the dog Wrigley."

Then came the big moment as Santa Claus delivered the puppy.

"On Christmas morning, as we were opening gifts, my grandmother’s boyfriend brought Wrigley to the house," he said. "We put him in a grocery bag, told Mom to close her eyes, and placed the bag on her lap. When she opened her eyes, Wrigley walked right out of the bag, crawled up to her, and began licking her face. My Mom started crying because she NEVER expected we would get her a puppy for Christmas. Now the two of them are inseparable. That’s when I learned that receiving gifts for Christmas is great, but seeing somebody else’s joy is even more rewarding." -- Mike Nieto

Badminton Christimas memories: The T.F. South badminton team has some short, but good memories.

Jeanne Colin, a sophomore exchange student from France said: "Christmas in the USA is very similar to Christmas in France. I miss going to midnight Mass with my mother, while my dad cooked our Christmas meal for the next day. Dinner always consisted of seafood -- lobster, crab and oysters.

Senior Jessica Gomez said her family went away for the holidays. "When I was younger, our family would travel to Mexico to see my grandmother and celebrate Christmas."

Sophomore Kristi Fisher has fond memories of Christmas with her uncle. "I remember getting 10 - $2  bills from my uncle for Christmas. He passed away shortly thereafter. I still have the 10 bills."

Senior Cassie Breshock said she enjoys her family visits. "One year I got to spend Christmas with my mom's side and dad's side. Usually we just spend it with my dad's side, so it was really special to be with my entire family."

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow The Times

Fan Poll

Loading…

Which school has the area's best baseball team?

View Results

Follow your school

Duneland Conference

Chesterton Trojans
News
Crown Point Bulldogs
News
Lake Central Indians
News
LaPorte Slicers
News
Merrillville Pirates
News
Michigan City Wolves
News
Portage Indians
News
Valparaiso Vikings
News

Greater South Shore Conference

Bishop Noll Warriors
News
Calumet Warriors
News
Lake Station Eagles
News
Michigan City Marquette Blazers
News
North Newton Spartans
News
River Forest Ingots
News
Wheeler Bearcats
News
Whiting Oilers
News

Great Lakes Athletic Conference

Clark Pioneers
News
Gavit Gladiators
News
Hammond Wildcats
News
Morton Governors
News

Hoosier Conference

Rensselaer Bombers
News

Northwest Crossroads Conference

Andrean 59ers
News
Griffith Panthers
News
Highland Trojans
News
Hobart Brickies
News
Kankakee Valley Kougars
News
Lowell Red Devils
News
Munster Mustangs
News

Northwestern Conference

Lew Wallace Hornets
News
Roosevelt Panthers
News
West Side Cougars
News

Porter County Conference

Boone Grove Wolves
News
Hanover Central Wildcats
News
Hebron Hawks
News
Kouts Mustangs/Fillies
News
LaCrosse Tigers
News
Morgan Twp. Cherokees
News
South Central Satellites
News
Washington Twp. Senators
News
Westville Blackhawks
News

Independents

Bowman Academy Eagles
News
Calumet Christian
News
Campagna Academy
News
Covenant Christian Knights
News
E.C. Central Cardinals
News
Hammond Baptist Swordsman
News
Luther East Eagles
News

Chicago Catholic League

Mt. Carmel Caravan
News
Seton Academy Sting
News
St. Francis deSales Pioneers
News

Chicago Public League

Washington Minutemen/Minutewomen
News

East Suburban Catholic

Marian Catholic Spartans
News

Metro Suburban

Illiana Christian Vikings
News

River Valley Conference

Beecher Bobcats/Ladycats
News
Illinios Lutheran Chargers
News

South Suburban Blue

T.F. North Meteors
News
T.F. South Rebels
News

Southland Athletic Conference

Bloom Twp. Blazin' Trojans
News
Crete-Monee Warriors
News

SouthWest Suburban Blue

Homewood-Flossmoor Vikings
News

SouthWest Suburban Red

Thornridge Falcons
News
Thornton Wildcats
News
Thornwood Thunderbirds
News

Latest Local Offers

Featured Businesses