Coach's Corner

"Sleigh bells are jing-jing jingling, ring-ring ringling now!" I have problems with the "holiday season." Happy-happy-happy, everyone's happy as that pig who won the lottery. The family, sledding over the pure, driven snow to grandma's house, in the Miller Lite commercial, are oh-so- happy. Dads are happy in Sears commercials. Though a poor child dies of a brain hemorrhage, still, the ER staff are all warm and fuzzy at the yearly Christmas party. Chestnuts are roasting over open fires, drummer boys drum, rum-pa-pa-pum, jingle bells jingle, sleigh bells do ring, though I try not to listen. A boyish Jimmy Stewart, with the help of his own guardian angel Clarence, understands, as he does every year, that it is indeed -- as a gentle snow falls outside -- A Wonderful Life.

Poor Frosty -- in one of the saddest tales perpetrated on the youth of the world since Hansel and Gretel were cooked in the bad witch's oven -- sweet Frosty melts into a glass of dirty water, leaving nothing behind but his wet hat, corncob pipe, and scarf. How, I ask you, is this a good story?

It's in malls where I used to get most depressed. All this joyful Christmas music is played in its most funereal, sappish form. Many suicides must occur soon after trips to a pre-Christmas mall. I once believed my Christmas gloom was related to being without a holiday girlfriend, but I've found out this is not true.

My own house, my damn castle, is worse than any mall on earth; Perry Como croons on Christ Was Born, A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, with all the sad favorites, Barry Manilow's big seller, "Because It's Christmas," on the ever popular The Christmas Collection from Dillard's, Bing Crosby's White Christmas tape, "A Country Christmas," with selections from Vince Gill and the Judds ("Silver Bells") and, let's not forget, Christmas with the Stars, featuring Barbara Streisand and Harry Connick Jr., or Willie Nelson's Pretty Paper. As I write, Willie's singing about poor Frosty. The last of what I found laying on the living room floor is Tony Bennett, Streisand, Simon and Garfunkel, Johnny Mathis, and Aretha Franklin's Dreaming of a White Christmas compilation.

I just told Kelly if she didn't shut this shit off, I was going to jam a butcher knife deep in my chest, but she only nodded placidly, adding, that was fine, she'd get to keep all my presents. How a good Jewish boy from the South Side of Chicago has fallen so far and deep into this Southern Baptist pagan festival, I don't know. Escape? There's no escape. My home, my office, my radio station, my car, everywhere, "sleighbells are jing, jing, jingling." Humbug, I wish there wasn't a Christmas.

Allowing the holiday season is with us to stay, though, here are some other things I wish:

  • Some adult around Luke Axtell would have had the good sense to advise Luke against his family's scorched earth, take-no-prisoners policy. All the hard feelings of last winter would be forgotten by now. Texas would not have lost six games by 12 points. Luke, a crowdfavorite, would've had a long, popular, and productive career here.
  • There were no more shots of baseball players in the dugout. Close-ups of guys scratching their nuts, nervously picking at zits, and spitting brown streams of shit onto the ground add little to the telecast.
  • Rick Barnes would follow Mack Brown's lead and make himself more media- and fan-friendly. His policy of closed practices and few on-the-record encounters with the media can cost a coach big-time when the team flounders. Ask Bob Weltlich and John Mackovic.
  • On second thought, I can do without shots of girlfriends, celebrities, and non-descript league vice presidents.
  • The Cowboys didn't play in the weakest division since the advent of the T formation. I'd love to see how quick the Dallas media and fans would turn on wonder boy Chan Gailey.
  • NCAA womens volleyball would go to a three-game format where the third game would be point scoring. The way it's played now is like watching my dog's fur dry.
  • The pass interference rule were radically altered to an NBA-style, no-harm-no-foul deal. Football's a rough game. Let 'em play!
  • John Mackovic would get some recognition from Mack Brown and/or Ricky Williams for his contributions at UT -- but I'm not going to hold my breath.
  • The NBA would not come back with a bastardized "abbreviated season." I'm a big NBA fan, and I'm one of the few who will admit to missing them. However, I'm also a spiteful coot. They've hurt me, and now I want vengeance. I want both the filthy rich owners and the greedy, ungrateful players to suffer without revenues or paychecks. Maybe that will make them appreciate each other for three or four years.
  • The Radical Longhorns who populate the landscape would understand these are, in the end, only games. No one will live or die because of the results of the Baylor game. Columnists who dare pen the odd "negative" word are doing their jobs. If you want soft, "positive" things, get a media guide.


    Talk to Coach on Sportsradio 1300AM, 3-4pm weekdays; or write to: Coach36@aol.com

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