>Santa's on his way

   If it seems early to start coming up with a gift list for the magical day now only 20 days away, bear with me.
   Blessed enough to be taken in by many segments of a community which is greatly supportive - I hope to lend a little support to Madras with a few requests to Mr. Claus and his gang of elves.
   Whereas characters named Ebenezer Scrooge and The Grinch -- described as next to heartless -- become overcome by strong doses of human caring in Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol and Dr. Seuss' The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, there must be hope for everyone. Hopefully, most things on my wish list prove more possible dreams than the ones of Don Quixote.
   First, Santa, let both the headliners and role players of each team at all the area's schools be praised. Let all the players, regardless of their role, come to realize public recognition is less important than that from coaches and peers. May every White Buffalo, Bulldog and other athlete -- from Madras High volleyball seniors (alphabetically) Tara Barnes, Nikki Daniels, Jamie Jaca, Michelle Manion, Natalie Mitchell and Tarah Sweeney to Buff football seniors Chad McFarland, Louis Smith, Christian Kowaleski, Jeff Barnes, J.D. Urrutia, Gordon Scott and Preston Romanick, among others -- discover their efforts are not under-appreciated, even if not always recognized.
   Madras High's varied awards in fall sports gave those who were mentioned a variety of lessons about life itself when it comes to being unpredictable.
   Self-esteem might be among modern society's catch phrases but both Dickens and Dr. Seuss illustrated it decades ago. Each author had no trouble showing how it is possible for a grouchy person's "humbug" attitude to get turned virtually inside out. May all of the area's athletes keep showing their knack for putting others' importance before their own. We adults (including myself) should follow the direction of some young athletes in crediting others. Culver's Mark Coy spoke of "the linemen" opening holes for him on his path to more than 1,100 yards in rushing. Let him and others, like Colter Barnes, who speak of accomplishments and challenges with modesty, be rewarded.
   In the spirit of the season and the spirit's role in many cultures -- such as sharing feasts, in "Christian" nations, or fasting, as during Ramadan -- let young athletes around Mardras respect their neighbors, no matter their background.
   It would be great to have more runners cut from the cloth of some mountain and hill runners around the country, including Oregon. Younger cross country runners, like Cameron Nathan and Tori Campbell, will do well if they follow examples by seniors like Rodman Campbell and Amy Harris and improve, mentally and physically, as they mature.
   It would be appreciated to see some businesses vitalize the area and bring in some new teens who could perform as a 6-0 volleyball middle blocker and girls basketball center, or a 6-6, 245-pound, cat-quick offensive and defensive lineman and basketball center. Yet, I will be just as sastisfied if Santa sees fit to provide upcoming scholar-athletes with a magical mirror which lets them see how successful they can be if they apply themselves to meeting their capabilities.
   Greed is a human characteristic many letters from Santa get filled with so I will have to beg Santa's forgiveness for being a little more human than average.
   It would be nice if he arranged for governmental bodies to enact laws to require most outdoor games to happen during daylight. Such a policy would let football teams join soccer teams at Madras in having a better chance of having their success captured photographically.
   Whether coming in the form of gyms so brightly lit as to eliminate the need for flashes or new flashes that capture high-speed action, I am also putting a wish that hoop and volleyball denizens get photographed in focus on my list.
   Letting more Madras and Culver High competitors enjoy the feeling of the state playoffs is a request I hope Santa has a large amount of requests for.
   One of the most pleasant things about the holidays is seeing grandparents share the sparkle of their grandchildren's eyes as they open gifts. Hopefully Santa, you can let the community enjoy the spark displayed by the young athletes as they post the wins they need to play in a post-season competition, regardless of the sport.
   If Santa has a sense of humor he will realize the length of this list is only a favor to him. It will let him test if the elves ground his glasses to the specifications needed.
   Hopefully, a few more ideas will occur in the few weeks before the day of giving from not just us to one another, but -- as some believe -- from a higher power to mankind.
   While the letters to Santa arena is geared to children, can you let some older children have the courage to ask for and receive your gift Santa. I only wish I had your knack for knowing what gifts will be the biggest help to everyone and not leave them too spoiled.
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