Monday, December 29, 2014

This and That

Sounds like Jim Harbaugh is going to Michigan to coach. Michigan fans should brace themselves for another two to three years of mediocrity as Harbaugh tries to rebuild and convince recruits that he will be there to coach them. That will be followed by another coaching search when Harbaugh bolts for the NFL, leaving the players he recruited high and dry. Once you have been to the Super Bowl, it seems doubtful you will be happy coaching college again.

Speaking of mediocrity, the College Football Playoff starts this week. The committee got it mostly right, given the hand they were dealt, having to choose only four teams. The miss is Florida State. A team that wins that many close games by so small a margin has no business being considered in the national championship picture. For those who say, “Winning is the name of the game and they were undefeated,” remember Boise State when winning wasn’t the name of the game. I imagine Oregon will beat FSU pretty handily, and OSU will beat Alabama. That will set up the Ducks and the Bucks for the national championship which will be an entertaining game. Put your money on the Buckeyes.

The CFP needs to go to eight teams. That would remove a lot of controversy. It’s hard to argue that TCU or Baylor aren’t as good as FSU. They certainly belong in the conversation.

But at four teams, Florida State doesn’t belong in that conversation.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Santa for (Some) Christians

Christmas always brings out the best in some people. And I mean that in the most sarcastic way.

It seems there are always some people every year who feel it is their job to rid the world of the idea of Santa Claus. They want to protect kids from the enormous evil of thinking that there is a fat guy in a red suit who brings children presents, somehow making it to all the houses via a sled being pulled by reindeer through the sky, landing on roofs, and sliding his little fat self down the chimney into a roaring fire without even getting his long white beard dirty.

Spoiler Alert: I am about to reveal that Santa is not real. Kind of … If you don’t want to know that, please turn away from the screen. And now would not be too soon.

Trigger Alert: If hearing that stories of Santa are mostly made up and grossly over-exaggerated will send into a holiday depression or other traumatic decline, please stop reading here.

I will give you thirty seconds to move away from the screen.

Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Okay, now that the crowd has dwindled, let me continue.

Santa (as in the fat guy in red who brings presents down the chimney) is not actually real. There are some fat guys out there, some who even wear red. And I imagine there are some people in chimneys. (Check yours now.)

But there’s no need to clean our your fireplace because he won’t be there tonight.

In the spirit of Christmas cheer and giving, I am going to let you in on a little secret. Your kids will not be forever warped if they don’t know that yet. In fact, it is highly likely they won’t even be temporarily warped. The chance your children having issues from a belief in Santa Claus is pretty small. They are in more danger standing out in a thunderstorm.

You aren’t lying to them by allowing them to have a little imagination. The older I get, the more I am inclined to let kids be kids for a bit. They will grow up all too fast. But for now, in the right proportion, there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of fun and imagination at Christmas.

Poor Santa is the subject of an awful lot of folklore, mostly found in Christmas songs.

The truth is that Santa’s not making a list, and he most certainly is not checking it twice. He doesn’t particularly like being called “Santa Baby.” He puts up with it for the sake of holiday cheer. (He told me that once in an unguarded moment.) He also thinks that being called jolly and old is putting his man-card at risk.

But the kids who “… Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” weren’t quite as traumatized as one might have imagined. It has a lot more truth in it than most kids realize. I have it on good authority that mommy kisses Santa Claus. And he doesn’t mind.

My kids used to ask me, “Is Santa real?” I always responded with either “What do you think?” or “Of course he is.”

My oldest recently said to me, “Santa Claus isn’t real.” I said, “Really? Why do you think that?” He told me it was because he knew who Santa was at the library.

I told him, “If you think that, that’s fine. As a family, we do some things that are fun for all of us, so don’t ruin it for other people.”

In the end, they will find out all too soon that Santa is real, and that he is not nearly so impressive as they thought. The sleigh is actually a well-traveled minivan with six cylinders instead of eight reindeer. It won’t fly though it has been known to try when a few kids have made it almost impossible to be on time for school.

But Santa loves them a lot, and loves to see them having fun, even if an imaginary fat guy in a red suit gets the credit for it.