By Lance Ogden

Globe columnist

There’s never so much hope as there is in the days before a sports season begins and in the days leading up to Christmas and the new year.

Even the Bob Knights of the sports world have to sit on the collective edge of their seats in anticipation during these moments in time.

Most of us who celebrate Christmas receive self-induced warm fuzzies (and no, I’m not referring to the egg nog) on Christmas Day.

More times than not, it’s a day for family and friends to gather and put aside differences while taking part in a time-honored tradition and focus on what’s right in our world.

Also, there’s the presents, which kids of all ages look forward to seeing under the tree come Christmas morning. Which led to the Globe gladly securing presents for sports teams and the major players throughout the region, but I couldn’t get anyone to help me pass out the gifts.

Sports writer Anvil Welch refused to come in on his day off after I explained Lubbock, Texas, and Knight where not in our region and that we didn’t get the angry coach a darned thing.

Sports writer Zach Ewing was home for the holidays in Albuquerque, N.M., and Sports Editor Jim Fryar, well, Fryar had to work in the office today and declined overtime.

Now, I’m stuck with a bag full of gifts, so I guess we can only hope for the following:

n The Joplin wrestling team: An opportunity to have every “starter” wrestle during the same match.

n The family of former Carthage athlete Hannah Smallwood: A moment to remember the happiness of the time you spent during Christmases past.

n Junge Field: Junge FieldTurf.

n The Kansas City Chiefs: The miracle of staying alive for a playoff berth to continue.

n The University of Missouri men’s basketball team: Five more home dates with the Arkansas Razorbacks.

n The Kansas City Royals: That 1980s George Brett, Frank White, U.L. Washington, Hal McRae, Bret Saberhagen and the gang can find their way to a time machine and fast forward to 2007 ... it might be the only way the Royals could see the playoffs the next few seasons without a ticket.

n Kansas City Royals owner David Glass: The opportunity to call the shots from a remote location (much, much farther away than Arkansas). In fact, a remote section in South America without cell-phone service, electricity to power a fax machine or postal service, for that matter, would be a nice start.

n The Missouri Southern State University women’s basketball team: Oh, that’s right, they don’t need a present this year. The Lions received their gifts this past week in the form of Division I transfers India Wood and Fatai Hala’api’api. Wood, a 5-8 point guard, and Hala’api’api, a 6-2 post player, transferred from Eastern Kentucky.

n The Webb City football team: A fifth year of eligibility for Gatorade Player of the Year Collin Howard.

n The University of Missouri football team: A 14-point advantage before taking the field against the Oregon State Beavers during Friday’s Sun Bowl.

n The St. Louis Cardinals: An “andro-free” heavy hitter who can at least lift Mark McGwire’s bat.

Merry Christmas from The Joplin Globe Sports Department.

Address correspondence to Lance Ogden, c/o The Joplin Globe, P.O. Box 7, Joplin, MO 64802 or via e-mail at

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