Yes, it is better to give than receive. Let’s be honest, however: If you are paid to wear a badge around your neck and write about young adults playing children’s games, you’re receiving in abundance, almost daily.

We are taught to be thankful at this time of year, and when you are immersed in Maine and New England sports, it is no chore. I’m privy to special moments and cool people, all year long. It puts me in the mood to repay the people who make it possible, to say the least.

With that in mind, my annual, hypothetical, Christmas list for the sporting scene that seemingly has everything and has given me everything …

To University of Maine coach Joe Harasymiak: An influx of talent to match the youthful enthusiasm he will bring to the program. It seems almost impossible for the Black Bears to compete with Richmond, Villanova, James Madison and William & Mary year-in and year-out, but the sales pitch of someone who got his degree only seven years ago can’t hurt.

To fans of Edward Little and Lewiston boys’ basketball: The patience to realize that life is going to be different, at least for this year, throwing an almost completely new team out there against the three-headed monster of Portland, Deering and Cheverus.

To Matt Peterson and Nick DiSalvo of New England Fights: A mixed martial artist who emerges from the shadows of the local promotion and earns a contract with UFC or Bellator. Those two guys have worked harder to develop their brand and grow the talent pool than you can imagine. They deserve to see the fruit of that labor on a national level.

To the New England Patriots: What do you think? Health from now through the first week of February, so fans, pink-hatters and proven ones alike, don’t have to Google words such as “Iosefa.”

To New York Giants enthusiasts: A team next year that shows interest in November and December even when it’s playing a non-undefeated opponent.

To well-paid southpaw David Price: The ability to ignore typical Boston sports fans the first time you have a less-than-quality start for the Red Sox.

To Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens: A team that will continue to overachieve for four or five more months, followed by the offseason acquisition(s) that allow you to be fully recognized for what you are, which is one of the best in the game.

To the University of Maine women’s basketball team: The full respect of your relatively quiet fan base for what you are accomplishing, despite the lack of homegrown talent on the roster. The teams of the Cindy Blodgett/Amy Vachon/Heather Ernest era would have given anything to beat the likes of LSU and Clemson in the same season.

To NFL commissioner Roger Goodell: Record-smashing opening-weekend attendance at “Concussion,” you smarmy, little man.

To the Dolphins, Jets and Bills: Ability to recognize that willy-nilly spending on one guy in the free agent market every year isn’t what it’s going to take to beat the Patriots.

To Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh: A ginormous projection TV, on which he may watch the NFL playoffs and analyze Bill Belichick’s ingenuity with the rulebook.

To Maine’s best high school basketball players: The freedom to have momentary, human reactions when something on the court doesn’t go your way without being sized up for a technical foul.

To Major League Baseball: Continued success for its small-market franchises against the teams that spend a bajillion dollars every hot-stove season. When everybody has a fighting chance, your league is the most compelling in pro sports, by a wide margin.

To the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry: Tens of thousands of kids who will emulate you, put down their gadgets and put up shots in their driveway every day.

To professional golf: No medical issues for any of its stars. It’s bad enough that we were shortchanged another decade of Tiger Woods’ excellence. I don’t want to hear about Rory McIlroy wrecking a knee, Jason Day having dizzy spells, or Jordan Spieth dealing with anything more challenging than the common cold.

To Red Sox manager John Farrell: Permanent remission.

To New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia: Zero interest from bad teams who want to gamble on a young head coach. You’re a dozen times more crucial to this team’s success than Josh McDaniels.

To Farmington’s Olympic champion Seth Wescott: A body that holds up and gives you a few more winters to show those youngsters how it’s done.

To all readers, social media followers and friends I’ve accumulated along the way: A blessed Christmas, a prosperous New Year, and a sincere thank you for participating in this fun and foolishness I somehow manage to justify as a career.

Kalle Oakes is a staff columnist. His email is [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @oaksie72 and like his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kalleoakes.sj.


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