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A poem for the holidays

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Posted: Wednesday December 30, 1998 10:59 AM


With apologies to The New Yorker, which always offers a clever Christmas poem, this has been such a wonderful year in sport -- while the rest of the world is so depressing right now -- that I think that this is the appropriate Christmas to celebrate the sport's year past in verse. And so:

Bring together our champions of '98,
That we might raise a glass -- celebrate!
This wondrous year of fun and games,
So studded with stupendous names:

Come in, John Elway , how Super sweet,
Stuff a stocking with Picabo Street .
Holyfield and Lewis , don't spar here --
It's only a place for all our good cheer.
And Bob Baffert , you Derby showman,
Share your encore with Scotty Bowman .
Cal Ripken , lest you rest too long,
Off your duff, give us a song.
Yo, Jeff Gordon , in flags checkered,
Change gears and cheer that greatest record:
Seventy homers for Mighty McGwire ,
He, warming his abs by our holiday fire.
But, then hang up a sprig of mistletoe, so
We can plant kisses upon Sammy Sosa !
Mark O'Meara -- how festive in jacket o'green!
Bring in your young Tiger , and the teens:
On Hingis , on Kobe , on Lipinski , on Venus and Serena
And the Little Leaguers from Tom's River .
But now, in tandem, no tinsel here, the elite --
Jordan , His Airness, and Sampras , just Pete.
Both won their sixth title. Half-a-dozen!
Come in and announce them, Boomer Esiason!
Our party grows, now all the best squads
Jam round the buffet and quaff the eggnogs.
There's the Vols and the Red Wings , the Yankees -- such gloss!
Yes, even allow in Steinbrenner , The Boss!
But El Duque , El Perfecto (that's David Wells ) -- such glory!
This team rang all bells; victory, Joe Torre .
And the Czechs -- good skates -- of Square Wencelas,
While down the Champs, France : cheered as the champs.
And here come our own hoop champions: wassail!
Tubby Smith from Kentucky -- yet skinny and hale,
But much better named: Pat Summitt of Tenn,
And the current top: UConn -- women and men!
So swells the spirit of our holiday fest,
We'll even let in the best of the rest.
Both basketball Utahs , college and pro --
Oh, Malone and Stockton , what a noble duo!
There's still something about Brett Fav-re.
And Tony Gwynn -- you're forever to ... savor.

In fact, so merry are all our good sports,
'Tis only just two who we find out of sorts --
They're outside, they are, Scrooges, a pair of,
With names that foreshadow all we despair of.
For there is Stern of the one side, Hunter his foe,
And if a rose by any name smell sweet, so
Grim is the name Stern, so savage is Hunter:
That such names cannot join a season asunder.
But as this is that time of love and of peace,
We'll welcome these rivals, if they will but cease
To employ their harsh names that signal dispute,
And take on signs sweeter that might well bear fruit.
So to our Christmas party enter, these two men,
But named more aptly now, thus to befriend:
Come in, David Joyous , the commissioner,
And Billy Gatherer , the players petitioner.
Joyous and Gatherer -- put Stern and Hunter away,
So with these soft new names, hooray!
Our party will not only have such joie de vivre,
But it will, for the lockout, write a blessed finis.

Merry Christmas!

These commentaries, which appear each Wednesday on National Public Radio's Morning Edition, are posted weekly by CNN/SI.

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