"We didn't have much when I was little," says Vijay Singh. But now that he's the alltime single-season money winner on the PGA Tour, he collects priceless art--in a manner of speaking. "The best things I've ever gotten have been hand-drawn cards from my son, Qass. There'd be a picture, you know, of a little man who didn't really look like a man, but it didn't matter. What mattered is they were from him. I still have a couple in my carry bag."
What's in your emotional carry bag? "Playskool basketball hoop," says Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "Orange and blue with the white backboard."
"Big Wheel," says center Kris Draper of the Detroit Red Wings. "It was just sitting there [under the tree]. It was too big to wrap, and it just had a bow on it. I came downstairs, and it was beautiful." He was five.
Ever wish you were five again too? Or seven? Right wing Anson Carter wears a real NHL jersey for the Los Angeles Kings, but the sweater that gave him goose bumps was a replica jersey--number 22 of the New York Islanders--he got for his seventh Christmas. "To this day," says Carter, "of all the things I have bought or had given to me, that Mike Bossy jersey is my favorite."
How can that be? Easy. Now he plays for a living. But back then he was living for play.