By the power vested in me by the Sports Division of Universal Santa Inc. (Bernard Madoff, proprietor), I hereby bestow the following gifts upon the naughty and nice of the sports world:
To golfer Boo Weekley: A new name that doesn't describe the main activity of Detroit Lions fans.
To Plaxico Burress: A pair of Kevlar panty-hose.
To Mets pitcher Johan Santana: A case of Rolaids, for the only r-e-l-i-e-f he's seen all year.
To Michael Phelps: Gills, to enable him to return to his homeland of Atlantis.
To Oscar de la Hoya: The wisdom to stay out of the ring from now on, so that he may enjoy the gazillion dollars he's earned with a fully functional brain.
To Al Davis: A fully functional brain.
To Giants receiver David Tyree: A Velcro helmet, and as much success exploiting his one glorious moment as Mike Eruzione has enjoyed exploiting his.
To Dara Torres: An English-Teenage dictionary so she can communicate with her teammates.
To Sean Avery: Sloppy seconds.
To the Williams Sisters: Praise, rather than scorn, for understanding that there's more to life than tennis.
To Tom Brady: A full recovery from his injuries, so he can get back to football instead of having to stay at home with Gisele Bundchen. (Gift is returnable.)
To Chinese gymnasts He Kexin and Jiang Yuyian: Two "Hello Kitty" cases in which to carry their Olympic medals, replacing the "Teletubbies" ones they'd used before the Games.
To Roger Federer: Recognition as World Sportsman of the Decade, to make up for the inexplicable annual slights from a certain U.S. magazine.
To Chad Johnson: In honor of his outstanding contributions to the Bengals' season, a further name change from "Ocho Cinco" to "Tres y Once y Uno."
To Tiger Woods: Three major titles, two good knees, and a caddie who keeps his mouth shut.
To C.C. Sabathia: An ERA lower than his weight.
To David Stern: A one-way ticket to Seattle.
To Terrell Owens: A late-night visit from the Ghosts of Selfish Receivers Past (Keyshawn Johnson), Present (Chad Johnson), and Future (DeSean Jackson).
To sprinter Usain Bolt: A rival who can keep up with him (like, say, light).
To Jamie Moyer: A knuckleball, so he can pitch another ten years once his new two-year contract is done.
To the recently retired Greg Maddux: A change of heart, to go after the National League wins record held by Christy Mathewson and Grover Cleveland Alexander (373, to Maddux's 355).
To Roger Clemens: A bus of his own, with room for all the friends and family he's thrown under it.
To Jerry Jones: A glittering team filled with star players at skill positions that can't win when the going gets tough… oh, right, he still has that from last Christmas.
To Ozzie Guillen: An unexpressed thought.
To Tyler Hansbrough: The Ralph Sampson Award, given annually to the Most Disliked Player In America Who Somehow Didn't Go To Duke.
To Stephen Curry: Man-to-man coverage for three months, to make up for the absurd triangle-and-two that Loyola (Md.) played against him, with the "two" double-teaming Curry all night.
To Brett Favre: An autographed picture of Joe Montana wearing his immortal #16 of the Kansas City Chiefs.
To Rafael Nadal: Substitute knees he can wear on hard courts, to give him a shot at the Grand Slam he deserves.
To Manny Ramirez: A team that pays him only when it wants to.
To Annika Sorenstam: A happy marriage and beautiful babies, then a return to the game she's played with skill and class.
To Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin, and Evgeni Malkin: The TV exposure their league deserves, and not just in New Year's Day outdoor games.
To the Bowl Committees and BCS decision-makers: An eternity in purgatory, awaiting a final decision.
To Michelle Wie: An automatic camera repellent, so she can pursue her first full LPGA season in peace.
To Hank, Hal, and George Steinbrenner: Houses haunted by the ghosts and echoes that used to reside in Yankee Stadium.
To Charlie Weis: His rightful place in the pantheon of great Notre Dame coaches, alongside Joe Kuharich, Bob Davie, and Gerry Faust.
To U. at Buffalo coach Turner Gill: The next coaching vacancy in the SEC, so he can beat Auburn year after year after year after…
To all fans everywhere: A constitutional amendment forcing teams that raise prices when their payrolls go up to cut prices when they start dumping salaries.
To the players, coaches, families, officials, camera operators, sportswriters, broadcasters and all the rest who fill our lives with the drama of the games: A happy and healthy new year, and a happy and healthy dose of perspective for 2009 and beyond.