By TODD TRAUB
Leader sports editor
I’ve always felt a sportswriter who falls back on the old holiday gifts column idea is simply a writer who has run out of important things to say.
So let’s get right to it.
Here is what I’m hoping various members of the sporting world are finding under their Christmas trees this morning.
For Auburn offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, the best head coach no one has ever had, a head-coaching job too sweet to turn down. In other words, not at Vanderbilt.
For Shiloh Christian football, well, what can you give to the program that has everything? The Saints even boast the USA Today high school player of the year in quarterback Kiehl Frazier who, coincidentally, is headed to Auburn to be groomed by Malzahn.
For Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, a goldfish.
This guy says he wants to buy a dog. Really?
Everyone deserves a shot at redemption and Vick, the former dogfighting impresario, should be no exception. But for his own good, unless he wants the paparazzi to follow him every time he walks his pooch and catch him that one time he yanks a little too hard on the leash, Vick ought to stick with something requiring less care.
For Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino, a nice little bookcase in which to store his atlases and road maps. After Arkansas granted Petrino a contract extension paying $3.56 million a year through 2017, it looks like the coach infamous for program jumping isn’t traveling anywhere for a while.
For Arkansas State athletics, some victories they really CAN’T take away from you, including that elusive seventh in football.
For Brett Favre, a relaxing retirement full of touch football games with his Wrangler-jeans-wearing buddies.
For Sylvan Hills basketball standout Archie Goodwin, a Ouija Board or Magic Eight Ball or something to help him choose from the bounty of major college scholarship offers he is getting.
For Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett, an NFL position coach who can teach him to effectively throw the ball out of bounds in big games.
For the Arkansas Activities Association, a high school football postseason free from lawsuits and a conference/classification alignment that makes regional and numeric sense. I hope the AAA gets both because they should come in a set.
For Beebe High School, room for the press in the football press box.
For Cleveland Indians pitcher, I mean Philadelphia Phillies pitcher, I mean Seattle Mariners pitcher, I mean Texas Rangers pitcher — no wait, I mean Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee, Benton’s finest, a hat rack big enough for all those caps.
On second thought, even though he turned down some good Yankee money to sign again with Philly, let Lee buy is own dang hat rack. With his new, $120 million deal, Lee can afford it.
For the fans who attend the high school state basketball finals in Hot Springs, a song, any song, other than “We Are the Champions” to listen to when yet another champion is crowned. At this point I’d settle for “Who Let the Dogs Out?” Or “The Streak.”
For Lonoke’s Asiah Scribner, some freshman playing time at UALR, and for former Cabot and UALR standout Kim Sitzmann, a WNBA contract.
For the Arkansas Travelers, fewer runners gunned down at third under new manager Bill Mosiello.
For the Texas League, now that combative former Travelers general manager Bill Valentine has been named league vice president, some patience.
For Arkansas duck hunters, some wet weather. Just not too much, okay?
For the Dallas Cowboys, St. Louis Cardinals and Green Bay Packers, coal, switches and sub .500 records.
For Ohio State football players, some “adequate rules education.”
For Major League Baseball, a shorter season with fewer of those bad interleague matchups and a World Series guaranteed to end in October like it is supposed to.
For officials and referees in just about every sport, more correct calls and fewer apologies made.
For my co-worker Jason King, a fresh box of crayons so he can keep up his fine work and my sincere thanks for his tireless effort this past year.
And for me, I already have beautiful kids, terrific friends and a warm house. If you keep reading I’ll have everything I could possibly want.