Sports

A wish list for a new year

Did I miss Christmas?

Is it too late to put together a wish list?

Then again, the things on this list really can’t be wrapped up in a box with paper and a bow.However, there are a few things that would enjoyable to see — more of or less of — in 2008.I just hope it’s not asking too much.

u First, it would be nice to see fewer Nittany Lion athletes showing up in the police blotter and on the front page of this paper for something other than their athletic abilities. Ninety-nine percent of them are great kids, are terriffic to talk with whether it is for a story or just a regular conversation, most of them are fun and have wonderful stories to tell. If that other one percent can understand the meanings of honor and integrity, some of those other stories might be heard a little better.

u We can only hope there will be more good volleyball matches at Rec Hall. You would think getting to play the national champions would be a great deal, but getting teams to come here is not the easiest task in the world. It’s a tall order just getting a program to fly to State College, but getting them here for a heavy battle (with every starter returning, they should be pretty good again this fall) may be asking too much. Aside from the Big Ten schedule, it would be nice to see a top 10 team or two step onto the Rec Hall hardwood.

u The NHL could use a little more intellegence when it comes up with great ideas to draw interest in hockey. The Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres are playing a game this afternoon at Ralph Wilson Stadium, the home of the Buffalo Bills. The contest sold out in less than an hour, despite there likely being very few good seats in that stadium to watch a hockey game. It’s a holiday treat and the fans in both cities, and a large swath of the region stretching into Canada, are passionate about the game. The problem is, the game is being played today. On New Year’s Day, what are most American sports fans watching on their televisions? The game would have sparked a lot more national interest, and likely earned more television viewers, if it was played in February. Rumor has it that it’s still pretty cold in Buffalo then.

u The Penn State men’s soccer team could use a little less bad luck — or more good luck. Each of the last two years the team’s top offensive threat, Jason Yeisley, has been felled by a knee injury. Several of his teammates also have had their health difficulties, and a team that could have been contending for a conference title instead piled up a lot of losses. Here’s hoping for less work in 2008 for the medical staff.

u In 2008, it would be nice to see more stories about wins and losses, heroes and goats, spectacular plays and remarkable achievements, and fewer stories about steroids, gambling, cheating and felonies.

u This summer, there should be more great play from Hope Solo and hear less from her mouth. In case you don’t recognize the name, or forgot, she was the keeper for the U.S. women’s national team who was pulled in favor of Briana Scurry for a World Cup semifinal against Brazil. The U.S. lost 4-0 and Solo basically said she could have done a better job. As a journalist, her quotes are what you dream of hearing from an athlete, completely honest and saying what some observers were thinking. But in a team sport, it would be hard to come up with a worse thing to do to your teammates at such an important time. They’ve got eight months to get their act together for the Olympics.

u Sooner or later, maybe there will be a little less greed and a little more attentiveness to the sport and we’ll have a Divison I college football championship. If it works for every other sport, and the other divisions, why again does it not work for the big boys? Then again, that’s been on the wish list for years.

u And finally, we can only hope for more good stories, people and events this year, with more district, state and even national championships. But most importantly, that everyone has a safe and healthy new year.

Gordon Brunskill is a sports writer for the Centre Daily Times. He can be reached at 231-4608 or gbrunski@centredaily.com.

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