Handing Out Some Holiday Gifts to Local Sports Figures
The credit cards are maxed out. The anxiety of waiting in seemingly endless lines is gone. The presents are all wrapped.
It’s time to relax and enjoy the holidays.
The Sun sports staff would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. As is our custom, we’re offering a few gifts to some special people.
Sorry, there’s no return policy.
To Joel Jenkins: Three holes-in-one in one round. The Mt. Pleasant Golf Club pro had two aces earlier this year during a memorable 18-hole round in Las Vegas, but what’s one more? After all, the hole doesn’t move, does it?
To Noelle Lambert and Kelly Moran: Terrific 2019 women’s lacrosse seasons at UMass Lowell. The seniors, both from New Hampshire, continue to inspire by returning to the playing field after suffering serious injuries during a 2016 moped accident on Martha’s Vineyard.
To Dave Kaizer: An injury-free 2019 football season. The Chelmsford High coach injured himself while trying to fire up his team last fall.
To coaches who report scores to us when their team is 1-12: A tip of the cap, a heartfelt thanks and an extra year or two added to their contracts.
To Long Meadow Golf Club: Good luck. Replacing retiring pro Gene Manley won’t be easy. ‘Geno’ was an institution at the Havilah Street layout for decades and his work ethic was unmatched.
To Gene Manley: A shiny new Taylor Made driver and 3-wood to replace those persimmon sticks that are probably still in his dusty golf bag. And some new Titleist Pro V1′s so he can give the Spaulding Dots to a golf museum.
To Marc Saucier: A crying towel. The Littleton High girls cross country coach will have to watch his two star runners, sisters Sarah and Kaitlyn Roffman, graduate this spring. The Roffmans, bound for Cornell University, made Saucier’s life pretty easy the last four falls.
To Pat Bradley: More enjoyable mountain hikes in New Hampshire, and some rounds of golf sprinkled in, of course, for the legend from Westford.
To Norm Bazin: Continued success on the recruiting trail. His incoming class is reportedly loaded with talent, led by United States Hockey League star Matthew Brown and a couple of intriguing prospects from Sweden.
To Bobby Russo: Good weather this winter, especially on nights when the Golden Gloves are being held at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium. Nothing hurts the gate more than several inches of snow.
To Molly and Morgan Smith: Another epic battle in the Women’s City Tournament, this time with Morgan emerging with the trophy, since Molly has won the last two. And continued success on the state and national level. Is the Men’s Cities next?
To Bob Michalczyk: A deep state tournament run for his Lowell High boys basketball squad that includes a play date at the TD Garden in March.
To Ken Harring: A tripleheader each Saturday once the snow melts and the temperatures rise next spring. Ernie Banks was known for wanting to “play two.” Sorry, Ernie, but no one loves baseball more than the UMass Lowell head coach.
To Scott Oberg: A repeat of the second half of the season when the former Tewksbury High School standout was one of the best relief pitchers in Major League Baseball for the Colorado Rockies.
To Shawn Smith: A new pickle putter and a nice Christmas card from Larry Lucchino.
To Lowell High School: A new roof above the school’s basketball court/track at Riddick Field House. When home games have to be switched due to heavy rains, it’s time for major upgrades. Maybe a new high school should be built. Has that been proposed yet?
To the Fletcher family: The opposite. The owners of Nashoba Valley Ski Area in Westford are dreaming of a white Christmas -- and a white January ... and a white February ... and a white March.
To Jack Eichel: A healthy second half of his fourth National Hockey League season. With a better supporting cast around him with the Buffalo Sabres, the pride of North Chelmsford is showing he’s one of the world’s great talents at the age of 22.
To George Bossi and Bruce Rich: A late-season dual meet matchup between legendary wrestling coaches that has major implications at the top of the Merrimack Valley Conference standings for both Lowell (Bossi) and Chelmsford (Rich).
To Terance Mann: Hearing his name called at June’s NBA Draft. The Lowell product and senior 6-foot-7 swingman at Florida State has had an outstanding college career and has the athleticism and versatility to play at the next level.
To the UMass Lowell basketball teams: Postseason success. It would be great to see the River Hawks win at least one America East tournament game and bring some real March Madness to Lowell.
To Peter Casey: A head shot on the UMass Lowell athletics website. Casey is UML’s director of athletics, succeeding his longtime boss, Dana Skinner, so he’s the face of River Hawks athletics. He certainly deserves a picture to accompany his lengthy bio.
To Aiden Felty: An automatic entry into Innovation Academy’s Hall of Fame -- when the relatively new Tyngsboro school starts one, anyway. The Billerica resident, a senior, is putting the school on the map, at least when it comes to track. Felty recently broke the state indoor shot put record.
To Pam Fletcher: Many, many more chances to talk about the Winter Olympic Games. Fletcher, who skied for the U.S. at the 1988 Games in Calgary, is a great embassador for the sport. Her passion for downhill skiing is contagious, as anyone who has seen her at Nashoba Valley Ski Area -- which her family owns -- can attest.
To Dan Craig: A return to the NBA playoffs for the Miami Heat. Craig, a Chelmsford native and former Chelmsford High hoop standout, is an assistant coach for the Heat.