My wish list for 2016:
I want players whose team’s colors are blue and red to wear uniforms that are blue and red, and players whose team’s colors are green and yellow to wear uniforms that are green and yellow. I want to make it a felony for players to wear black jerseys and black pants — unless black is part of the color scheme, in which case it’s only a misdemeanor.
I want somebody — a television network executive, perhaps? — to explain the decision to schedule the semifinal games of the 2015 national college football playoff on Dec. 31, a weekday workday. Clemson and Oklahoma faced off Thursday in the Orange Bowl at 1 p.m. PST, which used to be a normal kickoff time on Saturday afternoon before TV contracts dictated that college games shall kick off at every conceivable time but 1 o’clock on a Saturday afternoon.
Speaking of the college playoff, I want the field expanded to eight teams instead of four. This won’t happen any time soon, of course, but it’s an inevitability. Twenty years from now, the notion of the 2016 Rose Bowl as an anticlimactic holiday leftover will seem crazy.
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I want to hear Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson begin his postgame remarks by saying that now that he’s given it some thought, taking one game and one play at a time is as counterproductive as resisting the temptation to enjoy the peaks and dread the valleys.
I want to wake up, raise the bedroom shade, and see three inches of snow on the front lawn. As a regular occurrence, snow is a nuisance, and its aftermath — slush — is God’s way of telling us: “I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden.” But once a year, snow can be the mood-changer that makes a day.
I want to learn of the whereabouts of Kobe Bryant. Remember him? The star guard for the Los Angeles Lakers? I recall hearing something about his plans to retire in the spring, but for some reason the media never picked up on that news flash.
I want Seattle sports-talk radio stations to keep airing the ad with the “Kars-4-Kids” jingle, if for no other reason than to test the apparently limitless dimensions of my sanity.
I want my three adult dogs to learn how to get along with other dogs, not to mention cats and crows and squirrels and skateboarders. Whispering to the dogs hasn’t worked.
I want a one-minute limit placed on all replay reviews in every sport. The idea is to overturn the occasional call that’s an obvious mistake. If it’s not obvious after a 60-second review, it’s not obvious.
I want to see Washington State football coach Mike Leach smile for the first time in his life, and to see Vanna White frown for the first time in her life.
I want to score a hole-in-one for the first time in my life, but I’ll settle for breaking 100 with the same ball.
I want to hear fewer mentions of the phrase “concussion protocol,” but consider the alternative: Last Sunday, during a game the Seahawks and Rams managed to make uglier than the weather, seven players were removed for evaluation. Not so long ago, those seven players would have been given some smelling salts to inhale on the sideline, and if they could count the amount of fingers shown in front of them, they were good to go.
I want to type the name of Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski without having to consult Wikipedia.
I want the Rams to remain in St. Louis, the Chargers to remain in San Diego, and the Raiders to remain in Oakland. Using relocation to Los Angeles as leverage, the NFL is asking tax-paying fans to subsidize billionaire owners craving a new stadium. It’s a shameless ploy that amounts to nothing less than extortion.
I want to stand in center field, as I did when I was 12, and savor the moment. I’d organized a ballgame between my friends from the neighborhood and my friends from parochial school — 20 kids in all, and the only adult was the postal carrier who volunteered to serve as home-plate ump. I got the sense, validated over the years, I was in the perfect place at the perfect time, and that replicating this perfection would be impossible.
I want to make my first visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame, where Ken Griffey Jr. figures to be a virtually unanimous inductee of the Class of 2016. The Cooperstown museum is in upstate New York, situated near, well, nothing. If I leave at dawn Monday, I’m fairly certain I’ll get there in time to enjoy most of the ceremony on July 24.
I want the 2016 Apple Cup to have profound implications, with the winners advancing to the Pac-12 championship game and the losers bemoaning their failed shot at a national championship.
This looks like a demanding wish list, but my needs are modest: One day of snow, a smile from Mike Leach, a clue or two on how to get to Cooperstown, and some heavenly intervention in the event my dogs encounter a skateboarder and a cat at the same time.
Happy New Year to all, but especially to Kobe Bryant, wherever he is.
John McGrath: firstname.lastname@example.org