Many, many years ago and many, many miles from Pahrump, the editor-in-chief of a daily college newspaper decided she wanted to decorate the office for the holidays. The very hard-working sports editor, who somehow managed to find time to run the sports department while being on time for all of his classes, spending hours on end in the library and never parking illegally, respectfully suggested the sports department did not need seasonal adornment.
Yet, upon returning to the office after going to class and certainly not blowing it off to go to the student center snack bar, he found a string of multicolored lights around the sports department’s bulletin board. But the perpetrator was gone, off to her two-hour-plus night class, leaving plenty of time to remedy the situation.
Down came the lights, and some tape was found. If you’ve ever tried to use tape on a cinder-block wall, you know it takes some dedication to make it stick. But eventually, and after a couple hundred pieces of tape and at least that many words that do not fit the holiday spirit, those happy, cheerful lights designed to make the season merry and bright spelled out, in script, “die.”
One of the paper’s photographers came over to record this for posterity, taking a picture of our hero in front of his masterpiece, sitting in his chair, feet up on the desk, giving the photographer a signal that he was No. 1. Well, sort of. A finger is a finger, right?
Years later, that photograph found its way into my then-place of employment and more recently has been used to wish Facebook friends a Merry Christmas. (It’s OK. They get me.)
So some of us have a different approach to the holidays. We love the Grinch until he goes all soft in the end, partly because of that whiny pest Cindy Lou Who. We think Mother Nature should have stayed out of it when Heat Miser and Snow Miser refused to help show Mrs. Claus the world loved Santa. And that idiot elf should stop this dentist nonsense and get back to making toys.
Ho, ho, ho.
But that does not mean gift-giving is beyond our range of talents. There’s something magical about waiting until the last minute, then going to a mall (this is before the internet took over shopping) at 10:30 a.m. on Christmas Eve and finding the perfect gift for everyone in your family of five and still getting to Mom’s house in time to cook Wigilia dinner. (Google it. I’m busy.)
So, even the grumpiest among us enjoys playing Santa Claus, and he has a nice, big bag of hypothetical presents to give out this year.
For Joe Clayton, Pahrump Valley football coach: Joe had a pretty good year, and certainly he’s not the greedy type to want more after his league championship season and playoff win that ended a 40-year drought. But Santa knows the one thing he didn’t have was depth. So for Joe, Santa has an extra large group of freshmen for camp next summer. This year’s freshman class was pretty small, and with a varsity roster in the low to mid-20s all season, and talented seniors graduating, reinforcements are needed. Badly.
For Beatty and Tonopah football: A way to get Spring Mountain out of their hair.
It is, after all, the educational component of a youth detention camp, and keeping kids headed in the wrong direction on the straight and narrow, while a very important part of the system when it works, does not always create fair competition. The Muckers were realigned out of the Golden Eagles’ league but ran into them in the state championship. The Hornets remain stuck with them.
Spring Mountain’s student population is far different from that of Beatty, Tonopah or even Green Valley Christian.
It’s all boys, and many of them came from big schools with competitive football programs.
At 8,000 feet, their field is downright dangerous for visiting teams. And most of the roster, academically, is made up of juniors and seniors. Having that team compete against schools with 50 boys in grades 9-12 seems irrational.
The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association could move the Golden Eagles to a higher classification because of their success. Or, it could allow them to play in 1A but not be eligible for the postseason.
Or perhaps there’s another solution. Santa has enough issues trying to get all those dry, tasteless cookies down his throat without gagging and waking up some annoying kid who will beg to pet the reindeer without trying to dream up ideas on how best to fix it.
But something needs to be done.
For Pahrump Valley soccer teams: More fans. The atmosphere at Trojan Field on the night Pahrump Valley’s boys defeated Del Sol 2-1 to clinch their first playoff berth in a decade was absolutely electric. And that was with only a couple hundred people in the bleachers. Now Santa doesn’t expect a football-sized crowd, but a virtual playoff game at home deserved more. The boys soccer program took a giant step this year, and more people should have noticed.
Meanwhile, the girls accomplished something pretty special as well. Despite graduating a ton of production, the Trojans matched last season’s total of 16 wins and did something that senior-dominated team could not do: win a region championship. Unlike last year, most of the key players on the team will be back next year, so people getting their butts in the seats will have familiar faces to watch. You know where the field is. Find it.
For Pahrump Valley sophomore Dylan Wright: Worthy opponents. This won’t be easy. Wright simply has been wrecking the competition on the wrestling mats this season, recording fall after fall without breaking a sweat.
After going 33-5 and placing second at regions and third at state in Class 3A as a freshman at 145 pounds, Wright has been on the mats 18 times this season between 170 and 182. (If Santa’s records are correct. And if the results Santa is given are correct. It happens. Don’t always blame the big guy.) There are no losses on his ledger. Heck, there are no decisions. Eighteen matches, 18 pins.
Oh, there’s more. Eleven of those pins happened within the first minute, and five more came during the first period. Do the math. The kid has gone out for the second period just twice — twice!!! — in 18 matches. Domination isn’t a strong enough word. The scary part is in street clothes Wright hardly looks like an assassin, and even as he is striding out to wrestle, intimidation is not what comes to mind.
Then the match starts. And then it’s over. Just like that, almost every time.
Santa enjoys watching a Pahrump Valley kid destroy an opponent in seconds as much as anyone else, but he would be fascinated to see Wright in a brutal, low-scoring battle that goes the distance. The intensity would be off the charts.
For Boulder City High School athletics: Sure, Santa shouldn’t play favorites, but hanging around Pahrump too long has an effect. So Santa has a nice, big bag of coal for the Eagles and all of their minions.
Plus, Prancer and Cupid had way too much Tex-Mex and need to take a pit stop. Boulder’s football field seems like a fine place for that.
Santa could go on, but nobody gets unlimited space, and threatening to unleash flatulent reindeer in the office seems like a bad way to demand more. So we’ll call it a day.
And yes, it would have been way too easy to give everybody wins and championships. Those require hard work; they are not gifts. And elves don’t know squat about sports.
Merry Christmas, Pahrump Valley Times readers. And be careful out there.
Contact Sports Editor Tom Rysinski at firstname.lastname@example.org On Twitter:@PVTimesSports