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Sports editor

Les Winkeler is sports editor and outdoors writer for The Southern Illinoisan.

The Christmas spirit descended upon me this week.

Since there is nothing I really need this year, and, truthfully I probably haven’t been that good anyway, here are the Christmas gifts I would give to sports figures if I could:

SIU students – A little school spirit. Students get into the games without a capital outlay – it’s part of their fees. Yet, they don’t support the basketball, football, baseball, softball, volleyball teams. There are always hundreds of students milling around the dorms during softball games, but few bother to enter the stadium.

Doug Elgin – More than one NCAA tournament bid.

Tommy Bell – A younger and enthusiastic fan base for all Saluki sports.

Randal Grichuk – Even if he is no longer with the Cardinals, a brace that would hold his bat in place on two-strike curveballs in the dirt.

Ted Simmons – A ceremony at Cooperstown.

Kerri Blaylock – A repeat of last year’s Missouri Valley Conference championship.

Barry Hinson – A full roster of healthy players.

Lance Lynn – No matter where he is playing: A two-strike guide to the strike zone.

Robby Fabbri – Two good knees.

Yadier Molina – A day off.

Jose Oquendo – The reins of a major league team.

The NFL – A rule that clearly, and simply, defines a legal reception.

All SIU coaches – Continued academic success for your athletes. It was gratifying to watch several Saluki athletes walk across the stage at winter commencement exercises. One athlete, fullback Hans Carmien, received his masters degree.

Major League Baseball – A formula to make postseason baseball games last less than four … what am I saying, a formula to make postseason games last less than three hours.

The Illinois High School Association – A magic wand to alleviate the ridiculous amount of travel teams endure in the postseason.

The Illinois High School Association, Part 2 – An influx of new, young and talented officials in all sports.

Kathy Smith, associate athletic director at SIU – A long and enjoyable retirement.

St. Louis Cardinals fans – A closer.

Brett Cecil – A force field to help keep the ball in the yard.

Matt Carpenter – A position and a GPS guide to running the bases.

Nick Hill – Fans that stay after halftime.

Mike Pinto – A rebound above .500.

On second thought, there are a couple things I’d like for myself – longer deadlines and shorter games.

Merry Christmas all – enjoy the games.

LES WINKELER is the sports editor for The Southern Illinoisan. Contact him at les.winkeler@thesouthern.com, or call 618-351-5088 / On Twitter @LesWinkeler.

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