Daring to dream: My 2011 Hanukkah wish list

As holidays go, Hanukkah falls short in several respects. “Let’s all listen to that great Hanukkah-themed song!” says no one. Where it excels, however, is in its ability to sustain the pleasure of gift-receiving for eight days, while Christmas blows it all in five minutes. It’s like the tantric sex of holidays, my own personal eight-day window into how Sting lives, or some other celebrity who also does that (a quick Google search brings up Chelsea Clinton, which is so perfect it must be made up). This year, I’m making my list a little earlier and submitting it to the world at large. You have nineteen days.

Night 1: For Swarthmore to Bring Back Its Football Team
Hanukkah begins on the first night with the lighting of the ‘Shamash,’ a special candle that will then be used to light all eight regular candles. This is usually the night where the biggest present gets handed out, along with the implicit warning to expect seven considerably worse gifts for the rest of the holiday (“It’s a PS3!!!! And seven packs of spearmint gum!!!!).

I can think of no gift from the sports world I would rather have than to see the vaunted Garnet football program rise from the ashes, kind of like that bird whose name I can’t remember.

Night 2: For Timothy Richard Tebow to Go Down In Flames Before My Very Eyes:
He’s an unconventional quarterback who wins games, provides unfailing leadership and seems like a genuinely decent person. And all of that makes me wish Ndamukong Suh would come along and maybe stomp on his face a few times before continuing on to Radio Shack.
Can I justify this hate rationally? I cannot, but that’s what Tebow does to people: he brings out the extremes. He’s like kettle corn or the movie “Lost in Translation”: you either love him or want to watch him die slowly like a squirrel on the road. Holidays!

Night 3: For Tiger Woods to Win Another Major Championship:
The numbers tell a story unfinished: 14 majors. 15 mistresses. Destiny says he has another title in him, and I don’t mean the stripper Woods was texting at Pebble Beach 2006.

If only so that Jim Nantz’s manila folder of Tiger-related victory lines in his home office does not go to waste (On the 18th green to win it: “Tiger …WILL ROAR AGAIN!” If he ever ties Jack Nicklaus’s record: “Tiger and Bear … OH MY!”), the fates must align for Woods’s resurgence.

Night 4: For Andy Reid To Make It to Super Bowl XLVI And Totally F**k It Up:
“On the fourth night of Hanukkah, Jewish Santa gave to me…
four needless timeouts
three time-wasting drives
two fake-punt attempts

Night 5: For the New York Yankees to Win the 2012 World Series … For the Children:
Over the years, being a Yankee fan has taught me the exact same lesson that the hippies in Zuccotti Park are having beaten into them by police batons at this very moment: The one percent tends to stay on top.

Yet, even the elite of the elite must face their share of adversity, and the past two championship-less seasons for the Yankees have certainly proved trying. It was all I could do to hold in a sob on my Sag Harbor veranda over Thanksgiving when I realized that, come next September, there will be first-year preschoolers who have never gotten to see Derek Jeter hoist the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Blame poor front-office decisions, an aging player core, or the Curse of Situational Lefty Phil Coke (traded after the 2009 World Series, took his 5.00 ERA and the team’s good fortune with him), but like the one percent, it is clear the Yankees have been victimized by the unwashed lower rungs of the caste system. Specifically, Miguel Cabrera. He appears to reek of tequila and poorness.

Night 6: For Mad Men to Not End In Present Day:
If you follow the show, you might have heard that series creator Matthew Weiner has apparently announced his intention to bring the series up to the current year in which the show would end, most likely with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce hard at work on a campaign that brings out the psychological subtext of eTrade.com that makes women feel secure in their femininity.

While I would never count Weiner out on anything, and the idea of Don ruminating on the visceral pull of LMFAO is appealing for obvious reasons, the jump-the-shark potential of this is off the charts. Mathematically speaking, think of it as the Sopranos ending in a blackout multiplied by “St. Elsewhere” taking place in a snow globe divided by the cast of “Seinfeld” spending a year in jail. Not to mention that a world where Hillary Clinton exists and Roger Sterling’s head doesn’t explode is a world that ceases to make sense.

Night 7: For Major League Baseball to Get Out of Its Own Way:
Many, many years ago, back in the year 2001, baseball was actually ahead of the curve in realizing that while Zima’s days were likely numbered, this Internet fad was here to stay. They launched MLB.com, used it to sell tickets and subscription packages, and immediately started printing money.

Fast-forward ten years, and while every football and basketball highlight from the last twenty years is a YouTube search away, the MLB remains completely uninterested in letting people remind themselves why they love baseball. Instead, we get the same fifty clips on their website, which promptly get replaced two weeks later never to be seen again.

Remember hearing about David Freese’s home run to win Game 6 of the World Series? It sounded dramatic, right? Try searching for it on YouTube and you’ll get ten people filming it from their seats at the game, ten people filming their TV screens, and a TV news clip of Freese’s teammates talking about how great it was to see. We can only imagine.

Night 8: Spy Gear Spy Night Goggles ($15.49):
Not for me, of course. For my cousin. Maybe I’ll ironically use them once to pretend that I’m a secret agent before I give them to him.

Tim is a junior. You can reach him at tbernst1@swarthmore.edu

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