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(Special to the American Press)

(Special to the American Press)

Gazzolo: A few gifts to give this holiday season

Last Modified: Monday, December 24, 2012 11:04 AM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

As you gather around the tree tomorrow morning and exchange gifts with family, friends and ones you see just once a year, there are still a few more presents to give out.

I had my shopping list all done and even put a ribbon on some of these presents. No exchanges allowed.

And, yes, some of those receiving these gifts were both naughty and nice.

So here are some gifts left under the tree that may have been missed in this morning’s scramble.

To Saints fans: I leave you with the only gift left for this lost season, a head coach.

It would be nice if this head coach would be Sean Payton, but with our no-return policy we can’t promise you anything.

Coach Payton says all the right things, but actions speak louder than words. And through the vines of our fake tree the elves are whispering about Coach Sean wanting to use his new-found freedom to get his biggest bang for somebody else’s buck.

Now, little Sean has been good to Saints nation in the past, but he has also been naughty this year, and the past few. A lump of coal might have been left in his stocking by Bounty Santa Goodell.

Still, he got his gift when he was given free agent status by the NFL.

So, Saints fans, open this package with caution, you never know what might be in it after the year you just had to suffer through.

Then again, maybe the box will be empty. Sounds fitting.

To Les Miles: I offer up a home-sweet-home welcome mat for his front door.

Miles, the LSU head coach, used the rumors of his possible (not really) departure to Arkansas for a new contract from the good folks in Baton Rouge.

This is not the first time Miles has benefitted by his name being linked to another job. But once a Michigan man, not always a Michigan man.

OK, I get the attraction to Michigan but Arkansas?

I just don’t see people admitting once a pig, always a pig.

Welcome home, Les, but watch out, the next time you play this game of chicken Nick Saban might also be looking for a new job. Remember, timing is everything.

To Dave Simmons: I would love to give a basketball court your team can truly call home ... on campus.

Proving the saying about having two quarterbacks holds true when it comes to basketball courts, as well — if you have two gyms you call home then you really have none.

The McNeese State men’s basketball coach sees his team play at a pair of off-campus sites, with the majority of the games being played at the rodeo-friendly, basketball-disliking Burton Coliseum.

The other games are played downtown at the Civic Center. Both places have the feel of stepping back in time for the fans. So a nice, cozy little gym on campus would not only help bring interest to the program but also show future recruits the Cowboys have left the past behind.

And the rest of us can leave Burton to the cows and those who rope them.

To Matt Viator: I would like to give him something I have no control over, time. Actually, I would like to take away a few seconds from last year’s season.

Twice, the McNeese football coach watched his team lose leads in the closing seconds of a game. Those two losses left the Cowboys out of the playoffs again.

It is tough to be so close to a turnaround season that you can almost taste it then have the seconds of a couple games tick off too slowly.

Since I can’t lose time (I have wasted my share of it over the years) I can only hope his Cowboys learn from those losses and find in themselves the killer instinct it takes to put a team away.

To McNeese football fans: I give you the gift of patience. I know it has been 10 years since your team last won a playoff game, but times have changed.

College football is a different animal now. It takes more than just a head coach, it is about a program, about facilities, about a lot more than what goes on between the lines.

McNeese is trying to get back to the level they once were at, but competition is tougher. And look, it’s not like they are winning two or three games a year.

Patience. Patience. All good things come to those who wait.

Here are a few more quick hitters:

To Tim Tebow: Coaches who watch you on game film not on the practice field. Good luck with that.

To Nick Saban: The ability to relax and enjoy the ride.

To Lake Charles folks: A baseball team to enjoy on those hot summer nights.

And to all: Happy Holidays.


Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at

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