Christmas gifts are plentiful for area sports figures | News, Sports, Jobs
The cliche that the years go by faster as you get older is something you hear and think as a kid “Yes Yes Yes!”
The older I get, the more accurate I find this expression every year.
Here we are again. Christmas weekend and 2023 basically a week away.
As we look back on 2022, it has been a challenging year in more ways than one. I personally lost my father Joe to cancer in May. We’ve lost two dogs (Pitches and Albert), we’ve dealt with two hard-to-imagine power outages and of course there are the daily challenges we face in life.
But here we are. I miss my father and our dogs very much but take comfort in the fact that he is no longer suffering and we cherish our memories with him and our two dogs.
As hard as it is to lose a parent, and I’ve experienced it twice, the year hasn’t been all doom and gloom. I was honored to be inducted into the OVAC Hall of Fame in August, enjoyed completing another year of prep exercise in the Ohio Valley, and continuing to progress just to be a better person in every way. The latter is of course an everyday task.
I’m really looking forward to Christmas. In my opinion the best holiday of the year. Time with family and friends trumps any gift or food that can be given or eaten. In addition, there is literally no preparatory sport again until Tuesday, so three days, almost in the middle of the season, to recharge. And we’ll be getting a few more next weekend too.
I’ve attempted to resume a tradition I’d looked forward to each year in The Wheeling Gazette when the late Nick Bedway wrote his annual Christmas column of gifts to sports personalities. I never think I can hold a candle to Bedway in this profession, but here’s a look at Santa’s list:
COLTON MCKIVITZ, San Francisco 49ers – already has an NFC West Divisional Championship, so next up are an NFC title and a Super Bowl ring.
JR BATTISTA, Bellaire — Some nerve pills because his Big Reds squad seems to have a penchant for down-to-earth games this season.
RYAN CLIFFORD, St. Clairsville – A do-it-yourself guide to the installation of the new lockers and other work associated with the boys’ basketball locker room project in St. Clairsville.
JERRY AMES, WKKX – An opportunity to broadcast a long postseason run for Wheeling Central’s boys and girls basketball teams.
BOB GABEL, Basketball Official Assigner – An increase in officials for the 2023-24 season so Junior High games do not have to be rescheduled due to official shortages.
MICHAEL JEBBIA, Wheeling Park – A chance to play Morgantown for a fifth time with a state championship at stake.
NICK LEVI, Linsly Swimming – Received his gift earlier this year when he was hired as the new Cadets coach, meaning he had a pool at his disposal.
DOUG WOJCIK, Michigan State Basketball — A chance to delve deep into March Madness with the Spartans and a chance to see his two sons (Paxson and Denham) in the Palestra with the Ivy League title at stake.
AVERY HENRY, Ohio State Football – Continued prayers and support from across the Ohio Valley and State of Ohio as you begin your battle with cancer.
MARK CISAR, John Marshall Baseball/Football – Lots of ice packs to ensure your arm is well taken care of after batting practice.
BRETT CLOUGH, WKKX – A strong basketball season in West Virginia to make up for the tough football season you’ve been through.
DAVE WOJCIK, Linsly Basketball — Plenty of opportunities to watch your son Jake play at Fairfield University when the cadets aren’t playing.
KIM NORTH, Intelligencer – A large delegation of wrestlers who will perform at both the West Virginia and Ohio State tournaments in March.
BUBBA KAPRAL, TL Sportswriter/Basketball Official – Multiple youth basketball games to be officiated nightly for the remainder of the season.
DAVE REASBECK, Martins Ferry – A new medicine kit to keep his Lady Rider basketball as healthy as possible in the second half of the season.
ANTHONY REASBECK, Martins Ferry Baseball – An early season on the first Saturday of May so you can fully enjoy the celebrations surrounding the Kentucky Derby. Even more important is the health of your newborn daughter, Rilyn.
KAYE SECHREST, Union Local Volleyball — As many awards and congratulations as possible for leading the Jets to the Division II state volleyball tournament, a first in Belmont County sports history.
MIKE YOUNG, Wheeling Central – A faster than normal fix for the Maroon Knights 2023 football schedule.
RENO SACCOCCIA, Steubenville — Continued success to add more and more wins to the Ohio winning record he set last season.
BRETT MCLEAN, St. Clairsville — The gift came early this winter as his 2023 football schedule was finalized ahead of spring.
SAM JONES, OVAC Football Commissioner/Umpire – All football plans were submitted in time to begin official duties and assignment for a state baseball tournament.
MIKE BECK, Martins Ferry Golf – Successful fundraising season so you can add as many courses as possible to the golf simulator for the Riders players.
SCOT MCMAHON, President of Buckeye 8, Principal of Bellaire HS – A shiny gavel to quickly get future league meetings in order, and plenty of Bellaire-related tweets to use the ever-trending #BigRedsBaby hashtag.
DR. DAN DOYLE, OVAC Wrestling Commissioner – Have a smooth and headache free OVAC wrestling tournament next month.
CHRIS DAUGHERTY, Wheeling Park – Enough hours a day to continue to be able to balance your duties as athletics director and head football coach with the Patriots.
SCOOTER TOLZDA, Union Local Girls Basketball – A return trip to Dayton for the Division III Final Four.
MARK ROMICK, River Boys Basketball – The Second Division IV Eastern District Championship during his highly successful tenure as Pilots head coach.
TODD FITCH, Ohio State Football — At least two more games this season coaching quarterback CJ Stroud.
ADAM STEWART, Ohio State Football — Enough hours in the Woody Hayes to work your physiotherapy magic on Jaxon Smith-Njigba and TreVeyon Henderson to set them healthy for the NFL draft and a Buckeyes lineup return, respectively.
BEDE LORI, Caldwell – A membership in the Ohio Valley’s famous 2,000 point club.
KOBE MITCHELL, University of Akron – Continuously increasing minutes and production for the Zips men’s basketball team.
RYAN YOUNG, Wheeling Park Girls Basketball – Wins against Morgantown in the most significant games of the season such as the OVAC Championship, Sectional Final and State Final.
SEAN BLUMETTE, Brooke Athletics Director — Continued health and wellness for your newborn child.
BILL BRUBAKER, OVAC Swimming Director – Good luck and patience as the OVAC expands the swimming championship to two days.
RICK DELUCA, Director of the OVAC Basketball Championships – Quick reports on boys’ and girls’ basketball scores so rankings for tournaments can be easily compiled.
MIKE COX, Baseball Umpire Assigner – Very few rainfall impacting umpire assignments for the 2023 preseason baseball season.
RUSS HALL, Softball Umpire/Basketball Official – Peaceful games in both sports – at all levels – through the end of the season.
BLAKE ALLEN, Barnesville Football Coach – A hassle free process to getting a new artificial turf at Shamrock Stadium this spring and summer.
MEL STEPHENS, Wheeling Central – Continued patience as his youthful Maroon Knight basketball team evolves throughout the season.
ZAC BRUNEY, Wheeling University football coach – received part of his gift during the season as his Cardinals had their best season ever with seven wins. The second part of his power is a strong success in recruiting classes and portals to further expand the Cardinals program.
BERNIE DOLAN, WVSSAC Executive Director – Power to amend Mountain State’s prep football playoffs to use neutral locations in the state semifinals.
MARK BOWMAN, MLB.com Writer – Opportunity to return to the Ohio Valley for some of his favorite pizza during the Braves’ trip to Pittsburgh this season.
AIDEN DAVIS, Wheeling Park Basketball – ZERO ways to get to the West Virginia High School athletes so you can offer free throw shooting lessons.
SARA PELEGREEN, Wheeling University Softball – A successful return to coaching in the place where your head coaching career began.
JOHN ISCHY, Monroe Central AD – An increase in all entry numbers for Seminole track and field beginning with the spring sports.
KRISTIN MAZGAJ, TL Photographer — A Griffon or two and continued patience to tolerate this author!
ALL READERS and ADVERTISERS – Have a safe, healthy and prosperous 2023.
Merry Christmas to everyone!
Staskey can be reached at [email protected]