Timmy Claus hands out some holiday cheer

  • ConVal football vs. Merrimack

    ConVal football vs. Merrimack

  • SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - July 14: Great Britain guard Jo Leedham drives past Australian Jenna O'Hea  during the Standard Life Game On 2012 game at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, England on July 14, 2012. (Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Mansoor Ahmed Photography).<br/><br/><br/>

    SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - July 14: Great Britain guard Jo Leedham drives past Australian Jenna O'Hea during the Standard Life Game On 2012 game at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, England on July 14, 2012. (Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Mansoor Ahmed Photography).


  • WLC Softball vs. Profile<br/>Division IV Finals<br/>Played at Plymouth State University

    WLC Softball vs. Profile
    Division IV Finals
    Played at Plymouth State University

  • ConVal football vs. Merrimack
  • SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - July 14: Great Britain guard Jo Leedham drives past Australian Jenna O'Hea  during the Standard Life Game On 2012 game at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield, England on July 14, 2012. (Photo by Mansoor Ahmed/Mansoor Ahmed Photography).<br/><br/><br/>
  • WLC Softball vs. Profile<br/>Division IV Finals<br/>Played at Plymouth State University

Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas.

I’ve always loved saying that. Ever since I was a little kid I’ve loved Christmas. And what is not to love.

Trees in the living room with colorful lights, stockings hung nearby and more cookies than you could ever ask for. And while almost every person you asked would say they enjoy receiving gifts, I also get great satisfaction out of giving them as well. There is nothing better than watching someone unwrap the exact thing they wanted.

I wish I had the resources to buy presents for everyone I knew, but it is just not possible. So here is my solution. Christmas time is for giving and that is exactly what Timmy Claus is here to do.

Over the last couple weeks I have been thinking about what would be the perfect gift for athletes, coaches and teams from this area. In some circumstances, I jotted down something that would have to do with the future or others that would help make up for what has already been done in the past.

So I made a list. I checked it twice and now you are about to find out who landed on the nice side of it.

I know most of you are reading this on Christmas Eve and I am not big on opening presents the day before, but this time I will make an exception — just like I have with my wife for the last few years.

To Lance Flamino, I give a coaching job.

The former Conant cross-country and track and field coach decided not to return to the programs this year because of an issue with school policies. But he is such a good coach and truly cares about his athletes. Flamino is one of the good ones and I wish nothing more than for his return to the coaching ranks.

To the ConVal senior football players, I give one more year.

While this is a gift to the 13 seniors on this year’s team, it is also one for first-year coach Ryan McCartney and the rest of the squad. The program took some big steps forward this year, including a nice three-game winning streak before dropping the finale in overtime. This group was really coming together and it would be interesting to see what would happen with one more season.

To WLC softball coach Dennis Claire, I give a pitcher.

Claire has been blessed with a series of very talented pitchers that have helped lead the Warriors to three titles in the last six years. But after Sam Broderick graduated in June, just one day before capping a perfect season with an extra inning 1-0 win in the Division IV title game, Claire will now work to develop a new star pitcher.

To Mascenic’s Elizabeth McGurk, I give a scholarship.

McGurk had a tremendous cross-country season and after the improvements she has made in the last year, she deserves to run for a college program and have some of her tuition paid for.

To Johannah Leedham, I give an Olympic victory.

The former FPU star and all-time leading scorer in women’s NCAA Division II basketball history, represented Great Britain in the 2012 games in London. Playing in front of her fans in her home country, Leedham came up just short of grabbing Great Britain’s first-ever Olympic victory.

To Conant’s Devin Springfield, I give a championship.

Springfield, a senior on the Orioles’ boys basketball team, made it to the semifinals in both basketball and baseball last year only to come away empty. His father David owns a basketball title and his older sister Brooke has two and he deserves to add to the family legacy.

To the ConVal softball team, I give a redo.

The Cougars were so close to making it to the program’s first-ever state championship game last June. They were up by two runs with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of the seventh, only to lose on a wild pitch. ConVal should have played for the D-II title. They were the better team.

To Mascenic’s Shawn Thibault, I give a qualifying time for the Division II Championships.

Thibault has been getting closer and closer every year to qualifying in the 200-yard individual medley. And with this being his final season swimming for the Vikings, he should have the feeling of making it to the divisional meet.

To the ConVal boys basketball team, I give a playoff spot.

It has been so long since the Cougars last appeared in a postseason game and for a tradition-rich program like ConVal that just should not happen. And it doesn’t matter what seed they are, all they need is to get in.

To the Conant field hockey team, I give another shot at Hopkinton.

After dropping both meetings in the regular season, the Orioles traveled to Hopkinton for a Division III preliminary round game. And Conant finally played well at both ends of the field against the Hawks, pushing the scoreless game into overtime. But in the final minutes, Hopkinton scored to end the Orioles first playoff appearance since 2009.

To Mike Smith and Yolanda Flamino, I give more athletes.

The two Mascenic running coaches are both very good at what they do and have worked with some high level athletes, but the only issue recently has been the participation numbers. In the fall, Smith had just three runners in the cross-country program, while Flamino has just one runner for indoor track.

To everyone else, I wish a happy holiday season. Eat plenty of food, take some time off and enjoy spending your days with friends and family.

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