Rob Hunt: A short Christmas wish list

·3 min read

Dec. 23—As we prepare to celebrate Christmas Day, I thought it would be a good time to once again present a few sports gifts that, if I could, I'd like to personally deliver and place under the tree.

The holidays can be a particularly rough time for those who have recently lost loved ones and face this season knowing a family member can no longer be with them. There are many dealing with that for the first time this season, and I wish peace and love to those in this situation, particularly to coach Tod Windlan, his family and the Lapel boys basketball team after the passing of his brother and assistant coach Rod earlier this week.

On the court, I'd love to gift wrap a victory for coach Terry Detling and the Elwood girls basketball team. This group has battled incredible odds from opening tip to the final buzzer despite having just six players on the team. They are constantly winning by working together and for each other and getting better in practice, but I'd love to see them get just one win on the court. If there's a group of kids that deserve it, it's that group of six.

For those who occupy the bleachers, I'd like to present a gift of patience. The vitriol being delivered to the referees from a few fans has escalated recently, perhaps as a result of pent-up frustration from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. I'm not talking about booing or even vocally disagreeing with a call, but I'm more concerned with the ramping up of personal attacks being directed toward other human beings who are simply doing their best. Referees don't do the job because they are going to get rich off it. They do it because they love it. But when the booing deteriorates into ridiculing an official for his age or questioning their intelligence in a hateful manner, a line has been crossed. A simple return to humanity for that small group of people would be a gift I'd like Santa to deliver this weekend.

As we continue to navigate this pandemic, I wish for a healthy 2022 for everyone. I tested positive for COVID-19 one year ago and was one of the fortunate people to have dealt with mild symptoms. Over 800,000 Americans have not been so lucky, and thanks to the misinformation and outright lies that continue to permeate the national discourse, I'm afraid there will be more. I hope to not hear again of another heartbreaking loss of someone you or I know.

I realize presenting yourself a gift is somewhat unorthodox, but for myself, I want the energy to continue telling the stories of area teams, coaches and athletes. Part of that is I recognize there are going to have to be times I take a break to recharge my batteries because, like the referees, I do this because I love it. There are county tournaments, sectionals and regionals and maybe even a state champion or two in our future, and I hope to be able to tell those tales with enthusiasm.

Merry Christmas to all!

Contact Rob Hunt at rob.hunt@heraldbulletin.com or 765-640-4886.

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