A Visit From Santa Dog

‘Twas the night before Christmas, I was done working

and happily planning some holiday shirking.

Deadline had passed, all the stories were filed.

So I could lean back for a change and smile

and contemplate a real Christmas break this year,

with warm Egg Bowl memories for mid-winter cheer.

When outside the office there arose such a racket,

I leaped for the door to see what the heck… It

was the visitor I'd expected, on his annual run.

Santa Dog was back for some holiday fun!

He sat tall on his tractor, a mighty John Deere,

pulling a trailer jammed with Christmastime gear.

A gaggle of helpers kept stuff piled on the shelves,

(all fired Rebel coaches, they work cheaper than elves).

Dog was decked out in Maroon from his head to his leg,

with a small golden badge shaped just like an Egg.

He strode to the door, dragging a big sack behind,

as he entered I said "Big Dog, it's about time,

I've been waiting hours for you to hit town,

and tell what you're bringing us this time around.

You've heard of our wants, you know all our wishing

for fast wide receivers and strong left-handed pitching.

For a playmaking runner and a sharp-shooting guard,

those do top the lists, and it oughtn't be that hard?"

"If you'll zip it I'll tell you," old Santa Dog growled,

"I didn't come all this way just to hear you howl.

Yeah, I got the requests, and I've brought the fix

for every State longing in 2006.

Now, Sly Croom got one of his gifts a month early

with that key Egg Bowl win, and it's a start surely.

Proof of football progress has been slow, but steady,

and with more recruits coming all had best get ready

to see a more capable and confident State roster

make a run at breaking even, which will then foster

more SEC winning and new hopes for a bowl

if they take care of business—that, I can't control.

Still I've brought some pass-catchers, and a big JC lineman,

I'll let Coach choose the runners and you know he'll find ‘em.

And topping this list, a gift to make coaches wealthy,

a preseason where all make the grades and stay healthy!

This time basketball doesn't have a long list,

as Rick is still ‘unwrapping' some of last year's gifts.

He's already got lots of young pups to nurture,

And if this spring seems iffy, hey, just look to the future.

When and if all mature these Bulldogs will be barking

loud enough to have NCAA Tourney folk harking.

For now, my gifts are a passer and guy who can block,

and for one hard-headed soph, a road-trip alarm clock.

I'm also giving board-work and defense, no mystery,

and a big bottle full of that old-school team chemistry.

But they'll have to be patient on that post-season request,

come March we'll see which tourney fits this team best.

Now to Ronald Polk's list, he's got his brand new lodging

and the Palmeiro Center for practice day weather-dodging.

A veteran-filled roster returns for this season

and with this good lineup there is every reason

that Dudy Noble faithful should be anticipating

the home Super Regional for which they've been waiting.

It's all within the grasp of Coach Polk and his boys

if new pitching comes through and old bats make big noise.

Nor have I forgotten all those other State teams,

their gifts have my bag splitting wide at the seams.

Sprinters and spikers and servers and chippers

for all fans to cheer, be they elders or nippers."

"Good job again, Dog, but one thing is lacking.

Is there no gift for the editor in your old sacking?

Like a year's worth of Barqs, that'd be great for me,

or perhaps a 1982 Porsche 911 SC?"

"Relax," said Santa D, "I have not forgotten,

and if you aren't a good boy, you're not wholly rotten.

Your gift is another year in that editor's seat

with Dawgs' Bite, the writing world's very best beat.

Just keep reporting State stories, keep telling the tales,

…and here's a dictionary if the spell-checker fails."

With that done, Santa Dog now arose from his chair

and went through the door saying "See you next year."

He mounted his tractor, he crunched it into gear,

and continued his rounds to State homes far and near.

But I heard the Dog barking as he rolled out of sight,

"A Merry Christmas to all, wrapped in Maroon and White."

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