Dave D’Amore

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

The NFL season is heading toward the playoffs, college basketball season is just kicking off, and the BCS has some college football fans angrier than Wal-Mart shoppers on the day after Thanksgiving.

As the holidays approach, I, like most others, have to make a list of gifts I would like from my family and friends. Therefore, in the same spirit, I have made a list (and checked it twice) of sports-related gifts that I would like to see wrapped under my Christmas tree.

No. 1: Miami men’s basketball makes the NCAA tournament; Miami hockey makes the Frozen Four

Following the campaign of last year and the early progress of this season, I would love to see the men’s basketball team return to the big dance.

With the star-studded play of Michael Bramos, the leadership of Kenny Hayes, Tyler Dierkers and Adam Fletcher, and the experience of playing a tough non-conference schedule to begin the year, Miami would be a formidable tournament opponent against any team. I want the Redhawks back in the NCAA tournament because I remember how fun it was only two seasons ago when Doug Penno sent the RedHawks dancing. Coach Charlie Coles and his boys deserve another trip to the national spotlight. Regarding the RedHawks’ hockey team, a Frozen Four appearance would finally remove the bitter tastes left from the results of the past three seasons.

While the seasons overall were definitely considered successes, the losses before the Frozen Four left many fans wanting more.

Coach Blasi and the brotherhood have given this campus so many reasons to cheer and be proud of their efforts. Achieving a goal this lofty is something they certainly deserve. As Miami University enters our bicentennial year, I can think of nothing more appropriate than for the city of Oxford to be filled with excitement this upcoming March as the basketball team makes the NCAA tournament for the second time in three seasons, along with the hockey team to advancing to the Frozen Four.

No. 2: No more Boston championships

As a die-hard Cleveland sports and Miami RedHawks fan, I have watched Boston teams break my heart in the past year and a half.

I watched the Indians lose to the Red Sox in game 7 of the 2007 ALCS, the Cavs lose game 7 to the Celtics in the 2008 eastern conference semifinals, and the Miami hockey team lose to Boston College in overtime of the 2008 NCAA regional tournament final. I consider this a trifecta of torture at the hands of Massachusetts teams.

In addition to this, since January 2002, Boston sports teams have won six professional sports championships. Six championships in just under seven years!

Most fans can only dream about seeing this many titles in their lifetime. Therefore, Boston fans, I feel as if you have had enough. Please understand why I’ll be rooting against you for a while, hoping other teams and cities can enjoy some of the recent success you have had.

No. 3: No more LeBron James speculation

If you have watched ESPN or read any sports articles recently, then you have undoubtedly heard that NBA superstar LeBron James will become a free agent and can sign with any team he wants.

However, many seem to forget that this can not happen after this season. James can opt out of his current contract and become a free agent after the 2009-10 season. This is a very long time away.

The current season has approximately three-fourths left, meaning there is an entire season and three-fourths remaining before James can change teams. So, why are we talking about this now?

There is so much that can happen and can change in the NBA between today and July 1, 2010.

Two seasons ago at this time, the Boston Celtics were in the middle of an abysmal 24-58 season, finishing dead last in the eastern conference. Since that time, trades and free agent signings turned them into last season’s NBA champions.

In addition to this, the free agent class of 2010 is unlike any in recent sports history. Numerous superstars and impact players will be available and changing teams.

Therefore, it is reasonable to believe that the NBA as we know it today will not necessarily be the same in the summer of 2010. Due to this amount of time and uncertainty, can we please stop trying to figure out where LeBron James will sign? Figuring out this puzzle now is not only preemptive, but pointless.

So, as we dive head-first into the holiday season and beyond, I look forward to seeing what the Santa of sports can deliver.