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Thanks for the presents

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It's the week before Christmas and writers everywhere are busily putting together the most hackneyed of columns. You know it, right? The one where they list what their favorite teams, players and coaches might want for Christmas? Not that I'm above clichd writing, but I thought I would at least attempt to go a different route.

Instead, I'd like to celebrate the gifts we Maine sports fans have already been given. We're pretty lucky to live in an area that has a passion for sports, both local and regional, and our interest has been rewarded with an abundance of great teams, memorable players and talented coaches. This week we say thanks for just a few:

tom-bradyTom Brady Years from now younger fans will ask us if Tom Brady was really that good, and we'll be able to say, 'You have no idea.' Brady doesn't throw the longest ball, he runs like a guy trying to get to the mailbox on an icy Maine morning, but he finds a way to win like no one we've ever seen. Any conversation of the greatest to play the game has to include Tom Terrific, and we've been lucky enough to watch his entire career.

belichickBill Belichick Genius? I don't know about that, but I know he has taken a franchise that was a joke for over a decade and turned it into the model for sustained success in the NFL. The fact that he doesn't suffer fools in the media gladly just makes me like him more. I also know that the people close to him love the guy. I still remember former Maine Coach Kirk Ferentz telling me how much it meant to have Belichick find a job in the Pats organization for his son.

David-OrtizDavid Ortiz I get a little tired of his occasional whining about a lack of respect, but Big Papi has been a force of nature since making his way to the Fens. He's getting old and starting to break down but during his 2004-2007 prime, there was no more feared hitter in baseball and his on-field joy has been a delight to watch.

PedroPedro Martinez Few players electrified the fans during the Fenway 100 celebration like Pedro, and no player in my memory has been as thrilling to watch in a Red Sox uniform. The possibility of history was there every time he took the mound, and while facing a generation of juiced and jacked-up sluggers he put up numbers that rival the guys who were pitching in the Dead Ball Era. I hope the rumors of him taking a front office job are true; we need to see more of him at Fenway Park.

KevinGarnettKevin Garnett What does it say about this year's Celtics that the hardest working guy on the team is also the oldest? At 36, KG comes to play every night and is the biggest reason the C's became watchable again. Plus, his recent pre-game embrace of Houston Coach Kevin McHale spoke volumes about the character of one of the NBA's best ever.

jack-cosgrove-01Jack Cosgrove Look, I'm biased as can be with this one, but outside of our little cocoon, coaches around the country marvel at how he has been able to lure talented players to Orono, find diamonds in the rough and produce a competitive team year in and year out despite geographical and financial obstacles. I'll never forget flying home on the team plane after an incredibly difficult loss several years ago. The game had to be tearing Jack up inside, but he spent the entire flight walking around the plane talking to players, getting them to smile and laugh and put the defeat behind them. Cos is the kind of person you want working with your son and he's devoted most of his adult life to the University. Get that new contract worked out soon, please.

GabbyPriceGabby Price The last couple of years, Husson football has been about as relevant as Oprah's TV network. That changed when they re-hired Gabby. His passion for the game is unrivaled and his energy hasn't ebbed since his days as an assistant to legendary coach Gerry Hodge. Gabby knows how to get the most out of his players and he knows how to win and it's great for all football fans to have him back on the sidelines.

I could go on and on with a list of people and teams to be grateful for, and with the new arena being built in Bangor, the best may be yet to come. Enjoy the bounty we've been given this coming year, and may you and your family enjoy a wonderful holiday season.

Last modified on Thursday, 20 December 2012 11:36


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