The Coast News Group

Jay Paris: Sports Santa’s wish list is chock full of cheer

It’s fun to play Sports Santa and after this year, we need his big ol’ bag of goodies more than ever.

Here goes an annual ritual, one with solid intentions. It’s a wish list of sorts, and wouldn’t it be swell if they all came true?

• Here’s to the local prep athletes, settling in with their winter sports and gearing up for their spring seasons. Let’s hope every game is sold out and all the players are showered with praise.

Whether it’s boys basketball in a packed gym or girls soccer on a manicured field, these students should be commended for making sports part of their makeup.

Academic lessons come in the classrooms — thank you teachers! — but life lessons are often derived from participating in athletics.

Fun to win? You bet. It’s a confirmation that all the hard work had a payoff.

But you learn more about yourself, and teammates, when things don’t go as planned. When a last-second shot doesn’t drop or when a kick goes wide right despite a net being as empty as Santa’s plate after a visit down the chimney.

Victories can help build a nifty trophy case.

Losses can build character and that’s a shine that never fades.

• Here’s to prep coaches and is there a worse paying job?

I sat with a hoops coach once and we jokingly calculated his hourly wage. Considering the time spent in the gym, in the weight room and in meeting rooms, it came to about 50 cents for every 60 minutes.

No one is getting rich — not monetarily, anyway.

But these coaches are wealthier than Qualcomm’s Jacobs family in numerous ways. They get to mold youngsters into young adults and if there’s a bigger chore one can have, I’m all ears to hear it.

Obviously these men and women aren’t in it to bloat their bank accounts. Instead it’s a mixture of their love for sports and teenagers. Their impact can’t be measured by a scoreboard or “sabermetrics” that rely on an equation few can decipher.

If you see a coach, after a win or loss, thank him or her from the bottom of your heart. Role models often have a whistle hanging from their neck or a lineup card protruding from their back pocket.

Those mentors aren’t paid much, but they have earned our respect.

• Here’s to surfing over to a refreshed web site at the

This Oceanside gem plays well on the web but it’s worth a real visit. More than 600,000 people have checked out the surfing artifacts that have helped make our community famous.

Never could hang 10? Don’t sweat it. This museum gives you the sensation of dropping in on a wave and all the good vibes that go with it.

• Here’s to Chargers coach Mike McCoy and that his second go-around is better than his first.

Nothing is set in stone — is anything clear-cut with the Chargers? — but it doesn’t appear McCoy will be with the Bolts after the new year.

McCoy’s tenure has been awful and yes there are mitigating circumstances. But the NFL isn’t cold-blooded only when attempting to seize tax funds to build their stadiums. It’s all about wins and losses when evaluating coaches, and on that count, McCoy is 24-35 going into the next-to-last game at Cleveland.

Among McCoy’s flaws are a conservative approach and the inability to adjust to what opponents present. Nothing illustrates that better than his mark against AFC West teams. The Chargers have lost 12 of their last 13 to their foes that know them best.

But head coaches are often better in their second go-around — see Bill Belichick and Pete Carroll.

• Here’s to a heavy heaping of patience and is that the Padres’ slogan for 2017 and beyond?

Not even Santa will predict success for the Padres. They are in a tear-down mode and if someone suggests they’re tanking today for a better tomorrow, that would be 100 percent correct.

So it’s going to be a long summer or five going forward, with the kids developing and the hope that dropping 100 games this season will pay off in future seasons.

I know, I know. Many think the Padres have been in a rebuilding stage since first taking the field in 1969. And as the franchise embarks again on another lost year, that assessment can’t be argued.

But there’s no debate that watching baseball is fun and maybe the frustrated fan base will grow with the players.

Then again, after six straight losing seasons, keeping the faith has never been harder.

Santa keeping his appointments is equally tough. Time to go, but not before wishing everyone a hearty Happy Holidays!

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected]. His book, “Game of My Life Chargers,” is available at local book stores and at