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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, December 14, 2005

By Bethany Bradsher

Making a list, checking it twice


As a child I was always quite curious — my family called it nosy — and my future reporting skills were particularly sharp this time of year, when I always managed to find exactly where my mom had hidden the Christmas gifts.

(I wasn’t, however, as brazen as my friend Michelle, who found the shoes her parents had bought her, wore them to school in early December and then sneaked them back to their hiding place.)

Anyway, armed with my holiday snooping skills, I have visited various corners of the East Carolina campus and taken a peek at a number of “Dear Santa” lists. Below are a few of the heart’s desires of some prominent Pirates:

     • Athletic director Terry Holland — For the occupants of the head coaches’ offices for football, basketball and baseball to stay the same for the entirety of 2006.

     • Former Pirates’ men’s soccer players — A college where their teammates and boosters know the difference between a corner kick and a penalty kick.

     • Football coach Skip Holtz — Plenty of reasons to have replays of his interaction with the Pirate faithful following the UAB victory.

     • Men’s basketball players — A field-goal percentage that bears no resemblance to the temperature on a cold winter morning.

     • Quarterback James Pinkney — Bobby Good and Aundrae Allison... always open downfield.

     • Women’s basketball coach Sharon Baldwin-Tener — A double jogging stroller that won’t make black marks on the arena floor.

     • Pirate Club members — A donation for which the dollars do more to build the Pirate athletic programs than to pay the bills of former head coaches.

     • Defensive end Marcus Hands — A shoulder that returns from surgery like new as his circuitous path finally leads to an All-American season.

     • Basketball junior transfers Courtney Captain and Tyronne Beale — Enough points and rebounds to become instant household names in Pirate Country.

     • Baseball coach Billy Godwin — Players who respect him so much that they will overachieve all the way to Omaha.

     • Jaguars quarterback David Garrard — Enough downs in ’05 to ensure a starting job somewhere in ‘06.

And what do I hope to find under the tree this Christmas morning? Nothing much, just football press conferences filled with incredibly articulate athletes, coaches who return phone calls within the hour and an occasional tearjerker human interest story.

Every Pirate fan has a Christmas wish list, too, each a little different but all featuring more victories, more respect, more passion from players and coaches and more afternoons and evenings in crowded venues watching an ECU team hit on all cylinders.

The beauty of sports is this: The season ahead is always laced with the hope that this could be the year when a wish list becomes a scrapbook, when long-held hopes and beliefs converge into a fan’s best reality.

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02/23/2007 01:11:56 AM

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