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The Bradsher Beat
Wednesday, December 16, 2009

By Bethany Bradsher

Be kind to the Pirates, St. Nick

By Bethany Bradsher
All rights reserved.


Bradsher: Be kind to the Pirates, St. Nick
Bailey: It's back to work for Pirate football
O'Brien: ECU better positioned for jump
BVL Audio: Skip Holtz Sunday media session
Myatt: Coaches have histories with bowl foes
Monroe: This urban legend more than a myth
Bailey: Pirates and fate make formidable team
O'Brien: ECU has a hot commodity
BVL: C-USA Bowl Lineup & Scoreboard
BVL: BCS Standings
BVL: Harris, Associated Press & Coaches Polls

Dear Santa:

Many of our trees are decked out in purple balls and gold tinsel, so it must be the time of year when we write you with our most fervent Christmas wishes.

Have a seat in your red velvet easy chair, Santa, and see if Mrs. Claus can fix a cup of hot cocoa. This might take a while.

All the Pirate Nation wants for Christmas is:

  1. A trip to Memphis that makes every other Pirate bowl appearance pale in comparison. A victory, absolutely, Santa, but how about a 300-plus yard passing game to mark Patrick Pinkney’s swan song at East Carolina?

    We loved the Van Eskridge interceptions early this month, but we could use a few more to help ring in the new year. And could you bring Dwayne Harris even more moves to elude defenders? Not that he has a shortage, but you have to admit the kid is a joy to watch on the field, and his game just continues to grow.

    The Liberty Bowl is on the ninth day of Christmas this year, Santa, but you can keep the dancing ladies if you could just bring us the Pirate defense at its most tenacious and the offense at its most explosive.

  2. Bigger, shinier decorations that don’t have to come down at the end of December. You know the kind we mean, Santa, don’t you? A Liberty Bowl trophy is an excellent place to start, followed by a nice tall piece of Conference USA hardware for the Lady Pirates basketball team.

    Also, not to be too greedy, and I know you’re on vacation in June, but it seems like the right year to bring a Super Regional trophy for the baseball team. (Don’t forget that tickets to Omaha are included in that last gift.)

  3. Heftier paychecks for the employees of the ECU student development department. You might not know this, Santa, but the academic coordinators in that office have a special incentive to encourage student-athletes in the classroom. If a team to which they are assigned wins the C-USA academic award given to the top GPA in the conference, then that employee gets the same financial bonus given to a coach who wins a C-USA trophy.

  4. The miraculous removal of red tape and construction delays for the ECU softball team, which will watch a new stadium go up right next door all season but probably won’t play a game inside it until next year. The grading and preparation for the stadium started in the fall, but with government licenses, contract bidding and the actual construction still to go, the projected completion date is May — at the earliest. But the Lady Pirates’ last home game is on May 6, so it would take a Herculean effort — or help from a guy who can make reindeer fly — to allow the team’s eight seniors to play at least one game in their new digs.

  5. A surge in respect for all of ECU’s women’s teams, which have struggled in recent years to get noticed by the NCAA when the postseason rolls around. In 2008 both the soccer and softball teams were robbed, leaving the impression that only a C-USA trophy would merit a playoff berth when teams from other conferences earned at-large bids with lesser records.

    Fan support for women’s sports increase every year, leading to more home wins, greater confidence on the road and the type of stability that leads teams to expect success year in and year out. The barrier between what ECU women’s teams could achieve and what they have been allowed to attempt is still there, but it’s a wall that becomes flimsier every time a veteran coach like Sharon Baldwin-Tener or Tracey Kee takes on another new squad and commits to helping it soar.

I’m sure there are plenty of other wishes, Santa — a new pool for the Pirate swim team, tournaments where all Pirate golfers play at their peak on the same weekend, new scholarships for promising athletes.

We’re not trying to be greedy or excessive, Santa, but the Pirate Nation is, well, a nation, so every fan, athlete, coach and booster has a different twist on their heart’s desire for the team they love. I know you’re busy, with sleigh loads of requests, but this purple-clad population will take whatever treasures you feel led to distribute this Christmas.

E-mail Bethany Bradsher

Bethany Bradsher Archives

12/16/2009 02:21 AM

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