'Tis time to remember sports has its place

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Brittney Griner performed her best snow angel in confetti to celebrate Baylor's national championship.

'Twas the night before Christmas in Chicago, I-L
Outside the moon glowed as the snow lightly fell.
I sat at my desk with some cookies and booze
And looked back on a year's worth of headlines and news.

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

McKayla Maroney's pout on the medal stand snowballed into an internet sensation.

From Miggy's rare crown to sick stats from Mike Trout,
Phelps' record swims and McKayla's sad pout.
Bountygate, ref-gate and Tebow's travails,
I set out to pen Twenty-Twelve's biggest tales.

It started Jan. 1 with the Grandad of Them All;
James and the Ducks besting U-Dub and Ball.
A week later the Tide made Tigers fans queasy,
Grabbing the title down in The Big Easy.

Crowds flocked to the Midwest for SB 46,
Pats versus Giants meant ratings and clicks.
A clash between two signal callers with clout,
Two teams with fan bases staunch and devout.

Just like the last time, the game was a fight;
With the Giants crowned champs at the end of the night.
Gisele was the world's most talked-about WAG,
For bemoaning the passes the Pats couldn't snag.

March made college hoops fans shake their heads,
Their brackets all marked up and tainted with red.
Down in the 'Dome the Cats took a big bow,
Led by Anthony Davis and his famed unibrow.

The ladies were next, in the Mile High City,
Griner v. Diggins -- a matchup so pretty.
Bears or Irish? Wouldn't you know?
Baylor finished its season 40-and-0.

Bubba won the Masters over "Louey,"
His gap wedge hook shot a real thing of beauty.
Months later Augusta finally woke up,
Their old boys' club, they finally broke up.

At the NFL draft the Colts Luck'd out,
A real No. 1, without any doubt.
The Redskins' plans were also well-laid;
They grabbed RG III with a big-time trade.

Julian Finney/Getty Images

Serena Williams rode her Wimbledon momentum to a gold medal at the Olympics and the title at the U.S. Open.

The Stanley Cup and blinged-out rings,
Went, at long last, to the L.A. Kings.
(And they may stay champs for years to come,
If a new CBA never gets done.)

Later that month the Heat got it done,
Defeating the Thunder four-games-to-one.
LeBron finally found true success,
Once his hairline began to regress.

Speaking of age, Serena don't care,
At 30-plus she had one hell of a year.
At Wimbledon, she rocked and rolled,
Then took the Open and Olympic gold.

She wasn't the only star abroad,
Who caused her country to applaud.
Phelps and Lochte owned the water,
Missy Franklin -- no one caught her!

America's sweethearts were a quintet
The fiercest five you've ever met.
Walsh and Treanor won one more,
And U.S. hoops knew how to score.

Jeter and Felix were the best,
But Lolo Jones got all the press.
Women's soccer won it all,
Getting revenge for their World Cup fall.

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images

Tamika Catchings collected all kinds of goodies, including the WNBA trophy and the Finals MVP.

The Fever were champs in the WNBA,
Tamika Catchings finally had her day.
And now you can't help but look beyond,
To Griner and Diggins and Delle Donne.

Miggy won big, earning the Triple Crown,
But the Giants took his Tigers down.
Thanks to heroics from Buster Posey,
That four-game sweep sure looked rosy.

There were lots of champs in this past year,
But not every story was easy to hear.
Livestrong's Lance was stripped of it all,
And Summitt made her last play call.

The bounty tapes were tough to swallow,
And realignment is such a b---- to follow.
The Cowboys' accident was a shock to all
And who could have seen the Honey Badger's fall?

With his program in shambles, JoePa passed away,
But the echoes of his silence still ring today.
Penn State will rebuild and heal its scars,
While Sandusky spends his life behind bars.

It's hard not to dwell on the sadness we've seen,
To get cynical about every league and team,
But sports, like life, has its ups and downs,
Its stars and scum, its creeps and clowns.

There will always be joy if you want to find it,
Lessons for life, when you must be reminded.
Like wrestler Anthony Robles, say,
Who didn't need legs to win the NCAA.

Chuck Pagano, who inspired each day,
And Oscar Pistorius, who took our breath away.
Sam Gordon's runs and Eric LeGrand's smile,
Could make even Scrooge cheer up for a while.

So here's to the heroes, the good guys and gals,
The games and the moments you shared with your pals.
The plays that made you say "Holy Cow!"
And "Get in here quick and watch this now!"

Here's hoping there's more of those plays on their way,
To keep sports a diversion that brightens our day.
So I'll bid you adieu with some words of good cheer:
A Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

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