Sunday December 23, 2012

THE NORTH POLE

It's been a particularly busy Christmas season for Santa Claus and his band of merry elves.

There's so much to do and so little time to do it in. When you add that the factory was busy because of an early Chanukah, it's been really tough for the big guy.

Amid the requests for iPads, games, music, TVs, clothes and the like, there's a special list of Christmas wishes that Berkshire County sports fans and sports folks are interested in. Santa allowed us to peek at the list of requests.

I see a request from Pittsfield and Berkshire County football people to get that turf stadium completed as soon as possible. There is no doubt that the local high school football experience will be impacted in a positive way with a lighted turf football facility.

It wouldn't just be for football either. Soccer and lacrosse teams would be able to take advantage of the facility.

The MIAA would have no reason to send our football teams on the road in the postseason either. Playoff games are required to be contested on turf fields with lights. How about some teams coming here?

And Santa has on his list a rapid completion of the Weston Field football project at Williams College.

Williams wouldn't be the first NESCAC football team to build a new football complex, only the latest. If the execution equals what Santa has seen in the drawings, it'll be the crown jewel of football for Berkshire County and another place to host high school playoff games.

What's that on Santa's list? Hefty season ticket sales for UMass football?

Minuteman coach Charley Molnar has a big list for gifts under his tree. He could use some speed at linebacker and in the secondary, a couple of Division I gamebreakers on offense, and some stability at quarterback.

Most importantly, however, he could use some spirit and addition attendance at Gillette Stadium.

Santa's elves were asking how come more people didn't attend games last year. A 1-11 record had a lot to do with that.

Anyone who thought the Minutemen would step up and dominate the Mid-American Conference just isn't paying attention to Division I football.

It's a chicken-egg scenario. But, if Molnar can find a 15,000-20,000 average fan base for Gillette next year, that would be nice to unwrap.

Pittsfield Suns general manager Kevin McGuire and manager Tom Conley have both asked for the same things -- a competitive team and continued support from the local baseball community.

The Suns were a first-year success, averaging more than 1,300 fans at Wahconah Park. On the field, the team wasn't quite as successful, just missing out on a playoff berth.

The first-year general manager and manager would like to have a couple of power hitters and power pitchers under the tree, which would translate into more wins. That could translate into continued support, which would keep Wahconah Park the epicenter of baseball.

To everyone in Berkshire County, sports fan or sports foe alike, Santa has good health and happiness on his list for all of you.