SPORTS DIGEST by Bill Byham

Sports announcer, writer Bill Byham and famous for "That's 30" signoff

Sports announcer, writer Bill Byham and famous for "That's 30" signoff

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! – About a hundred years ago my Dad, Carl, Sr. and my brother, Carl, Jr and I would be getting ready for Christmas Eve church. We had already been out in the woods, cut the top of the best pine Dad could find and had hauled it back to the house where it had been decorated.

It was tradition and when we arrived back from service we would go into the parlor, eat some cookies and sing some carols before going up to bed.

It was Christmas break time. For this one night playing basketball had to be put aside. I was one of the guys who felt we had to play YMCA ball every chance we could so we were more than a little antsy being held in the house,

I guess we could be compared to the kids of today who can’t seem to walk away from their Game Boys and other high tech items they have in their rooms.

Christmas was big in that era but could hardly hold a candle to what shows up under the tree of today. We always got stockings (No laughs please) and underwear. Maybe a pair of knickers, some fresh fruit and hard candy. I would always be looking for sports gear of some kind. That was the kind of stuff you asked for with tongue in cheek as the chances ran from zero to bout 5.

Dad was a master carpenter and there came a Christmas when all of the above was there under the tree but over here, standing up against the wall, was a pair of skis and ski poles!

I had arrived! Those boards and poles were mine! These were not hand me downs! These were Bucks!

Dad had made them. Working on them down in the basement for hours and hours. When he wasn’t working on them he had hidden them from me up in the rafters. What a gift!

Man! I wanted to get right outside and get these skis under my feet. Up to this time I had always skied on brother Carl’s skis when he was not around. When he was home I had to use a very old pair that were nondescript. I never had an idea where they came from but if I wanted to ski I had to use them.

Not any more! I had my own! Get out of my way!

On this Christmas Eve, this 24th of December,2008 I can just hope each boy and girl gets something they would like to have as badly as I wanted my own skis when I was that kid.

WANT TO KNOW WHAT I BELIEVE – The Lefthander has a gut feeling that we are into a great winter basketball season.

During this time when the season is sort of in a scramble because of the holiday there will be holiday games that will be played on some odd nights. There will be more of the tournament settings but I can hardly wait until all of that is behind us and our Valley teams will get down to playing each other in “count games.”

In the pre-holiday season there has been evidence that there are some very good teams. There is what appears to be a ton of talent to be seen.

As I wrote last week I saw Lewisburg play at South. The Green Dragons showed they are already to challenge for a post season play. As I watched them I was told that Southern Area is even better.

Then we have Loyalsock on what can be considered a come back season as Ron Insinger has his team intact right now. A year ago some of his key players were involved in the very long football post season so the Lancers got off to a slow start. Montoursville is there. So is St. John Neumann and anybody that plays South Williamsport should not come in thinking they are an easy mark. Allan Taylor’s Williamsport Millionaires have served notice that they can play with anybody. They might not win them all but it is going to take a good team to beat them.

Remember. Good and exciting basketball makes the winter shorter.

I WANT YOU TO PENCIL IN A DATE – Wednesday, January 14th is the date set for the third Hot Stove Dinner and Auction at the Genetti.

With so much of the area still giddy that the Phillies won it all makes this a chance to sit down and break bread with some of the players who helped to win the world series. It is a night that Gabe Sinicroppi of the Crosscutters is counting on to give his 2009 season a jump start in thinking about getting people into the Bowman Field seats come June.

He already has that major league championship trophy coming to town with the added incentive that persons can have their photo taken with the trophy. I think we can also bet the Cutter marketing guy is working on getting Chris Truby, the announced 2009 Cutter manager, here on that same night. It will be a fun night.

Get your tickets!

THAT’S 30

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