Here’s What Santa Should NOT Bring El Pasoans


Christmas is next Saturday. Every year, newspaper columnists ask Santa Claus to

bring certain people certain things. I do it differently. I ask Santa what NOT

to bring. I see no sense in somebody getting something he or she already has. So

here’s what I asked Santa NOT to bring El Pasoans in sports this year:


SUN BOWL – Notre Dame. Sun Bowl officials had been trying many years to bring

the Irish here – and they finally did it, Santa. The whole city is celebrating.

It means so much to us economically and prestige-wise.


SUN BOWL – A new sponsor. I hate to ask for two non-gifts for the Sun Bowl,

Santa, but the Sun Bowl got a dandy new sponsor this year. It’s Hyundai Motor

America and it signed on for four years. El Paso can’t thank local Hyundai

executive Oscar Leeser enough. The Sun Bowl didn’t have to go after Hyundai. Mr.

Leeser came to the Sun Bowl with an offer. Now that’s what we call a great El

Pasoan, Santa.


CBS TELEVISION – A great Sun Bowl game. Santa, not only did our Sun Bowl get

Notre Dame but managed to land another of college football’s greatest schools,

University of Miami. Jimmy Rogers Jr., who handles television negotiations for

the Sun Bowl, was asked what CBS officials thought of the matchup. He smiled and

said, “They were delighted.”


UTEP FOOTBALL – Invitation to a bowl. It had been too long since the Miners had

been to one, Santa, but it had a decent season this year and was invited to the

New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque. It was a nice reward for the team and coach Mike

Price. They had been trying so hard to get to a bowl, Santa.


UTEP BASKETBALL – A new coach. The Miners got one of the best in the country

this year when they signed Tim Floyd, Santa. He had been here before as an

assistant and we had all fallen in love with him so it was like a prodigal son



UTEP TRACK  -- A new surface on its track field. Some how, some way, athletic

director Bob Stull just keeps improving facilities at the school. I don’t know

how he does it, Santa. You must have given him a magic wand.


NEW MEXICO RACING – More tragedies. Trainer Todd Fincher and his wife lost a

child through drowning. Jockey Carlos Rivas had nearly every bone in his body

broken in a spill during a race then his wife, Diana, fell into a coma. More

recently, jockey Mark Villa was killed when a horse stepped on his head after

throwing him to the ground. And there have been other bad spills. One bit of

good news, Santa. Mrs. Rivas is awake and recovering after months in her coma.


PGA TOUR – A true-blue El Pasoan to follow in 2011. We have one in J.P. Hayes,

Santa, and we couldn’t ask for a classier guy to root for. He qualified for all

the 2011 PGA Tournaments with his steady play this year. He’s made El Paso his

home, he’s a solid family man and his swing is beautiful to watch.

CHAMPIONS TOUR – A true-blue El Pasoan to follow in 2011. Steve Haskins has

qualified for that one, too, Santa, and like Hayes, he’ll keep our city in the

golfing spotlight. It’s been a delight watching him play against some of the

legends of the game the past year.


GOLF COURSES – They’ve all been having a bad year, Santa, and enough is enough.

One knows there are hard times when a country club in El Paso, Vista Hills,

opens its course to the public and charges only $22 which includes green fees

and a cart during weekdays.


EL PASOANS – A wish for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I do that

myself, Santa. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone.



Veteran sports journalist and author Ray Sanchez welcomes suggestions for his column. Contact him at (915) 584-0626, by e-mail at or online at