I hope each of you are enjoying the Christmas and Kwanza seasons in whatever way it means for you to enjoy the spirit of the season. I want you to, while I think of it, add a handful of Christmas tunes I enjoy each year to your playlist. I’ll share them, and I promise to discuss sports, too.

I offer you, first, the heart-tugging rendition of “Little Drummer Boy/Peace On Earth” performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. When Crosby wasn’t allegedly knocking his kinder upside their heads, he made beautiful music. These two gentlemen have beautiful, near perfect voices when it comes to vocal technique regardless of their genre polarity. Play this tune in your home this season, and maybe you’ll make a few grown men in the room begin to cry.

Nat King Cole is my clear-cut number one choice for best performance of “The Christmas Song” (cue the sound of a mic drop).

Paul McCartney’s musical family gave the world a great songwriter and musical arranger. “Wonderful Christmastime” has a gentle background of felt, but not heard, rock and roll instruments, but the melody sounds like something he and his family gathered around the piano to put together. Take time on your own to learn the influence McCartney’s dad had on Paul.

The Kinks are a band who could have started in the 1980s and they would still have been truly relevant. “Father Christmas” is a seasonal song they use to tell us what a thuggish-yet-pragmatic British kid growing up broke really wants for Christmas.

The Kinks sum the message up in this song with, “Give all the toys to the little rich boys.”

I enjoyed the toys my parents gave to me for Christmas, but except for three Christmases I can recall, all I would predictably ask for from my folks were socks and underwear. Whatever toys I received were almost always a complete and pleasant surprise. The quantity didn’t matter because the surprise added quality to the morning.

Jacksonville Jaguars head football coach Urban Meyer, who has not recorded any Christmas songs available on Spotify, was fired Thursday. Bing Crosby isn’t the only allegedly objectional high profile figure I’m discussing today.

Meyer kicked a player who was warming up in practice, not an isolated incident related to his implosion, and it hit Jaguars’ owner Shad Khan’s last nerve. So many of us growing up in a different era might recall surviving corporal punishment and verbal chidings we received on the field and in the classroom. Our frame of reference, however, does not justify Meyer’s behavior.

He retired from the Ohio State head coach position after the 2018 season and returned to the coaching ranks with the NFL’s Jaguars at the beginning of 2021. His new employer drafted Clemson’s quarterback-running back duo of Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne. Some pundits speculated Meyer was the perfect coach to transition this efficient and effective college duo into the NFL.

I saw potential in Meyer and the Jaguars process while there was still snow on the ground around here. I was wrong, though.

Are there pundits who feel he will redeem himself with a return to the college coaching ranks? I don’t believe he would have the same success he did in his last run with the Buckeyes.

I’ll share reasons, obviously not an all-inclusive list, prominently coming to mind why I believe Meyer’s value in a college program is significantly lower than it was when he left the scarlet and gray in 2018.

Name-in-Likeness revenue streams previously unavailable college athletes would drive Meyer nuts. The ex-Jaguars coach allegedly exerted power through complete program control and intimidation of his athletes. Handling this external exposure doesn’t seem to be part of Meyer’s wheelhouse.

The transfer portal would be another tell-tale metric of the level players in the current state of college football would be willing to tolerate Meyer’s alleged behavior. I believe if this option for college gridders was as elastic during his tenure at Ohio State as it is now, he might not be as deified by fans and boosters as he was a few years ago. Transferring athletes’ parents aren’t even reticent to post their thoughts on social media these days.

I’ll spend the rest of the weekend thinking ahead to next week’s column, and I’ll begin to build my excitement level for the competitive field of teams competing for the Northern Lakes Conference (NLC) boys’ basketball crown.

NLC action started last night, and it’s clear the Tigers will be squeezed into a tight space among potential crown contenders who will have potential capture the conference title as a dark horse (Concord, Goshen), as a consistently reloading program (Northridge), or based on what I’ve read and seen so far, a sharp-shooting dominant force whose knockout punch is an aggressive pressing defense (NorthWood).

Warsaw cheer block, your team needs you in January for the showdown in the Panther Pit. This year’s slight favorite to hoist the NLC boys’ basketball trophy is hosting the orange and black energized and fortified by the NCL’s best student section, who’s distance from the cheer block runners-up is greater than what you’ll see on the court.

Go on now, kids, and listen to the music I recommended. I hope you accept the cheer block challenge and overtake NorthWood’s top-flite student section ranking while you’re at it.