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The Front Row with BILL BULEY Dec. 24, 2010

| December 24, 2010 8:00 PM

Christmas is a time for wishes to come true.

I have plenty of wishes - some realistic, some the result of too much egg nog and too many cookies, and some the ravings of a mad man.

I can't unwrap any of these on Christmas morning, but let's see if any of them come true in the coming year.

Let Pete back in the game

My childhood hero, Pete Rose, has been punished enough for betting on baseball while he was a manager with the Cincinnati Reds. He has paid a price of being banned more than two decades from the game he gave his life to. Enough. When he was playing, Charlie Hustle was baseball. Three World Series championships. Three batting titles. One season MVP and one series MVP (the greatest World Series ever, by the way, the 1975 Reds' seven-game set with the Red Sox). And then, there's those 4,256 lifetime hits, a record that will never be broken. Rose should be managing. He should be in the Hall of Fame.

The Seahawks need a quarterback

They didn't listen to me two years ago when I said QB Matt Hasselbeck was getting too old, too battered and beaten and broken. I argued they should draft Mark Sanchez, who went on to QB the Jets. Instead, they went with Aaron Curry. Not sure what he's done, but I do know Sanchez is solid for the Jets. And I do know that Hasselbeck looks like a battered, beaten, broken old QB. I'm sure Denver's Brady Quinn is available. Even though he's struggled in the NFL, I have faith in the Notre Dame man.

Anybody but the Heat

For the first time in my life, I am forced to root for the hated Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant, only because I fear they may be the only team that can beat the Heat come playoff time. Please, don't let King James, D-Wade and Bosh

(does he have a nickname?) win the title. They must be stopped. Something stinks about this trio of superstars. However, they may have too much talent for anyone to beat them in a series. Kobe, it’s up to you (I can’t believe I’m saying this).

Run a 3 hour marathon again

My running buddy Keith Erickson is convinced we’ve gotten too old and slow to turn out a good marathon anymore. I disagree (well, Keith is getting old and slow, but don’t tell him I said so). I’m convinced, if we commit to the 20-mile training runs, tempo runs, speed work, diet, cross training, motivational books and tapes, quit our jobs so we can train full time and mortgage our homes so we can hire physical therapists and personal trainers, we can reach the coveted 3-hour mark, a place I haven’t been since, well, the 1980s. Don’t believe we can do it? I saw 14-year-old Saint Ralph almost win the Boston Marathon. If he can do it ... oh, that was a movie?

Turn my youngest son into a runner

Ray has played football, basketball and baseball. Much to my dismay, clearly breaking with family tradition, he refuses to turn out for track or cross country. I know he’s got the makings of a great runner. He just doesn’t know it yet. He will. I keep offering to buy him running shoes, and he declines. Guess what’s waiting for him under the Christmas tree?

Play hoops

Actually compete in Hoopfest in Spokane. Each year, we talk about getting a newsroom team together. Each year, we don’t do it. However, I see the nucleus coming together. Reporters Nick Rotunno and Tom Hasslinger provide the height and muscle down low, Mark Nelke is the player/coach and sharpshooter from mid-range and in the paint, while I roam around and yell that I’m open so I can fire up a 3-ball and of course, make the game-winning shot and be the hero — maybe even get my picture in the sports section of this paper on the shoulders of my teammates. Hey, that’s how Rudy got carried off the field. Why not me?

Here’s to dreaming of a white Christmas — and lots more.

Bill Buley is city editor of the Coeur d’Alene Press. He can be reached at 664-8176, ext. 2016.

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