So much for Ho, Ho, Ho.
Christmas is over. Now it's time for the backlash.
Today is the day after Christmas, which is the opposite of Black Friday. Today is the busiest return day of the year.
In keeping with the season's spirit of giving and returning, I decided to revisit some of my 2011 stories to give personalized gifts and return some sentiments they created this year.
Dylan Dopson — An 18-month subscription to high school. If there was a way, the North Hagerstown senior deserves to experience all the playing time he missed because of injury. Dopson played three seasons on the line for North's football team, but a leg injury and shoulder surgery forced him to miss his first two chances to wrestle in the state tournament and play varsity baseball.
It will allow Dopson to never wonder what could have been as a high school athlete.
J.R. Lowery — A pedestal. Many older folks wonder what the future holds, feeling that today's youth is ill-prepared to carry the torch.
Lowery gives the oldsters some hope. He works hard in the classroom and in multiple athletic endeavors and is a leader on both fronts. His focus should be an inspiration to all, no matter their age. With more Lowerys, our future would be in good hands.
Unified sports programs — More knocks from opportunity. Special needs students are victims of stereotypes. For years, society has labeled these children as athletic China dolls because of their “limitations.”
This year, Maryland became one of the first states to offer the opportunity for special needs kids to feel the reward and pride of competing for their schools. The benefits have not only been huge for the athletes, but it has rediscovered school spirit as able-bodied students participate with and back those they used to walk quickly past in the halls.
These special needs athletes have already given Washington County a few state championships, proving they just needed a chance.
Bryce Harper — Some perspective. The 18-year-old Harper made his professional baseball debut in Hagerstown and showed all the promise to become one of world's next best baseball players.
Harper's great talents were overshadowed by his brashness. His on-field accomplishments were diluted by his actions off and around it. Hopefully, Harper will learn from his experiences.
Maryland football and basketball fans — Patience. The saga in College Park is “The Tortoise and the Hare” revisited — a fitting analogy for everyone wearing turtle emblems on the front of their shirts.
The Terrapins' football season was as painful as fingernails on a chalkboard. The basketball season has a good shot of rivaling bamboo under the fingernails, too. Maryland tried to hit the jackpot with the Athletic Director's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. It hasn't worked yet.
Fans, don't panic. Rub a balloon and get used to the queasiness while you wait for success.
Martinsburg football team and Conococheague Little League All-Stars — Formula patents. The Bulldogs and the 11-12 baseball team each showed a huge measure of what it takes to become a champion.
The two-time West Virginia Class AAA state champions and the Maryland state champs followed the tradition set by the teams before them and perfected it for glory. They were driven and focused. They were well-coached and every player filled assigned roles. But most of all, they showed a level of humility that is lost by most title-winning teams these days.
These groups proved that there really is no I in team.
Williamsport High — A comfort zone for Class 2A competition.
The Wildcats went from 1A to 2A standing this school year, moving them into a new realm of state-level competition. Some schools experience problems adapting, but Williamsport was like Wildcatfish in water.
The football team made its first-ever postseason appearance. The volleyball team was considered a favorite in the 2A tournament but fell flat early. The boys cross country team didn't miss a step at the final meet. It all came in the first fall sports season.
To all, thanks for giving such great moments and many happy returns.
Bob Parasiliti is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. He can be reached at 301-791-7358 or email@example.com.