By Jim Hague
Observer Sports Writer
It’s Christmas time in the city.
So it means it’s time for Santa Hague to get out his giant bag of goodies and hand out gifts to those who were naughty and those who were nice.
So here goes, the Santa Hague column for 2014.
As Santa Hague reaches into his bag, he finds gifts for North Arlington.
For boys’ basketball coach Rich Corsetto, a private tanning salon and a beach to be placed in Riverside County Park.
For football coach Anthony Marck, a healthy team from start to finish in 2015.
For softball coach John Galante, for the powers that be to realize just how good of a coach he is and that they should stop messing around with him.
For track coach Bernadette Afonso, name cards to hand out to people who don’t realize she got married. Even the kids still call her Fash.
For versatile coach Dan Farinola, a Starbucks gift certificate, so he can get some coffee to energize him as he coaches at the crack of dawn from season to season.
For baseball coach Paul Marcantuono, a new last name like Smith or Jones. Marcantuono is almost a sportswriter’s nightmare.
For athletic director Dave Hutchinson, more great kids and coaches like the ones he gets to work with every day.
For Queen of Peace, Santa Hague finds happiness, joy and an end to the constant strife that the school’s coaches all work under. QP has to be the hardest places to work as a coach, because there is no longevity whatsoever.
For the great people of Lyndhurst, like retired athletic director and baseball coach Butchie Servideo, warm weather in Florida and a solid 7-iron.
For girls’ soccer coach Kim Hykey, a longer summer and a state sectional championship.
For new athletic director Jeff Radigan, more pairs of socks, so he can successfully fill the shoes of the guy he replaced.
For track coach Tom Shoebridge, several new hoodies with the arms torn out, so he can show off his impressive guns.
For football coach Rich Tuero, to totally forget about his first season and shoot for a promising future.
For basketball coach Paul Palek, a 6-foot-7 transfer from Indiana who rebounds like a beast and can shoot from 30 feet and in.
Over at Nutley, for athletic director Joe Piro, several gift certificates to the best Italian restaurants in the area. If you need to ask which restaurants, chances are that Piro already knows where they are.
For baseball/basketball coach Bob Harbison, a pocket planner that will keep his schedule and team records in the palm of his hands.
For football coach Tom Basile, a shotgun so he can ward off all comers in 11 years when his adorable 5-year-old daughter becomes old enough to date. She’s going to be in high demand, so we’ll throw in the rocking chair for the front porch to wait for her to come home.
For softball coach Luann Zullo, more costumes to wear during the offseason.
For the great DiPiano brothers, Frank and Mike, recognition for doing a great job in all the different sports you coach.
For boys’ soccer coach Marcellino Marra, a 30-goal scorer.
At Harrison, for athletic director Kim Huaranga, some more basketball players who could score 2,700 career points like Kim McDonough once did.
For baseball coach Jairo Mendez, his players to realize just how great of a pitcher he was.
For football coach Matt Gallo, patience, because things can only get better.
For girls’ soccer coach Rapahel Viana, a few containers so he can bottle up that incredible energy he has and share it with some others.
For boys’ soccer coach Michael Rusek, absolutely nothing. He has it all, including a wonderful happy and healthy baby son. Ok, maybe a new one of those.
For boys’ basketball coach Noel Colon, a few hard-nosed players like Noel Colon.
At Belleville, for athletic director Tom D’Elia, a Rolodex so he can put up with all the requests for phone numbers that he gets.
For football coach Joe Fischer, a few dozen talented players and a state championship. Hey, it’s Christmas time. One can dream, right?
At Kearny, for athletic director John Millar, a new baseball cap to wear during outdoor events. The one he dons most of the time is older than his children and is faded beyond repair.
For football coach Nick Edwards, a few more wins and a state playoff berth, to get that huge albatross off his neck.
For basketball coach Bob McDonnell, two players 6-foot-7 and a 16-win season.
For girls’ basketball coach Jody Hill, about two players who can play like Jody Hill did.
For boys’ soccer coach Bill Galka, the elimination of soccer academies, so he can coach the players he’s supposed to coach and not lose them to these academies.
For girls’ soccer coach Vin Almeida, a state championship.
For baseball coach Frank Bifulco, a lifetime membership to the Lollipop Guild.
For the great people at the Observer, like Natalie Ulloa, who handles anything and everything and Michelle Rybeck, who puts our pages together and Ron Leir, who edits these words, and for general manager Bob Pezzolla, who keeps us all going after all these years, my undivided thanks for another great year. It’s now 13 years that I’ve been able to write stories for this wonderful organization and I can’t think of a day when that association will end.
And to all the avid readers of the Observer and this sports section, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and thanks for your devotion and dedication, because without you, there’s nothing to write for. Happy Holidays!