BETWEEN THE LINES: The very best of 2015…

It is now time to present the best-of-the-year list. I have to thank my wonderful family and friends for reading my Sunday column

Some year huh. The Royals win the World Series, the Oilers win the amateur draft lottery again,  the Seahawks lose the Super Bowl and still jack up ticket prices, the Blue Jays make the playoffs and Sidney Crosby loses his mojo.

Perhaps the wackiest sports story of 2015 saw a California man send 20 dozen coconut doughnuts to police officers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as payback for getting kicked out of a Badger football game.

The man traveled from Los Angeles to see the Badgers play Northwestern at Camp Randall Stadium. He was assigned a seat in the student section away from his friends, so when he tried to join his friends, officers threw him out, UW-Madison police spokesman Marc Lovicott told the media.

Come Monday, 240 coconut doughnuts mysteriously appeared at police headquarters. The delivery driver gave officers the man’s name and Lovicott tracked down an e-mail address and began corresponding.

“This was meant as a harmless way to both show general gratitude for the job you do (which is awesome) but slight disdain for my treatment Saturday (which was not so awesome),” the man wrote, according to Lovicott. “Donuts (sic) are awesome, but coconut donuts are not so awesome.”

Then there was Midland Lee kicker Luis Aranda drilling an extra point attempt into a referee’s face in a Texas high school football game, and the ball ricocheted through the uprights.

Must have been Midland Lee’s night. The school beat El Paso El Dorado 35-16,

It wouldn’t be my 95th annual Christmas column without mentioning the late John Baldwin, who celebrated his 100th birthday in 2006. He was the sole surviving member of the Keller Club in Minnesota.

He was quoted by the St. Paul Pioneer Press as saying he wasn’t playing much golf because he had a sore back.

“When you get to 100, you get some problems,” he said.

His secret to a long life?

“Moderation in everything. I quit smoking when I was 82.”

Wish I had met Johnny especially now that I’m playing the back nine.

It is now time to present the best-of-the-year list. Before doing so, I have to thank my wonderful family and friends for reading my Sunday column. Including Vernon Esso hockey great John (Wire) Price, who used to just look at the pictures in the paper, my readership total has reached 39.

We are all blessed with decent health and happiness in the Mitchell family. My wonderful folks are going strong at 80-something, my daughter Kristi is a children’s psychologist in Calgary and is getting married in February at the all-inclusive resort city of Edmonton, my oldest son, Max, is working and helping me coach my youngest son, Nick, who can stickhandle on a postage stamp, but was just struck with his third hockey concussion in less than a year.

And as we all move forward, please include Neil McPhie, Nick Turik, Norm Amiel, Wayne Richardson and Haley McDougall in your prayers. Here, then, are the best of 2015…

Gone But Not Forgotten: Norrie Burns, Peter Catt, Todd Ewen, Grant Kineshanko, Michael Blain, Ron Stanley, Cory Isobe, Yogi Berra, Ernie Banks, Al Arbour, JP Parise, Flip Saunders, Moses Malone, Justin Wilson, Frank Gifford, ‘Rowdy’ Roddy Piper, Dean Smith, Ken Stabler, Billy Casper, Jerry Tarkanian, Nelson Doubleday Jr., Calvin Peete, Steve Montador.

Viper of the Year: Liam Finlay.

Best TV Sportscasters: James Duthie, Squire Barnes, Jim Hughson, Gregg Zaun, Ines Sainz, Evanka Osmak.

Canuck of the Year: Henrik/Daniel Sedin.

Rising Stars: Jordyn Cullum, Danny Aspenlieder, Cayleigh Graham, Andrew Shortridge, Zac Benn, Meredith Levorson, Andy Gilbert, Tyler Galenzoski, Ryan Vest, Mitchell Bradbury, Hannah Bennison, Ben Hladik, Levi Nicholas, Zac Hyer, Jagger Williamson, Matt Kowalski, Powell Connor, Jenna Fletcher, Conner Kozak, Connie Kapak, Connor Glennon.

Best Steak: Blackened New York at Earls.

Best soup: Broccoli & Bacon at Kelly O’Bryans.

Best Pizza: Uncle Dave’s.

Best Cheerleaders: Tennessee Titans.

Busts: Kate Upton, Heidi Klum, Noureen Dewulf (Canuck G Ryan Miller’s wife), Anaheim Ducks, Philadelphia 76ers, L.A. Lakers, B.C. Lions, Johnny Manziel,

Best Team Names: Onion Lake Border Chiefs, Frog Lake T-Birds, Fargo Force, Brampton Beast, Wheeling Nailers, Syracuse Crunch, Cedar Rapids RoughRiders, Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Biloxi Shuckers, Akron Rubberducks, Sioux City Musketeers,

Sparrow of the Year: Oliver.

Best Wings: The Longhorn. Honourable mention: Wings.

Best onion rings: Winfield Arena.

Best creampuffs: My mom’s. Honourable mention: Okanagan Bakehouse.

Best Names in Sports: Christian Cakebread, Odeen Tufto, Dick Trickle, Ben Lovejoy, Rob Klinkhammer, Bastian Scheinsteiger, Lincoln Lane, Rusty Ryal, Coco Crisp, Homer Bailey, Burke Badenhop, Chapperon Chillihitzia, Golden Tate, Bo Horvat, Cal Clutterbuck, Emre Can, Martin Montoya, Wacey Rabbit, Madison Bowey, Max Unger, Ricardo Lockette, Preston Sparklingeyes, Darnell Nurse, Mitch Meek.

Best Smiles: Curtis Lazar, Taylor Swift, Drake, Kevin Bieksa, Meghan Mikkelson, Mary-Louise Parker, Natasha Staniszewski, Missy Peregrym, Hannah Storm, Jennifer Hedger, Jennifer Garner, Marion Mitchell, Jacqueline Cote, Alyssa Racine, Brooklyn Decker, Anneke VanderVelde, Amanda Bedard, Paul Rush, Tori Feser, Scott Simpson, Andrea Pow, Craig Ferguson, Stana Katic (Kate Beckett on Castle), Karlie Kloss, Anita Black, Miranda Kerr, Zach Agar, Zayne Hanke, Makenna Hoffman, Lawrie Skolrood, Jesse Crowe.

Best Legs: Bo Pellah, Usain Bolt, Jay Henry, Kevin Cleland, Ian Jensen, Christine Sinclair, Marie-Philip Poulin, Mia Hamm, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Hope Solo, Bob Powls, Wayne Hoover, Gerry Geisbrecht, (Lean) Lena Dean, Natalie Gulbis, Wayne Brown, Leryn Franco, Darrell Spencer, Ray Michelin, Edeen Ramsey, Cal Halasz.

Worst Legs: Glenn Jespersen, Gene Anderson, Steve Fitzpatrick, Chris Fleming, Peter Francis, Russ Parr, Darin Mundy, Erwin Schuur, Dave (Spyder) Specht, Kevin Manke, Jeff Parker, Mike Kakoske, Lloyd Mitchell, Dave Hampton.


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