I’m a little behind with my wish list for 2018. Not sure this can be arranged, but wishes are wishes. So here we go:


For the high school football season, how about an opening football festival in Tyler?

I’m thinking a trifecta of games — Thursday (Lindale vs. Van), Friday (John Tyler vs. Chapel Hill) and Saturday (Robert E. Lee vs. Whitehouse).

That would be a fun opening weekend that would attract huge crowds.

What better way to start the season — Lindale and Van are old rivals, while JT-Chapel Hill and Lee-Whitehouse have never met officially on the gridiron. There would certainly be a lot of buzz for the opening weekend. That would save on travel budgets for both the schools and the fans.

The area matchup would complement the Christus Trinity Mother Frances Football Classic, which could continue to bring in outside East Texas teams to face JT and Lee, along with Whitehouse meeting Chapel Hill.

They could rotate the first and second weeks of the high school season.

Turning to the high school basketball season, here’s hoping the JT and Lee girls basketball teams return to playing in two of the best tournaments around in Fred Griffin’s Great East Texas Shootout in Brownsboro and the Macy Chenevert Patriot Holiday Classic at Bishop Gorman and UT Tyler. Both tourneys have such quality fields and fans will get to see teams at different venues, but still close to their home base.

With JT and Lee in different districts next year, how about the Lions returning to a post-Christmas tradition of competing in the Wagstaff Holiday Basketball Classic. I remember the great JT, Lee, Whitehouse and Lindale teams competing back in the day. The gym was electric when Pat Mahomes (for you youngsters, he’s Patrick Mahomes II’s father) was dropping 50 points a night.

It was great fun between Christmas and New Year’s.

For our Juco football fans, how about the Southwest Junior College Football Conference playing strictly Thursday games. That would be their night. I’m not a fan of the Thursday night NFL games, with the exception of Thanksgiving, but the jucos could own Thursdays and they could highlight their players and teams instead of going up against TV and D-Is on Saturdays.

And finally (don’t want to be too greedy), but how about a Thanksgiving Weekend with a basketball hoopfest along with college football.

Let’s have Texas and Texas A&M play a non-conference football game, along with the men’s and women’s basketball teams tangling in a doubleheader in the same city. The schools could play either in College Station or Austin or, if they wish, rotate it among Jerry World, NRG Stadium and the Alamodome. They would play the hoop games at American Airlines Center, Toyota Center and the AT&T Center.

The football game could be on Friday after Thanksgiving with the hoop games on Saturday. Or, you could play the football game on Turkey Night when the game is not in Arlington.

Best wishes for 2018.




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Sports Editor

I am a native Tylerite and I grew up reading the Tyler Morning Telegraph and The Tyler Courier-Times. My parents took both the morning and afternoon papers. I came to work here 35 years ago at the age of 23, right after college.