The night before Christmas 2019 -- Sarah Spain's ode to the year in sports

Celtics vs. Raptors, Bucks vs. Sixers -- who's Santa got on Christmas, when the Lakers play the Clippers? Ben Solomon/ESPN Images

It's the night before Christmas, the moon lights the lawn,
Stars twinkle to welcome a new decade's dawn.
Time to pack up '19 and say "Hello" to '20,
Fond memories abound. And regrets? We've got plenty.

Double doinkin' it? Yeah, that tops the list.
AB's feet made us armchair podiatrists.
Magic quit on the Lakers to get back to his tweets,
Robert Kraft in a video? NO ONE needs to see.

We lost Tyler Skaggs, Big Papi was shot,
We still don't know what's a PI and what's not.
The NC-double-A's doing NC-double-A things,
Astros probably cheated to get those World Series rings.

But we shan't spend our time on the things that went wrong,
We'd need months to unpack it -- we don't have that long.
I guess we should focus on the joys of the year,
Even though our inner Grinch would rather jeer.

So I'll put pen to paper with a goal once more,
Of writing, in rhyme, the year's stats and scores.
Tales of greatness achieved and milestones crossed,
(I'm gonna tell my kids this was Robert Frost.)

Let's start in Cali, with the championship game,
This year we all knew how to say Tua's name.
The champ, back for more, with the Bama Tide,
Saban's claim as the greatest could be fortified.

Across the way, Clemson's counterattack,
A stifling D and a stud quarterback.
The Fabio of football, his hair gold like the sun,
Led the Tigers to the title with a 30-nil run.

The NFL playoffs earned gripes and complaints,
As a no-call PI ended things for the Saints.
Pats beat the Chiefs, both had video game scores,
Maybe next year, Patty. Tom wants one more.

The Super Bowl matchup was just like '02,
The Rams (now in L.A.), taking on Brady's crew.
A snoozefest, a bore, Pats won 13 to 3.
Another title for Tommy and his coach, BB.

Gronkowski's last game! Let me rhapsodize,
'Bout a polar bear out amongst average guys.
His play always thrilling, his quotes oddly clever,
He was fiesta. Gronk Spike 4-eva.

But wait! More football! A new league appeared!
The AAF, with new teams and new gear.
Big money invested! Big names were involved!
Just two months later, the league dissolved.

How'd they get so much money and fall so flat?
Why can't women's leagues get even half of that?
"WoMeNS sPoRTs iSn'T wHAt tHe peOPle WanT"
I heard idiots say in their best SpongeBob font.

In men's college hoops, a shoe made news,
As Zion's foot came bursting through.
His Duke Blue Devils missed the Final Four,
And as a pro, he'd miss many games more.

Events went better for the Cavaliers,
As they avenged their choke from the previous year.
Eked past Auburn, beat Texas Tech, too,
NC-double-A champs, Long Live the 'Hoos.

In the women's bracket, UConn fell,
Sabrina balled out but the Ducks lost, as well.
Baylor advanced to face Notre Dame,
Could Arike play hero in another game?

The Bears blew a lead, Lauren Cox went down,
Notre Dame could almost taste a second straight crown.
But Arike's missed free throw proved quite vital,
And Kim Mulkey's squad took home the title.

At Augusta a legend found greatness again,
Putting tears in the eyes of middle-aged men.
The return of Tiger, a man once on the skids,
This green jacket more special after hugs from his kids.

Speaking of special, St. Louis, right?
After years of despair, it was finally their night.
O'Reilly and Binnington helped end the drought,
From worst to first. Was there ever a doubt?

Yes, they beat the Bruins and "Gloria" blasted,
The party was good and the party, it lasted
Players current and former were swimming in booze.
Yeah, we heard ya Brett Hull: They went Blues.

The NBA crowned a new champion, too.
Kawhi was the key to Toronto's breakthrough.
With Durant's Achilles and Thompson's knee,
Only Curry survived of the Warriors' big three.

Kawhi'ning and Dining couldn't make Leonard stay,
So, he left with one final, "What it do, babay?"
The board man got paid and went off to Cali,
While Golden State mourned the Oracle finale.

KD left for Brooklyn, so did Kyrie,
Davis joined Bron, Russ left OKC.
Paul George to LA, Butler went to the Heat,
Knicks got no one. Rinse and repeat.

For Nowitzki and Wade, one final run,
"Au revoir," Tony Parker. "Tu etais bon."
Now it's young guys like Jokic, Luka and Trae,
Can't wait 'til we see Zion Williamson play.

Injuries took out the W's best,
Without Stewie and Bird the Storm regressed.
Taurasi and Parker had injuries to beat,
Will Maya Moore ever come back to compete?

A bright spot all season -- the Washington Mystics,
A top team all time, per the statistics.
Emma was clutch, so was EDD
Beat the Sun to bring a title to Washington, D.C.

The summer was won by a pink-haired queen,
With the ballerest celly that we'd ever seen.
Arms outstretched, chest puffed high, a devilish smirk,
Trump said, "win something first," so she went right to work.

First Spain and then France -- Pinoe was clutch,
Then the Brits went down, leaving only the Dutch.
A fourth World Cup win for the U.S. of A.
That parade was rad, now let's talk equal pay.

At Wimbledon Coco arrived on the scene,
Beating Venus in straight sets -- at age 15!
One more chance for Serena to match Margaret Court,
But she couldn't beat Halep, and again came up short.

Thank goodness new tiebreaker rules were in play,
Or Djoker and Fed might be at it today.
A near five-hour match, Wimbledon's longest.
In the end, Djokovic proved he was strongest.

Contracts for Manny and Bryce showed their worth,
But neither could muster a postseason berth.
Nats said to Harper, "We'll be all right,"
Got hot down the stretch and stayed in the fight.

Beat the Stros on the road in a Game 7 clash,
Strasburg threw fire and Rendon mashed.
Got the party started with a tune they all knew,
Baby Shark, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo.

The NFL season had not yet begun,
When Andrew Luck stunned us and said he was done.
First Brown's feet then his helmet, and that was a wrap.
Got cut by the Raiders without playing a snap.

A few weeks remain and the NFC's tight,
The top-seeded team seems to change every night.
Brady looks human, but who's gonna say
That they don't think New England can go all the way?

Lamar is unstoppable, a sure MVP,
I think even Russ Wilson himself would agree.
But when postseason comes, can he handle the weight?
Like Lizzo says, "be great when he gotta be great"?

The CFP semis are coming up quick,
The first of their kind without Bama and Nick.
Now it's Coach O and LSU sitting at one,
With Ohio State hoping to spoil Burrow's fun.

Joe's already won by using his reach,
To galvanize giving through a heartfelt speech.
Nearly half a million bucks, according to reports,
Thank goodness he didn't just stick to sports.

A couple more things that sparked joy in '19:
Katelyn Ohashi, and her viral routine.
The black girl magic of the great Simone Biles,
WNBA drip, those ladies got style.

The black cat that scored on the Giants' D,
A win for A. Felix after pregnancy.
A World Series dub for the UCLA Bruins,
An NBA season without the Warriors as shoo-ins.

Miami's Vice jerseys, in all their pastel splendor,
Ashlyn Harris' post-World Cup Instagram bender.
The soap opera allure of the Cleveland Browns' troubles,
Becky Lynch slams and Ionescu triple-doubles.

I'm feeling my Grinchiness soften as I write.
There's more joy in Whoville! My spirits feel bright!
No need for my "writing tools" kept close and handy,
(i.e. glasses of eggnog spiked with some brandy).

I might just be numb to the problems around me,
It takes a whole lot now to really astound me.
And I know nothing's fixed with a holiday rhyme,
But at least we can smile for a very short time.

So fix up a cocktail, pick an outfit that slays,
Blast "All I Want for Christmas" as loud as it plays.
Gather family and friends, hold them extra tight,
Wish them Merry Christmas, and a hella good night.