Ho-Ho-Ho: Some Thoughts About Christmas and Family

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I’ve been thinking a lot about family lately, and I’d like to share some of those thoughts with you today.

As many of you know, my biological family is very small — it’s just my mom, my brother Roy, and myself. No aunts, uncles, cousins, kids, or anything like that. (There used to be another brother, two sisters-in-law, and my father, but they’re all gone now.) Neither Mom nor Roy is in particularly good health, so without being too morbid about it, I am likely to be the last one standing in the not-too-distant future.

Fortunately, I have another family — my friends. I’m very fortunate to be part of a community of like-minded creative types (writers, musicians, artists, designers) who often get together at the holidays. Most of us are childless and many of us, like myself, are at least as close to this “second family” of friends as we are to our real families. One of these friends usually hosts a Christmas party each year, so that’s what the Tugboat Captain and I will be doing today. It will feel just as special and family-driven as Thanksgiving, which we spent with Mom and Roy.

Now, as you know, I’ve been dealing with some recent unpleasantness. But Mom and Roy don’t know about that. They don’t follow Uni Watch or Twitter or Facebook, so the only things they know about me are the things I choose to tell them, and I’ve decided not to tell them about the ESPN situation, because it would get them all worried and upset. (My mom is still very tense about me being a freelance writer, even though I’ve been doing it for more than two decades.) Instead, I’ll just wait until I figure out what I’m doing next and let them know after it’s all sorted out.

As for my friends — my second family — some of them know and some don’t. Either way, most of us seem to have an unspoken agreement not to talk too much about career ups and downs. Not sure why, but that just seems to be the way it’s worked out.

You folks, however — you know all about it. And your response has been incredible. Uni Watch has always had a strong sense of community, of course, but I’ve still been blown away by the outpouring of support that’s been directed my way. Many of you have sent me long, extremely thoughtful emails; many others have sent generous monetary contributions to help support the site. Even the 240-character communiqués have been heartfelt. Maybe all this goodwill has just been part of the spirit of the season, but I get the strong impression that the response would have been the same even if the recent unpleasantness had taken place in, say, July.

All of which is a long way of saying that lately I’ve been feeling like I have a third family — you folks. Like many families, this one has some complicated dynamics, but it’s a family I’m very grateful to have. Thanks so much, people — you’ve brought me a lot of joy during a difficult time.

Meanwhile: Santa’s leaving something extra under the tree for 40 lucky Uni Watch readers — the winners of our annual year-end raffle. Here are this year’s winners, and the prizes they’ve won:

1. Uni Watch membership card — Howard Bosworth*
2. 1958 Army football helmet — Keith Alberti
3. Asgard Press calendar — Michael Siegmund**
4. Asgard Press calendar — Gil Neumann**
5. Asgard Press calendar — Craig Dudley**
6. Uni Watch hockey jersey by Wafflebored — Nick Sanchez
7. Delaware 87ers T-shirt — Cody Kennedy
8. Trey Mancini bobblehead — Tyler Obalek
9.  Fort Dodge Gypsum Eaters cap — Nathan Hawkins
10. Art of Words print — Eric Hoey
11. Duffle bag — Mark Hudson
12. Yankees yearbook — Fran Simmonds
13. Vintage Pendleton shirt — Phillip Bird
14. Orioles snapback cap — Jeffrey Snedden
15. Orioles bucket hat — Tom Hedrick
16. Orioles flag-themed T-shirt — Joshua Dixon
17. Orioles stickers — Marc Bronitt
18. Akron Wingfoots jersey — Micah Veldkamp
19. Jacob deGrom ugly sweater shirt — Glenn D’Auria
20. Noah Syndergaard shirt — John McEnaney
21. SUNY-Binghamton T-shirt — Andrew Schmidt
22. SUNY-Binghamton ugly sweater shirt — Max Weintraub
23. Fordham Rams shirt — Alejandro Jimenez
24. Omaha Metro Area shirt — Michael Fagan
25. Purple Amnesy Day cap — Gordon Blau
26. Rangers jersey with “Uni Watch” NOB — Will Edge
27. Puppy Bowl T-shirt — Charles Scudella
28. Syracuse Devices cap — Austin Lyons
29. Syracuse Chiefs-branded Brannock Device — Michael Davidoff
30. Syracuse Devices jersey — Jack Watterson 
31. Carolina Hurricanes T-shirt — Anthony Palermo
32. Puppy Bowl cap — Moose Carlisle
33. 3D “HC” helmet decal — Robert Heaney
34. Uni Watch tequila sunrise T-shirt — Erik Kisssel
35. Cyling Stars card game — Chad Smith
36. Curler’s crying towel — Ernest M. Reyes
37. Champagne cork and confetti — Mike Lavorgna
38. Uni Watch alternate cap prototype — Matthew Nuiver
39. Uni Watch alternate cap prototype — Thomas Qualls
40. We Want Fish Sticks book — Gabe Kleinfeld

*Let me know what you want for your membership card.
**Let me know which calendar you want.

Most of these items have already gone out in the mail, and the rest should be on their way by the end of this week.

I leave you with one of my favorite holiday tunes, “Big Red and the Cool Yule.” Enjoy, and here’s hoping Santa is good to you and your family, whatever that term means to you. Peace. — Paul

(My thanks to BSmile, Chance Michaels, and @jfcq33 for the holiday-themed mascots.)

36 comments to Ho-Ho-Ho: Some Thoughts About Christmas and Family

  • Joe Rodgers | December 25, 2018 at 9:10 am |

    I didn’t come here today expecting to leave thinking about the role of holidays in my life and what communities like this website’s mean to its members. And that’s why I will always keep coming back.

    • Tony Miller | December 25, 2018 at 12:03 pm |

      This, 100 percent.

      At face value, Uni Watch kicks butt as the place to learn about uniforms of all stripes.

      But what makes it indispensable to me is the way that morphs into how sport — teams, athletes, uniforms, stadiums, etc. — becomes the backbone of community, all at a time when community can be less geographic and more insular than ever before.

      In doing that, UW has become the backbone of a community in and of itself … and maybe some of us here will never feel “normal,” because we still obsess over esoteric* details, but we’re not alone.

      *Frank Mercogliano building his own softball scoreboard is still the winner in this category for me.

  • BSmile | December 25, 2018 at 9:25 am |

    Cheers to you Paul…and to the entire Uni Watch family!
    ~ Bruce

  • Phil Hecken | December 25, 2018 at 9:31 am |

    Merry Christmas everyone

  • Doug Rhodes | December 25, 2018 at 9:35 am |

    Cheers, happiness and peace to you, Paul, and the whole “Uni”-Verse.

  • Ryan M | December 25, 2018 at 9:36 am |

    Merry Christmas, UW family!

  • Allan E Chandler | December 25, 2018 at 9:59 am |

    Happy Holidays, Paul. This site is a ray of happiness for me each time I view it.

  • Will Pike | December 25, 2018 at 10:10 am |

    Merry Christmas

  • Memal | December 25, 2018 at 10:47 am |

    Merry Christmas all you Uni-Watchers and Paul, Phil, and everyone else who works to make this my favorite check in every morning.

  • DJ Doc | December 25, 2018 at 10:49 am |

    Merry Christmas to the UW Family!

  • Craig D | December 25, 2018 at 11:04 am |

    Merry Christmas Paul and all the Uni-Watch elves. As the calendar winner, I would like to select the Ohio State calendar. Thanks again Paul.

  • Dootie Bubble | December 25, 2018 at 11:05 am |

    40/40 dudes. Are there any women who follow Uni-Watch?

    • Paul Lukas | December 25, 2018 at 11:07 am |

      At least two of the first names — Fran and Moose — could be women. (I happen to know that one of them is male; not sure about the other.)

      • Dootie Bubble | December 25, 2018 at 1:09 pm |

        It’s interesting. Sports are stereotypically viewed as a male sphere. Fashion is stereotypically viewed as a female sphere. I know there are ton of folks Male/Female/Other who go against these stereotypes but I think it’s a safe assumption that far more people who identify as male buy sports mags and watch sports shows and more people who identify as female buy fashion mags and watch fashion shows. So Uni-Watch could have gone either way or split the difference but it seems like it appeals far more to the sports fan who likes fashion than the fashion fan who likes sports.

    • amy marantino | December 25, 2018 at 1:58 pm |

      count at least one more. i have been reading and enjoying for a few years.

    • Lindsay Resnick | December 25, 2018 at 5:03 pm |

      I’m a woman Uni-watch reader. Have been for about 10 years.

      • Lindsay Resnick | December 25, 2018 at 5:04 pm |

        I’ve been a uni-watch reader for about 10 years. A woman for longer :P

  • Kenny Ocker | December 25, 2018 at 11:06 am |

    Merry Christmas to all, and to Paul a good night.

  • MJ | December 25, 2018 at 11:26 am |

    Merry Christmas to the entire Uni-verse.

  • Eltee of Dee Cee | December 25, 2018 at 11:39 am |

    Merry Kringle and the happiest of holiday cheer to all!

    On a personal note I want to offer a “tip o’ the cap” to Mr. Lukas and company who continue to offer the finest uni-watchin’ site in the known Uni Verse.

    I know that change can be incredibly difficult, and life altering… but I also believe that this is not the end of things for the site, nor for PL at all. Not one jot, not one tittle.

    So allow me to me quote JFK…

    “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis.’
    One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity.

    In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognize the opportunity.”

    John F. Kennedy

    Know that you have a good wind at your back my friend, earned by the decades of good works, and good stories.

    All my hopes for Mary and Yourself.

  • Brinke | December 25, 2018 at 11:54 am |

    Merry Christmas to all. It’s a real honor to be a part of the site in my small way.

  • David | December 25, 2018 at 1:33 pm |

    Merry Christmas to you and the Captain. Hoping the new year brings new opportunities, health and peace.

  • Obbs | December 25, 2018 at 2:01 pm |

    Hope Christmas so far has been a merry one. No matter what happens to Uni Watch in 2019 I will be there to support it

    • Ophawks | December 25, 2018 at 5:25 pm |

      I’m with Obbs. I’m an athletic supporter – of UniWatch. Merry Christmas!

  • Munch Suchland | December 25, 2018 at 2:24 pm |

    Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone. And wishing you all a happy, prosperous, and healthy 2019!

  • Geoff from NH | December 25, 2018 at 4:51 pm |

    Merry Christmas, Paul. Wonderful post about the impact of friends and our “other families” through good times and challenging times. Hope it’s a great day for you.

    – Geoff

  • JL Thompson | December 25, 2018 at 5:03 pm |

    Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and hana tova u’metukah to you, Paul. Like many in the arts, I sometimes doubt the value of what I do. Know that what you’re doing is a singular and valuable thing.

  • Tornaitbird | December 25, 2018 at 5:21 pm |

    Long live Uni Watch! And you as well, Paul!

    Love, thoughts and prayers from a guy in Los Angeles.

  • Pete | December 25, 2018 at 5:44 pm |

    Glad to be a small part of it. Feliz Navidad. Peace on earth.

  • RICKAZ | December 25, 2018 at 5:55 pm |

    Merry Christmas! I know this is a difficult time, but I’m confident that when you look back at this period you’ll be thankful because it brought you to something better. Watching the NBA games today and looking forward to your perceptive tomorrow.

  • Stan Schenher | December 25, 2018 at 5:57 pm |

    Thanks Paul for your heartfelt message. Families large or small are so important and close friends are the families we choose. I am happy to hear you have this wonderful support. I hope you find another avenue very soon to continue sharing your gifts with us. God bless you, your family and friends. Merry Christmas!

  • Ty Murphy | December 25, 2018 at 8:11 pm |

    Thanks, Paul, for what you do. This site is a great creation and community and, Mr. Lukas, that is your doing. You created this place and all of us who frequent it owe our enjoyment of it to you. Hang in there during this challenging period…I have no doubt you’ll come out on the other side of it just fine. Happy Holidays!!

  • Josh | December 26, 2018 at 9:46 am |

    Happy Holidays to you Paul (and Captain), the Uni-Watch team and everyone out there.

  • m | December 26, 2018 at 12:49 pm |

    boy. every year i sign up, every year i never get anything. ha. curses west coast. Hope your holidays was a great one. cheers.

  • John Dankosky | December 27, 2018 at 8:08 am |

    Paul, it’s great to be part of your community. Thank you for all the joy and curiosity over the years. Happy holidays to you, and I have no doubt the next adventure will be amazing. Cheers.

  • Mike Lavorgna | December 28, 2018 at 12:13 pm |

    Thank you again Paul, and Happy New Year!