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Forward LeBron James (6) and the Miami Heat have won 27 straight games are just six wins away from tying the NBA's all-time winning streak of 33 games, set by the L.A. Lakers in 1972. (AP Photo/Todd Kirkland)
Monson: For sports fans, it’s the best time of the year
Gear up » Sports and the holidays are made for each other.
First Published Dec 24 2013 09:38 am • Last Updated Feb 14 2014 11:49 pm

Merry Christmas.

It’s a holly, jolly football and basketball and hockey season.

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The best time of the year.

The college bowls are underway, BYU and Utah State are prepping for the Poinsettia and Fight Hunger games, Kyle Whittingham is switching out offensive coordinators, the NFL playoffs are nearly ready to launch, the NBA is settling in, the Jazz are losing just enough, Jabari Parker is tearing up college hoops, Larry Krystkowiak is turning the Utes around, Dave Rose has the Cougars about where they always are, and the Blackhawks and the Penguins are burning up the ice.

Deck the halls, bring in the Yule log and pass the remote.

I’ll be home for Christmas … sitting in the La-Z-Boy right in front of the big screen.

It’s a beautiful thing, the holiday season.

Parson Brown doesn’t want to be a snowman. He wants to be a season-ticket holder.

Nobody blends sports and Christmas like Americans do. Like we do. It’s a trend that’s been a thing for a while now, but that really hit home this holiday season. They were — and are — undeniably made for each other.

Just count the number of times you think about sports today. Li’l Billy will be smack-dab in the middle of opening his new Apache AH-64 3.5-channel mini-indoor helicopter or maybe his ultra stomp rocket and … boom, you’re thinking about Trey Burke. Li’l Suzy will be cracking into her new Uncle Milton Moon In My Room and … thwack, you’re wondering what time that Lakers-Heat game starts.

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There are five NBA games on Christmas Day, all of them televised: Chicago at Brooklyn (ESPN), OKC at New York (ABC), Miami at the Lakers (ABC), Houston at San Antonio (ESPN), and the Clippers at Golden State (ESPN). As for college football, Boise State and Oregon State played on Christmas Eve, and Utah State and Northern Illinois, as well as Pitt and Bowling Green play the day after Christmas. Marshall and Maryland, Syracuse and Minnesota, BYU and Washington play on Friday. It rolls on from there.

Games are everywhere.

But what put the sports-Christmas combo-pack over the top for me this year was noticing while shopping for gifts that anybody can get the logo of his or her favorite team plastered on just about anything. It reaches far beyond T-shirts and hats and sweats and watches and pajamas. Did you know you can buy Green Bay Packers tinsel? You can hang on your tree a Denver Broncos blown-glass gingerbread man ornament? Yeah, you can.

To bring it close to home …

You can buy BYU Cougars work gloves, BYU Cougars patchwork silk ties, BYU Cougars board shorts, BYU Cougars women’s flip-flops, BYU Cougars mascot knit beanies, BYU Cougars newborn rhinestone gift box booties, BYU Cougars white garters with lace, BYU Cougars leather office chairs, BYU Cougars mixing glasses, BYU Cougars boat flags, BYU Cougars zippered 12-oz. glitter bottle koozies.

You can buy Utah Utes game-bib overalls, Utah Utes team logo glitter bobby pins, Utah Utes neon bangle bracelets, Utah Utes belts, Utah Utes cheerleader dresses, Utah Utes crystal heart anklets, Utah Utes full-zip jackets, Utah Utes socks, Utah Utes Hanky Panky ladies underwear, Utah Utes baby bottle sets, Utah Utes aviator glasses, Utah Utes earmuffs, Utah Utes grilling utensils, Utah Utes Santa plastic plates, Utah Utes sock monkey pillow pets. You can buy darn near anything you want with a BYU or Utah theme to it, or any logo from just about any other team, college or pro.

I made it about halfway down the sports fans’ shopper’s guide list. There are hundreds and hundreds of items. When you can buy a BYU Cougars 16-oz. freezer pilsner, meant to keep that adult beverage cold and refreshing, you know everything is in play.

What self-respecting Utes fan doesn’t want a Utah Utes toolbox? What Jazz fan can do without a Jazz survival bracelet? A Jazz three-piece barbecue tote? A Jazz table lamp? A Jazz hero cape? A Jazz performance pet T-shirt? A Jazz stainless steel flask? A Jazz stretchable book cover?

Nothing says Merry Christmas better than a giant Utah Jazz foam fist or a miniature Utah Jazz mascot gnome.

May you find your own team treasure under the tree — or on it — this Christmas season. There’s always the hope that your team someday, some year, somehow, some way, will give you back, for all your devotion, the gift that matters more than any other, including a team logo lace garter.

That championship you’ve always wanted.

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