DON KETCHUM is a native of Phoenix. He was a sportswriter for The Arizona Republic/The Phoenix Gazette for nearly four decades. He covered high school sports on several occasions as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State sports. From 2008-14, he was a staff writer for, the web site of the Arizona Interscholastic Association.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Experience Night Before Christmas, Xavier style

Author’s note: During some of my time writing for Phoenix Newspapers Inc., I produced an annual “rewrite’’ of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,’’ tailoring the content to sports news during that particular year. I decided to try something similar for Xavier readers this year. Hope that it captures a small part of the Christmas spirit

(Thanks to authors Clement C. Moore and Henry Livingston Jr.)

‘Twas the night before Christmas and in Xavier’s house
Not a creature was stirring, even Alli Gator chasing a mouse
Sports socks were hung in the lockers with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas would put new ones there
The athletes were nestled all snug in their beds
With visions of state titles dancing in their heads

In a new Under Armour shirt and checking my lap(top)
I was racking my brain for a Xavier app
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter
Away to the window I flew like a flash
My heart was aflutter, were they picking up trash?

The moon started to crest, the grass newly mowed
If the timing was right perhaps it would snow
When what should my wondering eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer
With a little old driver so lively and quick
He flew in from the South, right over Petznick

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name
Now! Dasher Now! Dancer Now! Prancer and Vixen
On! Comet On! Cupid On! Donder and Blitzen
To the top of the porch, to the top of the wall
Now dash away dash away you’d better not fall

As dry leaves that swirl when the wild winds fly
No worries about obstacles, they take to the sky
So up to the top of the gym they flew
With the sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas too
With Christmas lights twinkling I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof

As I scratched my head and was turning around
Down the stairs Nicholas came with a bound
Cold made me say brrrrr! There was ice on my foot
His clothes a bit wrinkled, he gave me that look
His eyes how they twinkled his dimples how merry
His cheeks were like roses his nose like a cherry

A smile on his face, the scene was aglow
He couldn’t stay long, had other places to go
A peppermint stick he held tight in his teeth
He saw the art classes’ Christmas wreaths
With a mischevous gaze and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed like strawberry jelly
He was chubby and plump, put gifts on the shelf
And I laughed when I saw him, a cherubic elf

With a tear in his eye, the Scriptures he read
With God as our guide we have nothing to dread
He spoke not a word and went straight to his work
He filled all the stockings, had cookies and milk
And laying his finger aside his nose
And giving a nod, to the rooftop he rose

He jumped into his sleigh, gave his friends a quick whistle
And away they all flew a glowing red missile
Then I heard him exclaim as his contraption took flight
Merry Christmas, Xavier, and to all a good night !!

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