A Calihan Hall Christmas story

With apologizes to Clement Clarke Moore, Henry Livingston, Jr. or whoever wrote the original.
'Twas the night before Christmas at Calihan Hall,

but the Titans were all on the court with a ball.

The team made layups off the glass with care,

As they practiced for Butler, who soon would be there.

The rest of the students were all at home on break;

They could sleep in, but early the Titans must wake.

First to lift with their trainers, then off to run laps,

Then on to the court, no time to take naps.

Coach Ray with his whistle directed a play,

As the point guard, his son, listened to what his father had to say.

"Chase Simon would be open," he said, "get the ball to him."

"Then go inside to Eli, who'll dunk it and punish the rim!"

The ball was in play when they heard such a clatter,

That they stopped, looking up to the roof to see what was the matter.

They looked past the banners of Tyler and Long,

To a figure on the catwalk; something was wrong.

Not many people venture up that far,

where a fall far below was prevented by only a metal bar.

But the figure they saw made everyone pause,

With his beard and red hat, it was Santa Claus.

"Hello, Detroit Titans," he said with a wink,

"I have presents for all, let's see what you think."

He pulled out a list and called each player by name,

To give him a unique gift; not one was the same.

For Eli he had a new computer with Skype,

So he could chat with his out-of-town family whenever he liked.

"You're doing them proud, son," he said to the Titans' big man,

"Just be sure to stay out of foul trouble, if you can."

For Chase he had videos of his games from last year,

When he shot the ball well without worry or fear.

"You're trying too hard, so your shot will not fall,

Just relax out there, let your great talents shine before all."

For Evan, the freshman, he had a fishing pole,

"Catching a fish," he said, "is like earning playing time, you know.

It takes patience; you'll never know what to expect,

but when your number is called play hard, don't have any regrets."

The coach and his son he saved until last,

St. Nick took his time; he didn't go fast.

But what he did next was quite unexpected,

He didn't pull out a present or give them anything he'd collected.

"I have nothing for you, but please don't be sad,"

your true present comes from what you already have."

He looked at young Ray then back at the coach,

"You both have each other, which is more than can be said for most."

"Many parents hate to see their children go in the fall,

once they get to college they rarely visit or call.

Dads everywhere would kill for your job, coach Ray,

Because you still spend time with your son every day."

"Your goal of an NCAA tourney bid is quite an endeavor,

but the memories you'll make with your son will last forever.

Your relationship will grow stronger, your bond will be good,

That should make you happy, more than any present could."

He turned now to the rest of the team, with a tear in his eye,

His job was now over, it was time to say goodbye.

"You Titans are young, experience is hard to come by,

but soon you'll be champions, and I'll tell you why.

"You have lots of talent, you're all very skilled,

but what I see in you is heart, you're oh-so-strong willed.

Continue to battle, and believe me, don't worry,

You'll rise up again, like the city whose name's on your jersey.

The team was inspired by what he had to say,

They clapped for the old man as he turned to walk away.

He waved to them all as he rose out of sight,

"Merry Christmas, Detroit, and to all a good night.