I'm back. Yes, it's another annual reunion with readers of this newspaper, my home for 50 years until retirement in 2008.
Just showing up in this space once a year is a blessing for me since I turned 77 last June and the clock obviously is ticking.
However, until my personal clock stops, I hope to keep collecting my favorite quotes and then sharing them with you each year. It's a daily challenge I welcome because it keeps me reading, listening and watching, always on the prowl for something that might help you smile even more during this holiday season.
Of course, I will miss some that you might remember in 2013. Cut me a little slack. I can't spot everything over 12 months. For some reason, golf always seems to offer many little gems that are appropriate for this column. I wish I could find more quotes from women. Auto racing and horse racing fans do email that I should include more from their sport. It's not for a lack of trying.
I enjoy spotting an occasional quote from my favorite high school sports world, but they have to be positive. Andy Nussbaum of Naperville Central came through for me this year.
Sit back, relax and see if family and friends agree with your favorite quote from this latest collection. They are not presented in my order of preference.
Stacey King, Bulls broadcaster, after their team plane blew an engine on the way to a game at Indiana: "If I had a teddy bear, I would have been grabbing it."
Pete Lembo, Ball State football coach before a showdown game at Northern Illinois: "It's been a very, very hectic week. One thing nice about being on the road, at least we'll have some time to rest at the hotel and a chance for the kids to sleep in a little versus a home game, where they're going to class all day."
Tim Miles, Nebraska basketball coach, to reporters after a 70-44 loss to Ohio State: "If you don't have any questions, you won't hurt my feelings."
Amani Toomer, ex-New York Giants receiver, on Ray Lewis' celebrating dances in his final home game for Baltimore: "Since when did the NFL become Dancing with The Stars? They should have given him some pompoms."
Brent Musburger, sports announcer to his color analyst and former quarterback Kirk Herbstreit, when the camera showed Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron's girlfriend: "Wow, I'm telling you, you quarterbacks, you get all the good-lookin' women ... So, if you're a youngster in Alabama, start gettin' the football out and throw it around the backyard."
Jackie Harbaugh, mother of the competing Super Bowl coaches Jim and John: "I'm rooting for a tie. Can the NFL do that?"
Andy Phillips, on the difference between being the kicker this fall for the University of Utah football team and being on the U.S. national ski team for five years: "Probably everyone just showering together."
Bill Self, Kansas basketball coach, after a 62-55 loss at TCU, which had not won a Big 12 game: "It was the worst team Kansas ever put on the floor since Dr. Naismith was there. I think he had some bad teams when he lost to Topeka YMCA and teams like that in the first couple years."
Andy Nussbaum, Naperville Central girls basketball coach, to reporters following a stirring rally after trailing 41-33 with two minutes to go and winning 44-42 over Benet in the regional championship game: "If I'm dreaming right now, don't wake me up."
Chip Kelly, taking over as Philadelphia Eagles coach, on splitting up the play-calling with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur: "I'll call the good plays, he'll call the bad."
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers wide receiver, on the passing skills of New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez: "I wouldn't let him throw me a paper-bag sandwich."
Jeff Gordon, after finishing second to Danica Patrick in pole-position qualifying at the Daytona 500: "I can say I was the fastest guy today."
Brent Barry, telling Dan Patrick about his 1996 NBA dunk title: "I don't really care much about the dunk trophy. I've actually turned it into a chips-and-dip bowl."
Nick Saban, Alabama football coach, after four players who were charged with robbery or credit-card fraud were expelled: "Some people learn by words. Some people learn by consequences. Some people can't learn."
Ken Kavanaugh, athletic director at Florida Gulf Coast, on how his school needs to capitalize on its NCAA basketball tourney upsets: "We still need a lot more resources. We have to make up for the fact our oldest alum is 37 years old."
Dennis Rodman, after meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: "He's a good guy to me. As a person to person, he's my friend. I don't condone what he does."
Nathan Cleverly, light-heavyweight boxing champion: "My chin is one of my greatest strengths, which is good because if you're going to get punched for a living, you need that."
Alex Ovechkin, NHL's Capitals forward, on recovering from an early-season slump in March: "A couple of weeks ago I was almost in the toilet. Maybe they forgot to flush me."
Viktor Fasth, Ducks goalie, when asked to analyze a goal by the Sharks: "They shot the puck and it went in."
Tiger Woods, when asked if money was important to him in any aspect, if at all: "Uh, not really, unless I need to buy some fast food somewhere."
Sergio Garcia on Tiger Woods: "I'm not gonna lie. He's not my favorite guy to play with. He's not the nicest guy on the tour."
Adam Scott, 2013 Masters champion: "I don't wake up and think I won the Masters. But when I walk in the closet and put on the green jacket once every morning, I do."
Gary McCord, CBS sports commentator, while describing the play of ESPN anchor Chris Berman during the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am: "That's not a swing. That's a seizure."
Brandon Prust, Montreal Canadiens forward, on Ottawa coach Paul MacLean: "We don't really care about what that bug-eyed, fat walrus has to say."
Fay Vincent, former baseball commissioner, after watching the Marlins play the Mets: "Both teams are pathetic."
Pat Neshek, after the umpires refused to overturn a ruled double for Oakland despite the replay clearly showing it was a home run: "I was going to go to the casino tonight, but I don't feel like getting robbed again."
Vontae Davis, Colts cornerback and former Illini, after a 39-33 Sunday-night win over Peyton Manning and the Broncos: "We prepared really hard for Tom Brady."
Matthew Mark, Caltech baseball coach, on his team's composed reaction after recording the school's first win since Feb. 15, 2003, snapping a DIII nonconference record 228-game losing streak: "It was almost as if they had been there before."
Oklahoma City public-address announcer before NBA playoff game with Memphis: "We ask that you refrain from any disruptive behavior -- such as fighting."
Rafael Nadal, talking about his strenuous five-set win over Novak Djokovic in the French Open: "I learned during all my career to enjoy suffering."
Dominique Easley, Florida defensive tackle, when asked about the legendary coach Bear Bryant at the SEC Media Day: "I don't know the name. Is it some sort of cartoon character?"
Ian Poulter, complaining about the pin position at the 18th hole after his opening round at Muirfield in the 2013 Open Championship: "The 18th needs a windmill and clown face."
Poulter again, about the difficulty of waiting for an afternoon tee time when you're anxious to start a major championship: "It's easy for me. I love sleeping. I'm half man, half mattress."
Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated on the general friendliness of the sports fan base in Wisconsin: "You're likely to find the type of courteous people who wash their rental cars before returning them."
Josh Tomlin, Cleveland Indians pitcher, upon the completion of a five-and-a-half months rehab stint in Arizona following Tommy John surgery: "I think I know every cactus by name."
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens coach, expressing his disappointment that Jacoby Jones was hit over the head by a stripper with a champagne bottle: "That was enforced in our household that nothing good happens after midnight."
Martellus Bennett of the Bears on the storm delays at Soldier Field in the game with Baltimore: "It was pretty muddy, windy. I feel like I've been fishing all day."
Josh Sitton, Green Bay Packers guard, on the Detroit Lions: "Their entire defense takes cheap shots all the time. That's who they are. They're a bunch of dirt bags, or scumbags. It starts with their (bleeping) coach."
Johnny Gomes, Red Sox outfielder, after David Ortiz gathered the team in the dugout for a pep talk during the World Series: "It was like 24 kindergartners looking up at their teacher."
Robert Shiller, Yale economist, on his brother's reaction to his winning the Nobel Prize: "My brother sleeps in. I called him and said, 'Did you hear the news?' And he said, 'The Tigers lost.' "
Charles Barkley, TV basketball analyst, on turning 50: "I've got to play more golf. What else do old people do?"
Andy Murray, asked if he slept with the Wimbledon trophy on the night of his triumph: "I did not. Maybe the trophy will get lucky tonight."
James Hoses, judge at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, on the difficulty some owners have in accepting his scoring: "If your dog licks you in the face every day, how can you be objective?"
Did you smile? Mission accomplished if you did.
It's nice to be back in the Daily Herald for one day. Hopefully, we'll meet again a year from now.
Happy New Year!