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PURDUE SANTA MAKES NO PROMISES

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THIS IS A REAL THING THAT IS REALLY HANGING IN MY HOUSE

We've entered the holiday shopping portion of the season, and many programs are on the hunt for the perfect gift for their fans. Maybe you're getting a brand-new Justin Fuente, that Kirby Smart you've been eyeing for years, or a even refurbished Mark Richt! Heck, if you're really good, there's still a chance Santa might bring you a hard-to-obtain Tom Herman!

Of course... not all programs are quite as fortunate. Today we reflect on this.

[SCENE: inside the dusty concourse of a mall that closed in 2007 but inexplicably still stands in the middle of a pretty nice neighborhood]

[mall radio]

Iiiiiiii'll be home for Christmas / You can count on me

We didn't make a bowl / we weren't very close

We couldn't even win three

PURDUE SANTA: Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas, little one! Hop on up here and talk to Santa!

LITTLE GIRL, warily: have you been crying, Santa?

PURDUE SANTA, jollily: For most of the morning! Now, have you been a good girl this year?

GIRL: Yes, I have. I cleaned my room whenever my parents asked, I brushed my teeth every night, and I was even nice to my baby brother even though he's a big stupidhead. I want a new bicycle with a horn and basket.

PURDUE SANTA: That's great! I bet if you keep it up until Christmas, you could have a new bike within four or five years!

GIRL: wait, what?

PURDUE SANTA: You see, results don't happen overnight, darling - you have to trust in the process! Why look, we've got all the parts for a new bicycle, I just need time to develop them! [gestures to a shopping cart full of broken lamps]

GIRL: mom why did you bring me here

[mall radio]

He sees that you're not happy / He just asks you to wait

Just two more wins the last three years / He'd have gone 8-28

Oh, you'd better watch out / you'd better not cry

You'd better not pout, I'm telling you why

Boiler Santa's got a buyout

YOUNG BOY: I want an Xbox One.

PURDUE SANTA: I'm glad that you're committed to seeing us get to that point. I think we've got a clear direction toward that, and I'm proud of the elves we've got here. We need the buy-in of supporters like you to get there.

YOUNG BOY: what the hell does that mean

PURDUE SANTA: it means we've got a plan in place, our facilities are improving, and the administration shares your goals

BOY: so am I getting an Xbox, or

PURDUE SANTA: oh, I think you're definitely getting the Ex Box! [winks]

BOY: you emphasized the pronunciation on that really suspiciously, let's be clear, I'm talking about the next-generation gaming console

PURDUE SANTA: and I'm talking about this cardboard box full of Region 2 DVDs of My Super Ex-Girlfriend!

BOY: [cold silence]

PURDUE SANTA: kids love Luke Wilson!

BOY: [cold silence]

PURDUE SANTA: just take the DVDs kid I've got a line to get through here

[mall radio]

Iiiiiiiiiiiii'm dreaming / of a game past Christmas

remember that time we had Drew Brees?

we played in bowls then / even Kyle Orton

looks pretty good right now to me

SKEPTICAL YOUNGSTER: alright I've been listening to you talk to the other kids and I don't have much in the way of expectations for you at this point, I want you to know that

PURDUE SANTA: Oh, ho! Ho! Ho! Now, there's no need for pessimism, my boy!

YOUNGSTER: I just don't want to be disappointed again this year. I think you mean well, I honestly do, but last year I asked you for a remote-controlled drone, and you said you'd get me one.

PURDUE SANTA: and I di-

YOUNGSTER: you got me a box fan with a bunch of balloons tied to it

PURDUE SANTA: did it fly

YOUNGSTER: do you think it flew

PURDUE SANTA, quietly, hanging head: no... no, probably not

YOUNGSTER: I just think kids wouldn't end up nearly as mad at you if you weren't making promises that you know you can't keep. So I want us to be real together here, Santa, I'm just gonna go down my list, and you stop me when you think it's something you're actually capable of delivering on, okay?

PURDUE SANTA: You can have whatever your heart desires, my precious, as long as you believe in the magic of-

YOUNGSTER: yeah yeah shut up, okay top of the list, a video game system?

PURDUE SANTA: uh we just ran out of those, maybe you can talk to the other kid

YOUNGSTER: right, I wasn't expecting much luck there, how about a hoverboard?

PURDUE SANTA: I have a *number* of boards! Uh... how attached are you to the "hover" part?

YOUNGSTER: [sighing] how about just a new football

PURDUE SANTA, looking around: [under breath] look kid you know football's not my strong suit

[mall radio]

It was almost Christmas time / there I stood in another line

Trying to get that last win or two / not really in the football mood

Standing right in front of me / was a little boy waiting anxiously

Pacing 'round like little boys do

And in his hands, tickets to see Purdue

IRRITATED MOTHER: Excuse me, Mister "Santa Claus"? We need to talk for a minute.

PURDUE SANTA: Well Merrrrry Christmas, little lady, what can I do for you tod-

MOTHER: Don't give me that crap, pal, I want you to apologize for what you said to my son.

PURDUE SANTA: I tell all the kids to experience the wonder of the holiday season!

MOTHER: you told him that the Ninja Turtles were dead

PURDUE SANTA: look lady he wanted action figures, those things costs like 10 bucks each, it was a reasonable way out

MOTHER: you told him you might not make it to our house at all because your reindeer have "had a lot of injuries"

PURDUE SANTA: if you look at our stable this year, the talent level is there, we've just been unlucky

MOTHER: you told him you had to shut down your workshop

PURDUE SANTA: well, you see, with the price of oil

MOTHER: it's the lowest it's been in years

PURDUE SANTA: it's been tough on all of us, I know

MOTHER: I'm calling security

PURDUE SANTA: I'm just so tired