By Steve Williams

Dear Santa,

As I began writing you, I was asking myself, what does the world need now?

What instantly came to mind was that great song from 1965.

“What the World Needs Now is Love”… So I immediately googled it and listened to it. I noticed too the playing time of the song is exactly 3:16. That’s also my favorite Bible verse.

So that’s it, Santa. That will be my Christmas gift to anyone reading this.

You can google it like I did and listen to Jackie DeShannon sing it.

It may tug at your heart, as it did mine. You also may find yourself humming the tune on into the day.

The song’s lyrics were by Hal David and the music was composed by Burt Bacharach.

It peaked at No. 7 on the U.S. “Hot 100” in July of that year and reached No. 1 in Canada.

Please listen to it and enjoy it as I did. And see if you agree with me.

Now, Santa, here are a few more gifts I would like to give out to those in the World of Sports.

Give Governor Bill Lee and TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress the appreciation of thousands of high school football players for allowing their season to happen in a pandemic year.

And Knox County School leaders a lump of coal in their stocking for cancelling three weeks of the high school basketball season, including the next two weeks during Winter Break.

Throw in some Blistex too for all the coaches who bit their lip instead of questioning the decision.

UT football coach Jeremy Pruitt could have used some new ear plugs this season, but don’t bring any now. Let’s be positive and hope he won’t need any next year.

Do give the Vanderbilt Commodores a belated ‘thank you’ card for showing up and playing the Vols two Saturdays ago despite being short-handed. I’m serious. They played despite slim chances of winning

Speaking of Vandy, give my kudos to Sarah Fuller, who kicked two PATs in the 42-17 loss, to become the first woman to score in a Power 5 game.

Give UT Athletic Director Phillip Fulmer the patience to put up with impatient fans.

And Coach Pruitt a free pass to tell them what he really thinks. No, no … I’m just kidding.

Give Coach Carol Mitchell a sign at Gibbs High that says “Carol Mitchell Field.” We know it will happen one day. She already ranks among the winningest prep softball coaches in the nation. Why not go ahead and do it while she can enjoy it.

Give Tennessee Titans Coach Mike Vrabel a contract extension and Derrick Henry many more carries.

Make a note for Christmas in 2024 to give Randy Boyd a baseball to throw out for the first pitch at a new downtown ballpark in the spring of 2025. Hopefully, the new ball club will also be named the Knoxville Smokies again.

If only you could give a do-over to Antonio Mays, whose Roadrunners went 0-10 in his first season as head coach at Austin-East. The encouraging news is that help is on the way from the Baby Roadrunners’ program, which had four team champions in the Knox Metro Youth Football League this year.

Give UT offensive lineman Trey Smith our admiration and best wishes for a long career in the NFL.

Give Coach Rick Barnes a handmade orange and white quilt for his team’s smothering defense … and an orange and white tie as a stocking stuffer.

And last but not least, for the late Russ Bebb, who inspired me with his Dear Santa letters back in the 1970s and ’80s at the old Knoxville Journal, please give every boy and girl a ball and the fun and enjoyment it can bring.


Merry Christmas,