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Lacrosse Christmas Special: The Year Without a Johns Hopkins

The holiday special you remember more for the Miser Brothers' musical numbers than the actual plot gets a lacrosse makeover to tell the story of the 2010 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.

Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

College Crosse is getting into the holiday spirit by making your favorite holiday specials into lacrosse stories! (Until we get the big bucks of Rankin/Bass this is, of course, in theory only.) Today, A Year Without Santa Claus becomes a story about the 2010 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays.

Our story begins with everybody in the lacrosse incubator of Baltimore getting prepared for the 2010 edition of the big event -- the NCAA Lacrosse Tournament! Before faceoff, though, we learn some awful news: Johns Hopkins' mascot -- Jay, the blue jay -- isn't feeling too well! It's been a rough season for him, losing to almost all of his big rivals and teetering on the edge of .500. Some doctor -- a Baltimore Sun comments section troll -- comes in to check on Jay and tells him that nobody will care if Johns Hopkins misses the tournament because nobody cares about them anymore. Dave Pietramala, who instead of inhabiting the role of Mrs. Claus is Jay's housemate or something, says, "That's not true!" But Jay feels that the doctor is right and that Jay will take a year off. Coach Pietramala starts into song and the kids join, going:

There'll be a year without a Johns Hopkins
A tournament so sad
It was a year without a Johns Hopkins
The worst we ever had

[There's no word on what we replace the "Santa had Died" line with.]

Thankfully for Pietramala, two of his best workers at the Hopkins factory are former legends Paul Rabil and Kyle Harrison. [Rabil and Harrison aren't in elf costumes, but rather clothed in long sleeve compression t-shirts in Hopkins' colors]. Pietramala decides to send them out on Vixen [the North Pole references remain] to find out if kids still care about Johns Hopkins anymore. The beloved Hopkins legends leave, but are caught in between the feuding Miser Brothers: the Snow Miser [a huge Syracuse fan] and the Heat Miser [a Maryland supporter until the day he dies]. After getting zapped by one of the Heat Miser's rays, Harrison and Rabil end up in a suburb of Washington or Long Island that we're gonna call "Northeast Corridor, USA." [That still sounds more creative than "Southtown."]

The duo try to hide Vixen in the shade. While that goes on, Harrison and Rabil run into a boy named Ignatius. [We're not renaming Ignatius because his name sounds prep school-y enough to keep. He'll end up on Inside Lacrosse's "D-3 All-Name Team" in 2027 playing for Tufts or something.] Much to the dismay of the Hopkins legends, Ignatius tells them, "Nobody roots for Hopkins anymore. That's just for babies. Everybody roots for Duke and Notre Dame nowadays!" While Ignatius' statement upsets Harrison and Rabil, there's trouble afoot, as Ignatius tells them that the Northeast Corridor, USA animal control department took their dog, who's really Vixen! With Vixen at the dog pound, the two now have to run to the dog pound to save him.

Meanwhile, Jay is in bed when he realizes that something's up. He asks Pietramala what's going on. Petro replies, "Yeah, I sent Rabil and Harrison out to generate some goodwill with the selection committee and everything like that. They brought Vixen as travel because our ZipCar bill still needs to be paid off for the month." Jay is startled by this and decides to go out and look for them. [You know, disguised as the Toronto Blue Jays mascot instead.]

Jay happens to run into Ignatius who tells Jay that the two lacrosse guys are out looking for Vixen. Ignatius tells Jay that nobody roots for Hopkins when he invites the bird to dinner. But then Ignatius' father tells Ignatius that he's still a Hopkins fan and always has been, then breaks out into a musical number about "believing in Johns Hopkins" with Jay joining in. That changes Ignatius' mind, and after Jay leaves Ignatius realizes he actually saw Hopkins' mascot!

So Ignatius meets up with Rabil and Harrison, who sign an agreement with the mayor of Northeast Corridor, USA that the mayor will give Johns Hopkins its own holiday if there's snow for the lacrosse conference championship weekend in the town.

The trio then join Coach Pietramala, who decides it's time to go and visit the Miser Brothers to get the deal done. [This is the part of the special you actually remember, with all those show tunes and whatnot.] First they go to the Snow Miser in Syracuse, who sings a showtune about being the Snow Miser just to tell the crew that Northeast Corridor, USA is under the Heat Miser's control. That means a trip to the Heat Miser is in order, which also means another showtune gets sung.  Then there's an angry phone call on the "hotline" between the Miser Brothers. After the negotiations blow up quicker than Congress over a spending bill, Coach Pietramala decides it's time to send them all to their mother -- Mother Nature!

Mother Nature brings the Miser Brothers to the table, and both Miser Brothers want some of their demands to be met before agreeing to anything. "I WANT SYRACUSE TO SWEEP PRINCETON FOR A FULL CLASS OF RECRUITS!" the Snow Miser declares. Pietramala, Rabil, Harrison, and Ignatius sit confused for a moment before Mother Nature reminds them that Snow Miser is eternally stuck reliving in the 2003 NCAA Basketball Tournament. "NO FAIR!" Heat Miser rebuts. "I WANT MARYLAND TO MAKE 3 OF THE NEXT 4 FINAL FOURS!" Mother Nature does her thing, forcing them to compromise, and in addition to that, Northeast Corridor, USA gets a snowy day during conference tournament weekend [SPRING SPORT!] while a 95-degree heat wave has to come for Final Four weekend [ALSO SPRING SPORT!]. The deal is made and Northeast Corridor declares Johns Hopkins Day in time for the final weekend of the season. Hopkins goes on to beat Loyola to keep Hopkins at the .500 mark, making the team NCAA Tournament-eligible.

Yet, after all this, Jay still feels they should skip this tournament. But never fear! All the little Johns Hopkins fans from all around the world send their letters to Baltimore to convince Jay to accept Hopkins' NCAA Tournament invite. He's moved and decides that Johns Hopkins would go to their 39th consecutive tournament after all!

In the end, the song from the beginning of the movie starts again, but now it's declared, "There'll be no year without a Johns Hopkins."* And Jay goes on and delivers postseason lacrosse to all the good little Hopkins fan boys and girls.

And, of course, yes, mini-Jim Tressel is still in this version.

Year without a santa claus mini jim tressel

*Ignore the part about Hopkins missing the tournament three years later. This special was made for the 2010 holidays.