With that in mind, it's only natural that the Reporter call upon the services of the only renowned - and round! - prognosticator and soothsayer, the turban-wearing, wand-waving, crystal-ball gazing wonder, The Great Hagueini, to peer into the future and pull out what might happen in local sports for the calendar year of 2008.
Here's what Hagueini has collected for the year to come.
As the images become clearer in the crystal ball, Hagueini sees basketball as the first sport to appear.
As well it should, considering it is the season that is currently ongoing.
Anyway, it looks as if the Marist girls' basketball team, with standout do-everything guard Christina Centeno and powerful forward Ebony Thomas, will be the ones holding the HCIAA Coviello trophy come March.
In the HCIAA Seglio league, the image shows Hoboken winning yet another league crown.
Among the boys' teams, Hagueini sees Lincoln High School, with standout forward Daquan Pettiford, winning top honors in the HCIAA Coviello for a second straight year.
In the HCIAA Seglio, the crystal ball sees CREATE Charter, with its standout Walik Albright, getting the school's first-ever county title to go along with the state sectional title it won a year ago.
But the real story in basketball will be the fabulous Friars of St. Anthony, who will once again be a major force come NJSIAA state playoff time. In fact, the Great Hagueini sees the deep and talented Friars steamrolling through the regular season, toppling St. Patrick's of Elizabeth in the Parochial B North finals, ending the Celtics' string of domination against the Friars, and winning the NJSIAA Tournament of Champions for the record 10th time.
The Friars will then secure the national record for state championships and will do so in undefeated fashion, returning the school on Seventh Street to its place of prominence with a national championship.
Michael Rosario will once again earn All-State honors, as will Dominick Cheek.
The Friars will be the story of the year in local sports as they flirt with an undefeated season and another year to add to their incredible legacy and immortality.
Baseball and softball
In the baseball race, Hagueini sees a tightly contested HCIAA Coviello season once again, but the team to beat will be the team that won a year ago. Led by All-Area pitchers Sean McGrath and Robert "Hammer" Doughty, the Hawks of Hudson Catholic will make it a repeat in the county.
In the HCIAA Seglio, look for Hoboken to make it a "three-peat," thanks to the exploits of sensational hitter Nate Arocho and a host of talented newcomers.
In softball, defending champion St. Dominic Academy looks like the prohibitive favorite in the HCIAA Coviello, with ace pitcher Carlie Tynan returning. But don't rule out a run by Holy Family Academy, now that standout Grace Keller has fully recovered from last year's ankle injury.
In the Seglio, look for the two perennial rivals High Tech and Hoboken to knock heads once again, with Hoboken ace Raquel Roder and High Tech's top hurler Erica Colon both returning. The two will be embroiled in some classic battles, but Hoboken will win the HCIAA Seglio crown this time around.
Track and field
McNair Academic will continue its excellence in the outdoor track and field season, with Tellesia Williams helping the Cougars' girls' track team to successfully defend the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I team title they won a year ago.
St. Peter's Prep will once again dominate locally, with running back Nyshier Oliver becoming the next in a line of great Marauder running backs, earning All-State honors and a scholarship to Rutgers. It will be a ninth straight season with an HCIAA title for the Marauders of Grand and Warren.
But the real player to watch will be Savon Huggins, who will emerge as a budding superstar for the Marauders.
However, the Marauders make it back to the Meadowlands for another state showdown with Don Bosco Prep, but fall short once again.
The newly formed Union City High School dominates in the first year of HCIAA play, with the powerful coaching tandem of Angelo Avella and Ben Perez combining to take the Soaring Eagles to a county title in the first year.
Pro sports predictions
Brandon McGowan of Jersey City earns a starting job full-time with the Chicago Bears.
Joe Borowski of Bayonne has another solid year with the Cleveland Indians, but the Indians fall short of repeating as division champs, surrendering the title to the Detroit Tigers, who will win the World Series.
Chris Lugo of Hoboken earns a promotion to Class AA with the Washington Nationals' organization.
All in all, it's shaping up to be another great year in sports in Hudson County for 2008.
How did Hagueini do?
A quick look at last year's predictions and results
Last year, the Great Hagueini waved his magic wand and peered into the crystal ball and came up with some pearl-like predictions. Let's take a closer look at how the Wide One did:
As the images become clearer in the crystal ball, Hagueini sees basketball as the first sport to appear. It appears as if North Bergen's girls' basketball team, led by James Madison-bound center Lauren Jimenez and standout guard Cassandra Chenet, will recapture the HCIAA Coviello title it relinquished in 2006.
BINGO! Led by the play of Jimenez (now at James Madison University) and Chenet (now at Felician College), the Bruins did win the HCIAA Coviello championship, the school's third in four years.
In the HCIAA Seglio, the image shows High Tech successfully defending its league title, with the appropriately named Naza Hot getting hot at the right time in the league playoffs.
WRONG! High Tech did make it to the HCIAA Seglio finals, but lost to Hoboken.
Among the boys' teams, Hagueini sees Bayonne, with Rashad Callaway and Nico Thompson, holding the trophy aloft in the Jersey City Armory after the HCIAA Coviello title game, having defeated Lincoln in the championship.
WRONG! Bayonne failed to make the HCIAA Coviello final, but Lincoln did, winning a county title for the first time since 1980. The title game was not played at the Jersey City Armory as anticipated.
In the HCIAA Seglio, the crystal ball sees Hoboken, led by grid stars Duval Kamara and Norman Smith, repeating as champions, but getting a good scare from perennial Seglio contender St. Mary's.
CORRECT! The Red Wings won the HCIAA Seglio title for the second straight year, spearheaded by a great game from Smith, now at the University of Maine playing football.
The Friars of St. Anthony will inch ever so closer to the national record for state championships this season, with Michael Rosario earning All-State recognition.
HALF RIGHT. Rosario did enjoy an All-State season, but the Friars lost to St. Patrick's of Elizabeth in the NJSIAA Parochial B North finale, ending the hope of another state crown.
In the baseball race, Hagueini sees a tightly contested HCIAA Coviello bracket and a host of different teams being in the mix. But in the end, it will be St. Peter's Prep that emerges victorious for veteran head coach Joe Urbanovich.
WAY WRONG. Hudson Catholic emerged from the pack and won the HCIAA Coviello title under the leadership of first-year head coach Danny Suarez.
In the HCIAA Seglio, look for Hoboken and the talented Arocho brothers, Nate and Danny, to lead the Red Wings to another league title. Come to think of it, the Red Wings will earn another Group I state sectional championship. After a drought of 12 years, the Red Wings make it consecutive years with state titles.
BINGO! The Red Wings won both the HCIAA Seglio and the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I title for a second straight year and made it all the way to the Group I overall state title game, thanks to All-Area seasons from both Arocho brothers.
In softball, defending champion Holy Family Academy looks like the prohibitive favorite in the HCIAA Coviello, considering all the talented players the Falcons have returning, like All-Area pitcher Grace Keller.
WRONG! Keller broke an ankle late in the season, but by the end of the year, St. Dominic Academy, led by the pitching of sensational Carlie Tynan, was the premier team in the HCIAA Coviello, defeating North Bergen in the title game.
In the Seglio, look for the two perennial rivals High Tech and Hoboken to knock heads once again, with Hoboken earning the nod this time, thanks to the overall athletic prowess of Jennifer Albuja.
Secaucus, led by the power hitting of Cory Roesing and the talents of young pitcher Samantha Schlemm, wins the Group I state sectional title, the first in school's history.
WELL, WE'RE GOING TO THE JUDGES FOR A RULING. Hoboken and High Tech battled all year, with High Tech winning the HCIAA Seglio title, but Hoboken winning the final battle in the NJSIAA North Jersey Section 2, Group I playoffs. Then Hoboken defeated Secaucus in an epic 14-inning war to capture the state sectional title, the first one in Hudson County in 20 years. What do the judges think?
McNair Academic's brilliant Leslie Njoku re-writes the local record books and earns her second straight gold medal at the NJSIAA Meet of Champions. Wait, Hagueini sees two gold medals draped around Njoku's neck as she ends her phenomenal career in a blaze of glory. Throw in another national title for good measure.
PARTIAL CREDIT. Njoku won three NJSIAA Group II medals, but failed to win at the Meet of Champions. But she was named the Hudson Reporter Female Athlete of the Year and went on to Georgia Tech.
St. Peter's Prep rebounds from its state championship debacle and continues its dominance in Hudson County, winning its eighth straight HCIAA championship. Quarterback Will Hill ends his career in fine fashion after declaring his intentions to attend the University of Florida and earning High School All-American honors.
BINGO, BANGO, BOINGO. The Marauders did win an eighth straight HCIAA title, with All-American Hill leading the way before he heads off to the University of Florida. Hagueini's crystal ball was crystal clear in that one.
On a down note, while several Hudson County teams qualify for the NJSIAA state playoffs, there will be no causes for celebration, as they all fall short of a state title.
UNFORTUNATELY, RIGHT AGAIN. There were no state football championships in Hudson County in 2007.
Brandon McGowan of Jersey City earns a trip to the Super Bowl with the Chicago Bears, but they lose to the San Diego Chargers in the big game.
HALF RIGHT. The Bears did go to the Super Bowl, but they lost to the Indianapolis Colts.
Joe Borowski of Bayonne has a great year with the Cleveland Indians, leading them to the American League Central Division title.
WOW! This one was too unreal for even Hagueini. The Indians were the surprise of baseball, winning the Central Division, as Borowski led the American League with 46 saves. The crystal ball gets a nice buffing after that one.
Terrance Roberts of Jersey City, who is in his senior year at Syracuse, gets drafted in the NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
WRONG. Roberts suffered a back injury that required surgery and kept the NBA scouts away before the draft. He's trying to recover now.
All in all, not a bad run of predictions for the old wide one. - Jim Hague