Archive for Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Thanksgiving Day memories

November 22, 2000

In daily life, where we tend to take so much for granted, it's meaningful and necessary to have a day where we can put things in their proper perspective.

Here is a sampling of Thanksgiving Day memories and musings for your perusal.

Best when served warm.

Enjoy.

This is that time of year when we reflect on our lives and give thanks for all that we have.

Yes, I do it, too.

As cynical as I may appear, I play by the rules.

And, the rules are simple: On Thanksgiving, you are required to be thankful.

It's the law.

I usually take five minutes between that second helping of turkey and the afternoon game's halftime show to consider all that I have and I quickly come to the conclusion that I am truly a lucky man.

I am blessed.

I have a beautiful wife who two years ago last Monday made me the happiest man on the planet.

I have a loving daughter who never ceases to amaze me with her brilliance.

And, I have supportive family and friends who keep me on the straight and narrow.

These people are my priority. I would do anything for them.

Yes, I am thankful.

Now pass the stuffing, please.

Football has always played a huge role in my Thanksgiving Day ritual.

As a boy, all the kids in my neighborhood would take part in a game of tackle football at the school yard early Thursday morning.

We played every day, but this game was always a little more special because, well, it was Thanksgiving. We put on our toy football helmets mine featured the Miami Dolphins and worked up our appetites by playing a spirited game known fittingly enough as the Turkey Bowl.

That practice was halted when I was about 13 when Tommy Latham broke his collarbone and his mother had to put a halt to the preparation of the Latham family meal to bring Tommy to the emergency room.

So much for tradition.

When I was in college, I worked early each morning in the meat department of a independently-owned grocery chain, preparing the counter by cleaning the glass and shoveling large quantities of ice.

The store had a rivalry with the store down the street, which challenged us to a Thanksgiving Day football game.

It was incredible.

The crowd was huge.

The competition was great.

We clobbered them. I vividly remember covering a punt and sliding through a puddle to recover a fumble that led to a touchdown scored by my brother.

Great memory, indeed.

Management, however, put a halt to any future games when three butchers sustained broken bones in the contest and were unable to work the following week.

Are you sensing a pattern?

In my adult life, I have been paid to watch football on Thanksgiving let the real athletes play the games which was a blessing to the bones I might have broken.

The high school football season in the San Francisco Bay Area was culminated on Thanksgiving with the section championship game and I covered the game each year much to my mother's chagrin.

She couldn't understand how football could take a priority on Thanksgiving.

Then again, she is the same woman who believed major league baseball should take the day off on Mother's Day.

"Don't da have any repect fow all da mothas?" she would ask. "Withowt us, there would be no basebawl."

Go figure.

In recent years, I have spent my Thanksgiving in Dallas and Detroit along with the Kansas City Chiefs.

There's something surreal about being on the road for a holiday. While everyone else is celebrating with family, you are actually working (if you consider covering a football game then writing about it work).

Now you understand my rationale for leaving the sports department. I had met Ms. Right and realized that a sportswriter's life is not conducive to marriage. It was the second-smartest thing I ever did.

Marrying Lynne was the smartest.

I am truly thankful.

This column is dedicated to Brooke, who continues her battle. This young girl has more courage than any of us will ever know.

I am thankful to know you.

Keep fighting the good fight, Brooke.

You are in my prayers.

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