As the clock quickly approaches midnight here in Atlanta and the first minutes of Thanksgiving day approach, I look over the last year and think about all of the things that I am thankful for when it comes to sports: I am thankful for teams like the Tampa Bay Rays, who show that a baseball team doesn’t have to have a giant payroll to make it to the World Series. I am thankful for coaches like Mike Krzyzewski, who led Team USA to a gold medal in Beijing, bringing USA basketball back in business. And lets not forget the New York Giants, who came in and stole the Super Bowl from the New England Patriots. The month of February is another thing I am thankful for. Many see it as the middle of winter, but I see it as the beginning of spring training when pitchers and catchers report for the first breath of America’s past-time. Michael Phelps. How many of you who watched his performances can honestly say that you didn’t pump your fists in the air and scream when he helped Team USA win the 4×100 freestyle relay? And his other 7 golds. Jon Lester. A champion for cancer survivors around the world, after coming back to baseball and pitching a no-hitter in front of a Fenway crowd.
I am thankful for Lou Piniella, Brett Favre leaving the Packers, Derrick Rose, and Joe Gibbs. And Joey Chestnut, who defended his title of the Nathan’s hotdog eating contest (yes, that is a sport). Matt Forte, Matt Ryan, Tiger Wood’s pain tolerance, and Bruce Weber’s ’09-’10 recruits. I am thankful for MLB.tv for when I was in Amman, Jordan. I watched the Cubs win and listened to the call of prayer all at the same time. And what about all the food items that are sold at the stadium? Maxwell Street Polish, Funnel Cakes with powdered sugar, churros, nachos with jalepenos and beer (and mountain dew).
Before I go any further, let me warn you that what you will read below may come across to you as corny, cheesy, and cliche. You will say “Elwell, I think you’ve gone off your rocker and are a major softy”. But lets not forget how we got here today. Many will criticize our country and say we do so many things wrong. But I believe that we have so much to be thankful for that we take for granted. Food, a car, an internet connection (without it you wouldn’t be reading this), a hot shower, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, a job, a spouse, being single, etc etc. As you sit down today and watch the NFL matchups, remember to be thankful for what you own, and consider going out and sharing it with someone in need. In the midst of all of life’s stresses, frustrations, anger, pain, and bitterness, remember that an act of kindness, especially on Thanksgiving day, will give someone a day that they’ll never forget. Instead of sitting on your couch alone like a lazy bumb, Invite over your annoying next door neighbor who maybe smells a little and doesn’t brush his teeth. After all, two beers opened are better than one.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving feast, and be careful with your Turkey fryers.