Photo: Pat Summerall (L) and John Madden, by Wally McNamee/CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images
It's Thanksgiving week, and all of us (me) at SPORTSOPOLY wish you and yours the happiest of times together as a family!
Of all the traditions surrounding this American holiday, the one I'll cherish always is watching football -- the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, at home, hosting (and, occasionally, roasting) a visiting team and their families.
I looked forward to seeing those games at the Pontiac Silverdome in suburban Detroit and at Texas Stadium in Irving, with the hole in the roof.
Of course, the NFL wasn't content with just two games. So they've added a third. I'm not really complaining but come on! How much football do we need on a day when we're trying to reconnect with loved ones?
OK, I'll accept that third game.
Growing up, Thanksgiving football meant Pat Summerall and John Madden, on CBS, then FOX. NBC typically had the "other" game, which wasn't as special. At least to me.
On this day my mom would rise early, even though she'd stayed up until the wee hours prepping food. Looking back, I don't know how or why she put herself through such an ordeal.
Well, actually, I do. She loves her children. Raised us largely by herself. And did everything in her power to make sure our holidays were not just good but great! We were far from rich, but we were wealthy with love.
My mom couldn't have cared less about the football games on Thanksgiving. Usually, she was ready to conk out by that first kickoff. I always felt a bit sad for her, struggling to understand why this 5-foot-4ish dynamo subjected herself to such "punishment."
I don't have children. But I completely understand now why she did what she did. And I'm impressed even more.
We'd awake on Thanksgiving morn to the most amazing aromas wafting through our modest domicile. Part turkey, part broccoli casserole, part mac-n-cheese, part sweet potato pie. In a word, family. Nobody had it better than us on those days, not even the well-off folks in the burbs.
When we'd eventually sit for dinner, I could see she was totally fatigued. But her eyes never betrayed her love. She was thrilled to have her four growing boys and girl at the table, saying grace and expressing gratitude for our little bounty. And I couldn't have felt more important or cared for.
In our home, at least to we boys, Thanksgiving meant football. We might roughhouse and play some "tackle" on the living room carpet before the games. There were usually tears, mostly from me. Can I get a holding call, ref?! How about a pass interference?! As we grew the games left the "domed" stadium and ventured outdoors. Other kids. Big time now. No crying allowed. And, yet, I managed to run home a time or two to complain about something, hiccupping my ordeal to this little woman standing over a stove. She ALWAYS made me feel better.
So, on this Thanksgiving, I ask you to do one thing. Be truly grateful. Take a deep breath, study your life, consider our world, and count your blessings. We only get one turn on this merry-go-round.
Make it a good spin.
And, for the sake of all things good on planet earth, root for the Lions.
They'll be good ... one of these days.
Love you, ma!
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us (me) at SPORTSOPOLY!
That's my take. What's yours? Fire off your comments!