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Let us be thankful for one more thing

POSTED: November 30, 2013 9:00 a.m.

Thanksgiving is an excellent time for everyone to be thankful. You know, they probably picked that name for a reason, wouldn’t you say?

Most of us have quite a few reasons to be thankful, whether it be our families and loved ones or for new jobs that help us put food on the table. I know that I have been especially thankful for my family and my wife this year, and I hope that each of you has taken the time to tell someone that you love just how thankful you are for them.

But, and there’s always a but, there is one more thing that I am exceedingly thankful for.

I am thankful that I love the G.

It would be easy to turn this into a petty column about how much better I think my team is than everyone else’s, but that’s not the point I’m trying to make. At least not today.

The point I am trying to make today is that I am thankful for my team. I am thankful for the years I’ve had to celebrate with my team and for the years that I’ve had to grieve with my team. There are few things as exciting to me as standing in the north stands of Sanford Stadium on a cool autumn evening and calling out the Dawgs.

The truth is, anyone who is deeply passionate about their team has similar, but different, experiences. I’ve never felt joy in the War Eagle chants. I have no passion about the song "Wramblin’ Wreck." I can assure you that I find nothing positive in yelling "Go Gators!" except in mocking tones at the end of a Georgia victory in Jacksonville.

Yet I can see how other people love those memories themselves.

If Alabama faithful enjoy shouting "Rammer jammer, yellow hammer" as much as I enjoy singing the alma mater for UGA, then I understand.

If you are brought to tears by the highlights of General Neyland’s glory days in Knoxville as much as I am moved by hearing Larry Munson’s golden voice giving tribute to the Dawgs, then I get you.

If you are one of the few who enjoys a hearty, "Anchor down!" with the Commodores as much as I love hearing the trumpet soloist in the southwest corner of Sanford Stadium to start every Georgia home game, then we’re on the same page.

I’m not here to extol the virtues of one team over another. You know my heart if you’ve been reading these columns, so you don’t need me to explain that to you. What I am here to do is explain how thankful I am that my team is mine.

My wife and I attended the last home game of 2013 where the Dawgs dismantled Kentucky, losing a living legend in the process, and I was reminded of just how special those nights between the hedges are.

I have heard quite a few jokes and slights in the last week, due mostly to the annual festival of hate spread between UGA and Georgia Tech leading up to the rivalry game, and you can say what you will about the flagship university of the state of Georgia, but I am a proud alum. And I am a proud fan.

You see, the University of Georgia just fits me. I’m not entirely sure why or how, but when I attend a game or when I sit in those stands, I can just feel that it fits me.

I am thankful for my parents and for all the lessons that they have taught me. They love me and they did a good job raising me right. I am especially thankful to be from a family that raised me to appreciate the red and black.

I am thankful for my wife who, although she was raised in a Tech household, was more violent than me during this year’s Auburn game. Don’t worry, nobody was hurt.

I am thankful for the Dawgs who provided me with some of the best memories of my life. Whether we were coming back from behind in 2006 to beat Tech in the final minutes, or whether we were throttling Florida in Jacksonville in 2007, I was there, and I will never forget it. Whether we were coming up just short in the SEC championship game or we were beaten by the hands of fate on the plains of Auburn, those are still special memories that I will somehow hold fondly because they are memories of my team.

This Thanksgiving season, may you take some time to just be thankful that we can celebrate and enjoy sports. Our favorite teams are often tied into family and friends, and that’s what makes those special memories just a little bit sweeter. Our favorite games represent times we got to be with people we love, and that’s worth celebrating and honoring.

Sure, scientists tell us that as long as there’s an "us vs. them" mentality in the world, we may struggle to advance as a society. They say that it promotes unhealthy competition and dangerous, negative emotions.

Well you know what I think? I think we sports fans are better than them and maybe we should just tell them where they can take their scientific opinions.

As long as we can enjoy the games and enjoy the people we get to experience them with, I think there’s something worthwhile in being a devoted sports fan, and for that, I am thankful.

 

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