Here’s a hearty and heart-felt hope that each of you enjoyed this Thanksgiving. It was a fine time at the 5-at-10 compound, and it’s not over yet. It’s a huge, Huge, HUGE weekend of games and we’re thankful for the chance to watch them.
In what has become somewhat of a 5-at-10 holiday trend, Celtic Vol delivers a home run question and it takes over the mailbag in a five part answer. Well, C-Vol did it again. So, without further ado from the “Mama McNabb stage at the Al Davis studios,” here we go:
Thanksgiving week is one of my favorite times of the year. Turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, pecan pie, and football. It doesn’t get any better than that.
This week is a time to give thanks for all our many blessings. I’d like to give you 3 sports-related things that I’m thankful for and I ask that you would do the same for us:
1) I’m thankful for my Tennessee Vols. I don’t care if they go 6-6 and go bowling in Shreveport; they’re still going to be my team. I will always bleed orange. After last week, I’m thankful for Dooley’s orange dog, too.
2) I’m thankful for my Atlanta Braves. I don’t care if they break my heart every September. They’re still my team and always will be. I will always be tomahawk choppin’ from April to September.
3) And last but certainly not least, I’m thankful for the 5@10. I’m thankful for the daily articles that are thoughtful, insightful, and humorous. I think I speak on behalf of all 5@10 readers in that our days are much better with a daily dose of 5@10.
First, thanks for the kind words and for being a loyal 5-at-10 reader. Considering the size and mass of the Interwebs, it’s a relatively small group of us, but we’re growing. Thanks to you and too many of the regulars to name and the witty and fun participation — some of you folks could be sports writers, by the way, you’d just need to be comfortable with smaller paychecks and bigger bellies — this has become one of the bona fide highlights of our job.
So for that please accept our thanks for playing along and as always everyone is welcomed to participate.
As for your question, well, please know there were more than a few hours spent contemplating our answers. And since, we have a wonderful wife, two great kids who are awesome even if they may be allergic to a full night’s sleep, a truly remarkable family and a job that feels more like a blessing than work, we know we’ve been truly lucky.
But the question is Sports-related, and there are too many sports things to be thankful for without breaking it down into subgroups. Here’s what we got:
SPORTS DAYS WE’RE THANKFUL FOR
1. Friday nights in the fall
2. Gameday Saturdays
3. The first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA basketball tournament
4. Baseball’s Opening day
5. Sunday of the Masters
SPORTS PEOPLE WE’RE THANKFUL FOR
1. Fans. The lifeblood of every sport.
2. Coaches everywhere — on every level — that are more concerned with whens than wins (as in when Lil’ 5-at-10 gets older he’ll remember this experience fondly as opposed to to as so-and-so gets older they’ll remember how many wins we had).
3. Stars who act like rookies and who make time for autographs and pictures and as many fans as possible.
4. High school athletes that cry when they win state championships or when their careers are over. The older the 5-at-10 gets the more we realize that tears are cool.
5. The sports staff here at the TFP, who are professionals one and all (even Weeds) and who make our job much more manageable than most.
The 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team members celebrate after their upset victory over the heavily favored Soviet team by 4-3 score in the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Feb. 22, 1980. (AP Photo)
SPORTS MEMORIES WE’RE THANKFUL FOR
1. The 1980 hockey win that taught us all to believe in Miracles
2. Gibson takes Eckersley deep
3. Patrick Nix to Frank Sanders (The 5-at-10 was in our second junior year at Auburn at the time and we were in the Swamp when the Nix-to-Sanders TD pass upset the top-ranked Gatros. We got cussed out by a few 70-year-old women that day, and it surely will be our last trip to the Swamp as a fan, but it won’t get any better
4. Sid’s Slide that made every Southern man from the ages of 18-50 feel like a child again
5. Laettner’s shot (sorry 9er) that caused Thomas Hill to make the face that the entire nation was feeling
Auburn football players gather for the first day of spring football practice for the national champion Auburn Tigers in Auburn, Ala., Wednesday, March 23, 2011. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
SPORTS FEELINGS WE'RE THANKFUL FOR
1. The hope of a new season
2. The tension of any game coming down to the final play, possession or pass and the energy of an upset brewing
3. The satisfaction of hard-earned victory and the joy of championships
4. The exhaustion of giving it everything — win or lose — and knowing that was truly your best effort
5. The sappy, tinglingly, tear-filled goose-bump moments in wonderful sports movies — be it Chitwood’s shot or Roy Hobbs running the bases or Rudy making the sack — that make it dusty in every living room everywhere.
Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan dunks the ball during the Slam-Dunk championship in Chicago on Saturday, Feb. 6, 1988. (AP Photo/John Swart)
SPORTS SENSES WE’RE THANKFUL FOR (One for each of the five senses)
We’re thankful we got to see Michael Jordan compete, because no matter how high he jumped or tough he defended or how smooth he was to the basket, Jordan was Jordan because he competed harder and longer and stronger than everyone else.
We’re thankful we got to hear so much, and there are so many great sounds in sports. We got to hear Larry Bird swish a 3, Tiger Woods hit a driver, Dale Earnhardt crank his Chevy, Gary Sheffield connect on a fastball, Nolan Ryan throw a fastball, and the crowd go crazy, then silent, then crazy again when the Titans were a yard short in the Super Bowl. But mainly we’re thankful we got to hear Larry Munson call a Georgia football game like a soulful Southern preacher would eulogize his best friend.
We’re thankful we got to feel what it was like to be in the “zone.” It’s a trite and over-used term, sure, but when you’re there there’s nothing like it, regardless of the level or the level of competition. (Senior year of high school, scored a then-Georgia-state-record 21 points in the first quarter against Lithia Springs. Finished with 40 — including two free throws with three seconds left — in a 70-68 win.)
We’re thankful we got to smell the excitement of Alabama’s first trip to Jordan-Hare Stadium. It was our freshman year and Alabama came in 10-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country and left with a 30-20 loss. It’s still the most memorable sporting event we’ve ever been to.
We’re thankful we got to touch even one reader with our version of telling a story. It’s a true thrill.
Enjoy the weekend and feel free to chime in with your sports-related thanks givings. We’ll see you Monday.
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...