Thankful any way
It's more difficult to be thankful this year. We're isolated more than ever, not just on this holiday, but in terms of our daily lives and normal activities.
Maybe that's why we're more focused than ever on finding things for which to be grateful here at the 5-at-10 Compound.
We're thankful for each other, of course.
We're more thankful than ever to be healthy, because of the real-life knowledge that so many fewer can say that this year compared to last.
My son is thankful for the sacrifice his teachers and school administrators have made to make the school year as close to normal as possible.
My daughter was thankful her softball coaches were able to craft something close to a season during the late summer and early fall.
My wife is thankful for our many blessings, our consistent laughter, our strong faith and our daily walks.
I am thankful for each of them. Probably more than they can know, at least until my son has kids.
Because, just like I will never know the love a mother has, it's impossible to articulate the power and passion in a father's pride. Our family makes us better, both out of need and want. It makes us better men, and that exchange is forever locked and never fully reimbursed in either direction.
But I too am grateful for you. I can't speak from any point of view other than mine of course, but I know in the 10-plus years I've been doing this, I never really needed the 5-at-10 and its daily distractions, laughs, exchanges and thoughtful discourse as much as the last few months.
So thank all of you for that. And happy Thanksgiving.
OK, enough of the touchy feely
Been a while since we've had a top 5 list, no? Feels like it anyway.
And since this is a sports-based (mostly) conversation, let's merge a couple of sports top-5s. As Bluto asked, "Who's with me?"
Side note: This morning I watched the film "Belushi" on Showtime. It was pretty great, and as someone who was young as he shot to superstardom and who was a fan — he was Sen. John Blutarsky and Jake Blues for Pete's sake — it was truly eye-opening to his pain and his dependency. It was shot with nothing but clips and still photos from his life, with interviews with a virtual who's who of comedy Hall of Famers. The lasting takeaway for me was something I never knew OK, spoiler, if you plan to watch this, skip to the next graph. I'll wait. OK, when Belushi overdosed, with his marriage on the rocks and his career teetering on the brink, he called his best friend, Dan Aykroyd, who said, "I'm writing something that will get us back to the top and make everything better." Aykroyd then told the interviewer that he was going to finish that page and then head to L.A. to be with John, but he was too late. And that script he was writing? A little thing called Ghostbusters with Belushi slated to be Bill Murray's character.
Anywell, where were we?
OK, sports top-5 thanksgiving lists, and guys and gals, feel free to offer yours in any of these categories or a new genre all your own.
Top five 2020 sports moments for which I am thankful:
1 — My daughter scores all 12 in a 12-10 2/3-grade hoops championship win. (Spy, if you call her a ball hog and make some "Chip off the ol' block" joke, well, you're right about the ol' block, but not about Ray-Ray. She gets it.)
2 — Every high school football game I got to attend. It was different for sure, but it was the closest thing to sports feeling normal since the pandemic arrived. And if I can make a prayer of request on this day for which we give thanks, it's that those teenagers chasing a state title in the next 10 days get to end their seasons on final scores and not final test results.
3 — The Masters played. No, my guy didn't win. And the lack of patrons and the NFL competition meant it was a forever low in terms of TV numbers. I didn't care. I cherished it.
4 — Dodgers winning the Series, my favorite baseball team's first title since I was a senior in high school.
5 — LeBron winning a title with the Lakers in the year that the country re-fell in love with MJ because of a propaganda movie so slanted that North Korea wants to hire the director and in a year in which Kobe died.
Top 5 events/athletes I'm thankful I saw in person:
1 — Tiger in general, his chip at 16 in 2005 in particular
2 — MJ
3 — Randy Johnson's perfect game in Atlanta
4 — Hank's 715th (and yes, I was 3 and sound asleep, but there none the less
5 — Auburn 30, Alabama 20 in 1989.
Happy Thanksgiving gang.
College hoops — and hurdles
Basketball started. I guess.
UTC rolled over something called Lander U. (Did you know Lander is the Bearcats? If you are Lander, don't you do something different with the nickname here? Lander Font. Lander Calrissians. Lander Lakes, like the butter. You don't think the Star Wars junkies are not going to want a Lander Calrissians T-shirt?)
Here's more from TFP UTC ace Mean Gene Henley on the win.
Elsewhere, Kentucky clobbered Morehead State. A slew of ranked Big Ten teams slapped their foes. The ACC looked pedestrian, and holy buckets of a lack of buckets, the fall from the peaks of greatness in my youth for Georgia Tech hoops is staggering.
The Jackets lost in four OTs to Georgia State. Wowser.
Any well, college hoops started, and after hearing the story about the crunch on officials in the Georgia high school football playoffs caused some schedule difficulties, it dawned on me that we're going to have games suspended or PPDed because of corona conflicts and the referees.
We simply will have to, because the numbers and overlaps are nearly impossible to avoid.
I hope for the players sake they get every chance to play as many games as possible and get something resembling a tournament at the end, but this seems like a tough row to hoe right now.
This and that
— So leaving like a church mouse, Trey Wingo is no longer with ESPN. And like that, the ripples from the failed Golic and Wingo morning show continue to be erased from the memories of those in Bristol. I understand. It was the show that followed THE show, and trying to imitate Mike & Mike was a losing plan from the start.
— And while we're there, I did not like the Golic and Wingo show all that much, but it was way, Way, WAY better than the dreck-tastic morning show on ESPN these days with Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Zubin Mehta. Not sure what the strength of that show is supposed to be or even the focus. It's hard to listen to, that much I do know.
— Here's today's A2 column allowing readers the chance to share what they are thankful for on this Turkey Day.
— You know the rules. Here's Paschall with the next layer of reactions to Nick Saban getting the Corona and having to miss the Iron Bowl. Here is Paschall's picks column. Here's Paschall on UT's head-scratching schedule that has made a long losing streak feel even longer.
— Welp, 2020 has officially won. We've been beaten as a nation of Americans. Because if Pat Sajak is going to lose his cool and turn on a contestant — after decades of dealing with goodness knows the level of frustration — well, we've lost. (Of course Pat was kidding, but still.)
Feel free to shoot a mailbag question. We've got some sports open because of the holiday.
Lots happening this weekend of course. Football everywhere. Some golf here and there. College hoops.
There also will be the Tiger Woods documentary on Sunday. I have high hopes that it will be truthful and not the pandering, Nike and star commercial the Last Dance was.
First question, what are your expectations for the Tiger Woods documentary on ESPN?
Second, if you only get one sporting event to watch between now and Monday, what is it?
Finally, best Thanksgiving dessert?
As for today, Nov. 26, let's review.
Tina Turner is 81 today. She was born in Nutbush, Tennessee, so there's that. Want another one? DJ Khaled is 45 today.
On this day in 1789, the first Thanksgiving happened.
Alice in Wonderland was published in the U.S. on this day in 1865.
Casablanca premiered on this day in 1942.
On this day 50 years ago, 1.5 inches of rain fell in a single minute — still the heaviest rain fall on record — in Guadeloupe.
Rushmore of rain, and be creative. And remember the mailbag.
And enjoy however you're going to spend your Thanksgiving.