Last Thanksgiving, I wrote the following as a direct rip-off of my favorite column which Joe Posnanski (Sports Illustrated, Kansas City Star) writes each year. As I re-read the piece, I realized that most of what I gave thanks for in 2009 is what I say "thanks" for in 2010.
So, here we go--2010 edition...
I’m thankful for our screened-in porch and the view out our back yard--for fall colors and the leaves which now cover our lawn, and for a Kansas sunset. I’m thankful for my short commute and the serenity of driving through our neighborhood and into my driveway as I come home from work each night. I’m thankful for the therapy of a glass of California red coupled with a fine cigar and the sound of my honey’s voice as we de-brief on the events of the day.
I’m thankful for the smells of Allen Fieldhouse, for afternoon games in that grand old barn when the light streams onto the floor, and for the jumping jack students who make the tip-off of any game there a special experience. I’m thankful for thousands of bodies swaying in time to the singing of the Alma Mater, for the shouting of “Rock Chalk!” on the east side of Memorial Stadium and the answered “Jayhawk!” from the west side. I’m thankful for crimson and blue, for the Hill on a fall day, for red tile roofs and for one of the prettiest campuses anywhere.
I’m thankful for coaches who mold the lives of high school students—coaches like Bob Hurley (St. Anthony’s, New Jersey) and Roger Barta (Smith Center, Kansas), and thus touch these kids’ lives forever. I’m thankful for college coaches who lead their programs with dignity and character—people like Bill Self, Roy Williams, Turner Gill, Mike Anderson and Pat Summitt. I’m thankful for voices like Brad Nessler, Ron Franklin, Clark Kellogg and, yes, even Brent Musberger—voices I hear and which immediately transport me to a memory given the number of college games they have broadcast. And, of course, I’m thankful for Bob Davis, the voice of the Jayhawks whose calls of big plays in Kansas history would make a classic “greatest hits” CD.
I'm thankful for men and women who serve to protect our freedom. And, I'm thankful to those who have gone before them to do the same for past generations.
I’m thankful for those I never tire of watching, playing games I love. And, I'm thankful for the new generation of stars--guys like Dexter, Eric, Jamaal, Brandon and Javier.
I’m thankful for words which turn into sentences which turn into stories. I’m thankful for the written artistry of Joe Posnanski, Rick Reilly and Thomas Boswell and for the literary genius of Dennis Lehane, Pat Conroy, James Ellroy and Larry McMurtry.
I’m thankful for producers, writers and directors who take chances and who strive to develop quality television programming like Mad Men, Glee, and Friday Night Lights. I’m even more thankful to those who watch and help keep these programs on the air.
I’m thankful for my church family—for the staff which makes the place run to the many there that have my utmost respect and to whom I use as role models for my life and the lives of my family.
I’m thankful for those who save animals and place them in loving homes where they become a member of a family.
I'm thankful for the good aspects of technology--for the ability to connect, via Facebook, to those who have long since drifted out of my network of friends since high school or college.
I’m thankful for those who give back, and for those who give to the less fortunate. I’m thankful for Ronald McDonald House and for the Christmas Red Bag program. And, I'm thankful for this time of year when stories of grace are a part of what makes this season special.
I’m thankful for my friends and for the amazement which comes when their call or note comes at a time when I need it most. I’m thankful for sincerity, for a kind word, for random acts of kindness and for friends who allow you to do something for them.
I’m thankful for a mother’s love, a father’s concern, a son’s inquisitiveness and a daughter’s sincerity. I’m thankful for a wife’s partnership, support and gift of giving of herself.
I’m thankful for Bobbi, Erin, Jared and Brett. I’m thankful for my and my family’s health.
I’m thankful for this day when I can say, “I’m thankful.”