As I’m sure you know, we do something here every Thanksgiving, where I note a few things I am thankful for, typically sports related, as we head into the holiday. This year is no different. So, with my explanation out of the way, I figure I will dive right in to eight things I am thankful for this year.
- Stuffing. As I am sure you are all long-time readers of the column, then I have to figure you knew this was coming. Thus I want to knock it out first thing. Stuffing is not just my favorite Thanksgiving food, it is one of my favorite things to eat, year round. My Mom makes the best. But Stove Top is good in a pinch. I will be in New Mexico for Thanksgiving this year and I am excited to see what they do with their stuffing. Hatch green chiles perhaps? I can’t see how that could be bad.
- Papi’s victory lap. I have written enough about David Ortiz and his final season in this space, so I will leave it at this – I am glad I got to see the big man play for one more season. Just wish it hadn’t ended so early.
- College football. This one might come as a surprise, because I am typically an NFL guy, but my team is just so boring this year that they make me glad I get to watch some exciting football every Saturday.
- Major League Baseball’s Hot Stove. Not a lot has happened yet. Who is excited about Kendrys Morales to Toronto? But it’s coming. I am a baseball nerd and I need baseball 365 days a year. The hot stove keeps me connected to the game I love during the winter months.
- Nostalgia in pro wrestling. Okay, is pro wrestling a sport? Nah, not really. But that does not mean I have not been excited by the return of Bill Goldberg to the WWE ring. Then, last night the Undertaker appeared on Smackdown along with Edge. I will be the first to say that wrestling is not as good as it was when I was a kid, and it is certainly not as good as it was during the ’90s, but that does not mean it can’t be entertaining. Vince McMahon is doing a great job right now of mixing his young talent with the old guys and, possibly, capturing the imagination of another generation, while giving them a little history lesson as well.
- Tuuka Rask. Got to give hockey some love, right? It is winter after all. I am loving the way the Boston Bruins’ goalie is playing. Once again, he is displaying the skills that have made him a Vezina Trophy winner in the past. Hopefully, he can keep it up for the rest of the year.
- The return of college basketball. Okay this is a stretch. I don’t typically pay close attention to basketball until February at the earliest. But I know it makes my Dad happy. And he’s an old guy. So, bring on the hoops!
- Jim Harbaugh. As is typically the case, I saved the best for last and believe me, Harbaugh is the best thing going in sports today. I am not just talking about his ascent to top of the college football mountain. I am also talking about all the crazy stories that have come along with it. Harbaugh loves Spongebob. He has a plan, involving sprinting and multiple costume changes, to get the most candy at Halloween. He even has a name for it – the Halloween Hustle. The man attacks every day with “an enthusiasm unknown to mankind.” He loves steak and whole milk. As you should know, I have loved Harbaugh since I wrote that now legendary essay in 10th grade about him being the greatest player in college football. I proudly wore his Bears’ jersey, his Colts’ jersey and even his Chargers’ jersey. (I am guessing I was one of the only people in southern California to pick one of those up during his brief stay as the Bolts’ quarterback.) He is now and always will be my guy. It does not hurt that he coaches the kind of football I enjoy watching. Brutal, attacking, aggressive football that does not rely on quick, short passes and too many read-option looks. Harbaugh is the reason college football has been so fun for me this year and that is why he has earned the top spot on this list.