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Chris Gay: Simple words for a peaceful Thanksgiving and beyond

Posted: November 22, 2017 - 1:35am

Happy (almost) Thanksgiving, everyone!

Here's hoping you fill yourselves with turkey, dressing, macaroni and cheese, pecan pie and whatever other goodies you want. And if you're worried about calories, the weather should be nice enough this week for you to walk or run a few extra miles.

I read recently where one-third of Americans said they're planning to avoid discussing politics during Thanksgiving. That reminds me of a saying one of my children wrote on the whiteboard in my office a few months ago - it's something they've heard me say once or twice before.

Don't be a turd.

Those four words cover a lot of territory. It's a simple - yet direct - philosophy. Simply put, if you don't act like a turd during Thanksgiving and beyond, you're going to live a good, peaceful life.

I thought about that saying Friday night as I covered the Coffee-Evans football game. In the press box - one that's too small for Evans to ever hold a Class AAAAAA semifinal game (that's another issue) - the Coffee radio crew got there early to set up. The guys did their pregame show and then called the game.

As the contest started, Evans drove down the field for an opening touchdown. Then, Coffee responded with a quick touchdown of its own. Beating the fourth-ranked Trojans was going to be a tall task for the Knights. Evans would need everything to go right on offense and get a few turnovers to have a chance at the upset. That didn't happen.

As Coffee scored one of its first touchdowns, the radio crew's color commentator loudly used the word "humiliated" to describe the Coffee running back against one of the Knights' defenders. Some of the Evans folks in the press box didn't take too kindly to that. This guy continued on throughout the evening, having his moments here and there. I should've brought my whiteboard to the game.

Don't be a turd.

This guy came across like an annoying, unwanted houseguest to a holiday dinner, a la Cousin Eddie from National Lampoon's Vacation and Christmas Vacation. The Evans folks, to their credit, didn't act like a turd to this guy. He may be a wonderful person, but his on-air persona said otherwise. Everyone else from Coffee was great. The crew's play-by-play guy did a good job. But like the old saying goes, there's one in every crowd.

So when you're enjoying Thanksgiving somewhere, remember to be kind. Remember to be cordial. And most of all, remember this:

Don't be a turd.

 

MAKING SPORTS GREAT AGAIN: So with all that, let's talk politics for a bit. In case you missed it, President Donald Trump honored 18 NCAA Division I national champions Friday at the White House. The North Carolina men's basketball team and South Carolina women's basketball team somehow couldn't find the time. If President Obama were still leading the United States, you can rest assured those two schools would've been in Washington, D.C., faster than you can say "academic fraud."

I was privileged to cover the Augusta State men's golf team when it, along with several other NCAA Division I spring sports champions, was honored in September 2010 at the White House by President Obama. I'm sure there were some on the golf team who weren't supporters of the president, but they knew it was an honor to be celebrated. I certainly recognized the greatness of the Jaguars having their moment on the South Lawn - the political party of the president not mattering a bit.

When Augusta State won its second consecutive NCAA title in 2011, I wondered if there would be a return trip. No. I was told Obama stopped honoring spring sports champions at the White House. Meanwhile, he continued to recognize NCAA champions of the major sports (football, men's and women's basketball), along with U.S. pro sports winners, including MLS soccer and the WNBA. In 2014, Obama did honor the 2013 NCAA champion Alabama golf team and several other sports teams from the 2012-13 season. Afterward, the LSU (2015) and Oregon (2016) men's golf teams didn't get an invite.

So President Trump resurrected College National Champions Day at the White House. On Friday, he took pictures with teams from different sports, ranging from the Texas A&M women's equestrian team to the Maryland men's and women's lacrosse teams to the McKendree women's bowling team to the Oklahoma men's golf team.

It's a nice gesture for the president to honor the champions of all sports and not just the spoiled, chosen few.

 

FIX THE SIGN: If you travel along Interstate 20 into Augusta-Richmond County, you will see a sign recognizing the Augusta State men's golf team as "2010-11" Division I national champions. The hyphen makes it look like the Jaguars won one national title, instead of two. Someone needs to fix this sign and replace the hyphen with a comma. See it for yourself and tell me what you think, but I'm not wrong.

 

THANKFUL: One of the things I'm thankful for this year (aside from my wonderful family and all of you reading this column) is my Nissan Rogue. I've never really used heated seats (another thing I'm thankful for) until this year. I'm also thankful for three healthy sixth-graders I take to school almost every morning.

It's about a 32-minute drive every morning from our west Augusta home to the charter school in middle-of-nowhere Hephzibah. We know if we're running on time when we get in the car and turn on the "John Boy and Billy Big Show." If we hear the John Boy Jeopardy question about 7:20 a.m., we know we're going to make it to school with no worries.

Last week, a longtime member of the show, Robert D. Raiford, died from complications following a stroke. He was 89.

I'm thankful for the times I listened to the show's curmudgeon through the years. When I worked for the student newspaper at Augusta State, I interviewed Raiford at a local meet-and-greet at a car dealership in the mid-1990s. He was a nice guy with a booming voice who didn't stand for political correctness. He will certainly be missed. RIP, RDR.

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