With Thanksgiving just a day away I've decided to compile a list of people, teams, events, etc. that I'm thankful for in the world of sports. These, of course, are my personal preferences and your choices may differ.
The last fourteen years: With the Florida State University football team struggling this year, at least I have fourteen consecutive ten-win seasons and top five national finishes to fall back on. OK, I'll admit to some whining.
The drama of the 2001 World Series: Young baseball fans will live a long time before they see another series like this. The comebacks, clutch homers, and pitching all were simply magnificent.
M.J. is back: Whether he's 38 or 58, he is still the best athlete to ever walk the face of the earth. His team may not be great, but by the end of the season I predict we will all agree Michael Jordan still is.
Mike Mularkey: Who is he? Well, he is the Pittsburgh Steelers new offensive coordinator. Thanks to his imaginative play calling and Jerome Bettis' running, my Steelers are 7-2.
All right, no more blabbing about my favorite teams.
College Hoops: I could watch college basketball no matter who's playing. If North Dakota State is facing Azusa Pacific ... just so it's college hoops I can watch. There is not sport more exciting.
Brent Smithers: So, I lied here's one more personal selection. Smithers, the head golf pro at The Club at Jones Creek needed only 15-20 minutes to transform me from the world's worst bunker player (literally!) into a decent one. I'm not going out on tour anytime soon, but now when I hit a ball in the sand I can get it out rather than ruining a good round with a snowman.
Our county coaches: From little league to high school we are blessed with a great group of coaches who give so much of themselves with little or no reward ... except for seeing our young people improve as athletes and grow as human beings. It takes a special person to do what they do.
Saturdays in Athens, Columbia, Tallahassee, or just about anywhere: Sure, you can see the game better at home, but there is absolutely nothing like game-day on college campuses is the South. Best atmosphere - Athens, Ga. Best tailgating food - LSU or Ole Miss. Best fans - South Carolina. Best partying - all of the above.
Athletes who win and lose with class: That's a rarity these days. Nothing sickens me more than when I see a receiver catch a touchdown when their team is losing by 30 and they flex their muscles, jump in the stands, dance and prance, etc. Note to athletes - when you get to the end zone act like you've been there before.
Every sport that decides their champion on the field: That would be every sport except college football. How the morons in charge can't figure out that college football needs a playoff system is hard to believe. Hopefully Miami will lose one of its remaining games, and Nebraska will lose to Oklahoma so we can have a whole bunch of teams with one loss. That would make the BCS Championship game (Rose Bowl) almost pointless.
Now it's time to get mushy.
Actually, in all seriousness I'm very thankful to have a beautiful wife, a healthy family, and to live in the best country on the planet. I am so proud that we are galvanized in this common cause to rid the world of terrorism. It's super to see American flags hanging all over the place. It's just a shame it took such a terrible tragedy for us to show such patriotism.
And I'm thankful for all the brave men and women who have put their lives on hold to travel out of the country to fight for you and me - to preserve our freedom, safety, and way of life.
My Honorable Mention: Britney live in Vegas; Brooke Burke; cheeseburgers; great golf courses and a well struck shot; hot chocolate and high school football; The Soprano's; dinners downtown at Chow (get the filet ... trust me!); last but not least, a full fridge, a couch, two TVs, and a whole bunch of college football.
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