By the time you read this, I will probably have eaten six stuffed eggs and a second glass of apple cider.
Yes, all of you, I’m really excited about Thanksgiving.
I get up early, throw on my best ugly Christmas sweater, stick cinnamon buns in the oven, turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, and start cooking a meal that, for me, focuses on one golden rule: you can never have too many. leftovers.
For some, Thanksgiving is a meal that brings the family together. For my gourmet soul, this is an all-day event.
It’s about making the best homemade turkey sauce and dancing in the kitchen to old and Motown hits. It’s about bands, musicals, and New York City floats, followed by a series of classic Christmas songs like “Meet Me in St. Louis.”
It’s about the Detroit Lions, whether it’s hot or cold, spending a whole day of football on TV in a man’s cave, and I wonder why I chose so many Lions for my fantasy teams.
It’s about starting the puzzle after eating – this year my fiancé Christie gave me a set of 4,000 pieces of the McCallister house from Home Alone – and ending the day with “Christmas Holiday” over the leftover stuffed eggs. the perfect pair of stretchy trousers and testing the limits of this belt.
This year, however, the spectacle takes on added significance. Wyatt, our 6 month old son, is a big reason. One day he will inherit my Clark Griswold feelings, and when that day comes, I will be the proudest father in the world.
Top 10 Thanksgiving Set Side Dishes
2. Boiled eggs
3. Rice and gravy (binding to a plate)
5. Mac and cheese
On that note, a Turkey Day celebration would be nothing without gratitude.
Sitting at the top of the local sports scene, I am grateful to the Choctaw Cinderella football team for extending the football season in my bid for the 3S title. Two wins behind, three left.
I am grateful that Niceville athletics, led by Todd Brigman and Emily Webb, is the most dominant program in the Sunshine State.
I’m grateful for coaches like Meaghan Allen, Adron Robinson, Mercedes Claybrone, Sean Arntz, Toby Mahrez and Megan Darhauer reporting stats and scores without being prompted. And I’m grateful for the hospitality I get at Niceville High football games – Robinson always takes the parking spot and Rachel Morrison feeds me.
I am grateful to coaches like Wes Nelson and Jeff Bradley who have always given me a reason to travel south for the state title (Lakeland and Deland downtowns are two of my favorite destinations). And I’m grateful for the abundance of state weightlifting champions in the area (I see you, Navarre).
I am grateful to the district athletic directors and their endless support for student athletes, and I am grateful to all the underpaid and overworked assistant coaches and team managers who are invisible but essential to the job.
Personally, I am grateful to Christy Holla for having the best partner. You are everything to me and you gave me the biggest gift in Wyatt.
I am grateful to my caring and supportive parents, John and Mary Nell, who live within 4 miles.
I am grateful for my best friend and older brother, Giordano, my man who remains my favorite person at all times.
I am grateful for the health of my three cats (Boo, Jose Altuve and Otis), two dogs (Molly and Chloe) and a rabbit (Bunn).
I am grateful for fellowship with the First Presbyterian Church at FWB, where my dad is the pastor.
I am grateful that I have the best disc golf partner in Del Stone, yes LEGENDARY DEL STONE. We don’t always look good throwing discs, but we certainly laugh. I’m also grateful for the great movie theater/donut hole bro at Dusty Ricketts.
And of course, I’m grateful to be a fan of the world champion Astros, the most dominant franchise in baseball right now.
On this day, I was reminded that I would not trade my family, friends, or this sports community for anything else. Happy Thanksgiving, you all… don’t forget to thank.
Follow sports editor Seth Stringer on Twitter at @SethSnwfdn.