Food and football: that's what many of us think of when it comes to Thanksgiving Day. What's better than enjoying a big turkey dinner and then cuddling up on the couch for a NFL double-header?
How about being one of the few high school football teams still playing? This elite group will be hitting the practice field before hitting the dinner table on Thanksgiving Day, and they won't mind a bit.
There are many thanks in the Cove, for example, where the Scarlet Dragons are relishing their first District 6-AA championship in almost 2 decades, and getting ready for their historic appearance in the PIAA playoffs.
The Dragons are surely thankful for Shane Metzler, along with is the entire Martinsburg community, as evidenced by the touching response to a column about Shane earlier in the season. Central's enthusiastic manager and graduate of the high school's special education program has given his heart and soul to the football program for years, and is as deserving of the district title as the players and coaches he's paced the sidelines rooting for all these years.
The Nittany Lions may have a hard time being truly thankful for their Rose Bowl berth after having such high hopes for a national championship, but the trip to Pasadena to play in one of the most storied of all bowl games is a well-deserved reward for a very special senior class.
Penn State fans should be thankful that this group, along with the Paterno coaching staff, believed in the program when many Nittany Lion followers were diving off the bandwagon. This group made tens of thousands of fans sing "Don't Stop Believing" at the top of their lungs at Beaver Stadium on Saturday's, the roar restored in Happy Valley. And thankfully Joe Paterno should be back on his feet by New Year's Day.
But for all of the tradition and fun of football at this time of year, we should also be thankful that we enjoy sports-a-plenty with a variety of teams enjoying a cornucopia of championships.
This fall, Penn State has won three Big Ten women's titles. The soccer team took home its 11th straight conference crown. The #1 ranked women's volleyball team boasts the longest winning streak in the country, along the way earning a sixth consecutive Big Ten title. And the field hockey team took home the league championship for the first time since 2005.
Thankfully, it's time to start moving indoors for sports that don't require fans to wear under-armor and electric socks to cheer on their favorite teams.
But more than anything else in the world of sport, we should be thankful for all that athletics teaches us about ourselves, about each other, and about life. Those experiences are more fulfilling than turkey with all the trimmings. Happy Thanksgiving.
Goodman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Her column appears on Tuesdays.