Sports gives us things to be thankful for

Some general observations while still looking for ways to use turkey-day leftovers:

n In this region, Thanksgiving and deer season go hand-in-hand, as the holiday kicks off a weekend of sighting in guns, pulling hunting clothes out of the closet, and packing up for long days in the woods and maybe some nights at camp.

The tradition is one passed down for generations, whether the hunts end in a trophy buck or a cache of often-told stories of the ones that got away. At the end of the day, like Thanksgiving itself, deer season is really more about friends and family than anything else.

n Despite all of the protests by and of the NFL this year, it is hard to imagine spending the Thanksgiving holiday without watching some football. In our house, the games were on all day, and discussion of the Steelers’ championship possibilities were as much as part of the meal as the mashed potatoes.

n And for all of the negativity surrounding the pro sport this year, it is worth noting that many NFL players are still good citizens, and give back in their communities in ways that we may not even know.

n So while we watched the games, as is the tradition on the holiday, the most enjoyable football took place in the backyard with family, no pros in sight.

n Antonio Brown continues to impress and amaze with his almost unbelievable catches this season, whether it’s holding a ball against his helmet or making a fingertip and toe-tip catch to set up the game-winning field goal, as was the case Sunday night.

Afterwards, he credited practicing the fundamentals: good advice for young athletes in any sport. Still, Brown’s body and special awareness is uncanny, a result of practice for sure, but also pure natural ability. Just when you think there’s nothing else he could do, he takes it to the next level.

n Amazing is just one of the superlatives that’s been used to describe the Bishop Guilfoyle football team over the last several seasons. The Marauders have set a standard, not just in our region, but for the nation in terms of athletic excellence as well as sportsmanship.

Teams that have achieved this kind of success do it as a family — playing for one another, not just with one another.

That’s probably what makes a heartbreaking loss even more painful: knowing there is no next game together. But what you share is a legacy that cannot be lost or forgotten; and that’s something that you will always have as a team, a program and a family.

The experiences of the last 60 games will serve you well in years to come in situations that go far beyond the football field. Our region should be thankful for the opportunity to have witnessed your streak. Congratulations for all of you’ve done and for all you are.

Kellie Goodman Shaffer can be reached at Her column appears on Tuesdays.