There’s something about combining football and Thanksgiving Day. Sitting down with family to eat, while we all watch (or ignore) the traditional Dallas Cowboys or Detroit Lions games remind me of good times and comfort. Each year doesn’t necessarily create new memories, but perhaps reinforces the feelings of joy and tranquility that come with the holidays. We all know the Lions will probably lose, but it doesn’t matter. We’ll watch the game anyway.
This tradition of playing America’s favorite sport on Turkey Day isn’t limited to the pros though. High Schools throughout the South Coast typically play their rival games on Thanksgiving morning, marking the final game of many high school players. Being a former Dartmouth High football player myself, I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in a few meetings against Fairhaven High School. Most of my memories from Thanksgiving games involve an excess of mud, with this year looking to be no different for the current players and spectators.
However, the appeal of high school football is a bit different than what makes us watch the NFL. While the amazing feats of violence and athleticism from professional players draw us to the television, our connection to our community and family will bring us together at Fairhaven High, Durfee High, New Bedford Voc-Tech, or wherever your alma mater may be playing this Thursday. Even the pre-Thanksgiving bonfire tradition held at Buttonwood Park each year makes for a wonderful time to do something as simple as watching a huge fire with friends and family.
Thanksgiving is all about appreciating what and who you have. If you can’t find this meaning in a local football game, the many volunteer and charity events benefiting your own community members might put this into better perspective. It’s not the turkey that makes Thanksgiving, but family, friends, and neighbors.
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