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After the family Thanksgiving Day game, it's all about watching football in comfort

Re-living gridiron glory is important, but the recovery period afterward - including watching the day's games at my parents place, is the key to our successful Thanksgiving.

Jared Wickerham

It doesn't get much better than Thanksgiving at my house.

As I write this, I'm loosening up the ol' hamstrings in preparation for the yearly family football game (obviously named the Turkey Bowl). In approximately 2.5 hours, gridiron gods of yesteryear will do battle on the FieldTurf of the local high school, kindling old flames of athletic glory.

I participate too.

The game is much slower than it used to be, and the physical nature of it has gone way out the window. Trash talk has been replaced by calls of "how much time is left?"

The best part is afterward, much as I hate to admit. Warming up with a shower (although today will be the warmest game we've played in years, and it was -10 at kickoff two years ago), downing ibuprofen with Gatorade and taking down a ham sandwich while the Thanksgiving feast is being prepared is more satisfying now than vainly attempting to defend my workout warrior brother up and down the field.

Afterward, though, we're in my parents basement, watching the Detroit Lions (funny how the tradition of defense can be changed, but the Lions playing on Thanksgiving cannot) from a comfortable position, while the post-workout euphoria battles with the pains of age for dominant feeling status in my head.

We're watching the game, but not really. Talking about the Steelers (Pittsburgh Steelers Tickets) will typically take over, as well as the recent league upheaval caused by Roger Goodell.

Eventually, we'll ascend to the higher level of the house, now realizing 2x4s have replaced our back and leg muscles. We'll eat and maybe eventually get back down there to watch the second game.

It's not as much a man cave as it is a theater. We're particularly excited this year because word is the furnace has been replaced, thus raising the temperature from a solid 57 degrees to somewhere perhaps in the mid 60s.

Comfort, togetherness and the TV are the important things, though. We've got that, we've got everything.

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