I'm not sure if I do too many personal narratives or not enough. I definitely use too many cliches. Come holiday time, though, I'm fine with doing both.
Being thankful, in my mind, is humility. It's something lacking in probably every writer you'll ever find. Recognition for what you've been given requires one to look at skills and gifts as things not inherently given.
A long time ago in a podunk town (thankfully) far away, I covered a basketball tournament Wednesday evening, filed my stories, slapped them on a page, edited and hit the send button on the XML converter to magically send the section to the printer. I got a few hours' sleep, then packed up my POS car and headed back home for Thanksgiving.
Always a good time. Nothing was worse than having to roll my overloaded stomach back into the car to haul back to Podunkville and hit the desk up again.
Write, edit, send. Wash, rinse, repeat.
It was worse than it sounds, too.
I burned out after a while, and I have only written a spattering of articles for newspapers since then. I don't see many more of those ever being published. Odds are very long I'll ever work Thanksgiving Night again.
And therein lies what I'm most thankful for. I woke up without an alarm at or around 4:30 a.m., excited for the Steelers at Ravens game, excited for my family football game (it may kill me, but that's ok), excited for the time spent with that family and all that comes with it.
I'll be back home at a reasonable time and I'll be writing on BTSC.
In essence, I have to work Thanksgiving Night, but I don't see it as work. I see this as what will be an extremely busy day, and I am trying to not think about the feeling of complete exhaustion I'll likely have by halftime.
It just isn't work.
One cannot work hard without passion. I'm thankful for the passion I inherently have (both the good side and the bad side of that), but ultimately, I'm thankful for the chance to vent that passion. Words can't describe how much it sucks to cover high school basketball for a small circulation daily newspaper on a holiday. There's no work involved to bang out stories involving the Steelers vs. Ravens rivalry, win or lose.
I'm thankful for the ability to do that, for the audience that reads it and the platform through which these things are joined.
I'm thankful for those who email me, telling me how much they enjoy reading the site. I'm thankful for those who get fired up enough about my words they take time out of their obviously busy lives to inform me how terrible I am via email and social media.
I'm thankful to root for a team that starts 0-4. I'm thankful for a team that claws its way back to 5-6 and playoff viability.
I'll be thankful for all of this, win or lose tonight.
More than anything else, I'm thankful for the fact I get to watch this game with my daughter - even if I had to wait nine agonizing months for her to witness her first Steelers victory, she followed it up the following week with her first win over the Ravens. She'll go for 2-0, even though she will likely be asleep. For an hour or so anyway.
It's been a turbulent year for me. There's still an entire month of it left. Some bad things have happened, some good things have happened. There are life-altering decisions ahead, but, to paraphrase Coach Tomlin, when the rubber meets the road, I know I still have that platform. I still have a team that's forever interesting.
And I still have a family.
Happy Thanksgiving to all in BTSC and Steeler Nation. Here's to kicking the Ravens' collective asses tonight.
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