After disembarking from the Mayflower, frolicking about their new spread, and hobnobbing with the Native Americans, the pilgrims partook in a jolly game of one-hand touch football with their new friends, the Wampanoags. They pegged it the Plymouth Rock FedEx Bowl. With the dynamite duo of Massasoit and Squanto in the backfield (they combined for over 400 yards rushing), the Wampanoags won handedly 54-0.

When it was over, Pilgrims quarterback William Bradford told Chief Wampanoag “good game.” To which Chief Wampanoag replied, “Thanks. Now, let’s get some chow.”

So it began. They all gathered ’round the camp fire and said what they were thankful for. In that great tradition of Thanksgiving, here is what I’m thankful for this year:

? I’m thankful for gas grills, barcaloungers, coolers on wheels, high-definition television, and Fritos. I’m also thankful for meat, the recline position, ice, and the remote control. Yes, I’m thankful for being productively lazy. 

? I’m thankful for Barry Bonds. He’s a terrific baseball player. He’s surly, egotistical, and always under a cloud of suspicion for using performance enhancing drugs. At least he doesn’t skip out on his teammates during games, like somebody named Sammy Sosa.

? I’m thankful for the field goal. Not only does it help cover the spread, it makes even the lousiest football games exciting.

? I’m thankful that OPRF basketball coach Al Allen’s cancer is in remission. He now has 356 career wins, and one tremendous triumph in life.   

? I’m thankful for bacon dip, bacon yum-yums, bacon cheeseburgers, bacon strips, bacon bits, and bacon chunks. I’m also thankful there’s no history of heart disease in my family … yet. 

? I’m thankful that I have a wife who understands why it’s important to only run the vacuum cleaner during halftime.

? I’m thankful for the brave men and women who put their lives on the line in Iraq and elsewhere for our great country. I’m also grateful for their sacrifices. Every time I see Terrell Owens grandstanding or David Terrell whining, it reminds me who the true heroes are in this nation. 

? I’m thankful for goal-line stands, standup triples, suicide squeezes. I’m also thankful for the hail-Mary, the walk-off homer, and the buzzer-beater. Without you all, sports would be as popular as Sweetest Day.   

? I’m thankful for Sports Illustrated’s controversial Swimsuit Edition. It’s amazing athletic ability at its best. I hear it’s not easy getting into those bikinis.   

? I’m thankful for high school and college basketball. The NBA is too dangerous.  

? I’m thankful that the Cubs want to expand Wrigley Field without destroying the historic landmark. I also hope there are plans to renovate the restrooms. Troughs are so out.    

? I’m thankful that the free-loaner cars, the bogus summer jobs, the unethical tutors, and the cash payments are again being exposed in college athletics. Now, if anything is actually done about it, that will be a different story.

? I’m thankful for reason, compromise, and the fact that a Winnie the Pooh DVD can occupy my kids for up to 20 minutes at a time!

? I’m thankful for the mute button. Terry Bradshaw’s enthusiasm is frightening.

? I’m thankful for golf. It makes me insane, but it gets me out of the barcalounger. 

? I’m most thankful (and a little surprised) that you took the time to read what I’m thankful for.

Thank-you. Now go put some bacon on that turkey sandwich. And don’t you have a football game to round up?

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Brad Spencer

Brad Spencer has been covering sports in and around Oak Park for more than a decade, which means the young athletes he once covered in high school are now out of college and at home living with their parents...