I have probably written this column before but I don’t have a big stack of my old work here in front of me and since I am thankful for every day of life the older I get, I figured it can never hurt to be thankful just a little bit more in print. For all of us, there are days where we wonder if we have anything to be thankful for but when we lay down our heads at night and reflect, it’s all right there.
First off, I have to again say how thankful I am to work with such a wonderful group of people here in the Defender offices. Whenever you can work in a place that is more often than not filled with smiles and laughs, you better be thankful. Yes, there are just five of us manning the fort here but in my humble opinion, every week we produce the best weekly newspaper to be found in the area. Just like any other business, we have gone through many changes and we have adapted and adjusted just fine and continue to work for you, our loyal readers.
As far as the sports department, or basically me, my work would be impossible without the help of a lot of good people here in Adams County who have made it their mission to always keep me updated and abreast of what is going when I can’t physically be there. (I keep saying it’s time to slow down, but it just never seems to happen.) The athletic directors, coaches, administrators, parents, and fans who supply me with constant information whether by social media, e-mail, or tests are the best support system that I could ever ask for and I am thankful for them every day.
I also need to thank a fantastic bunch of student/athletes that populate the schools in this county. You have much to be proud of with this bunch of kids and it makes me feel good when one of them sees me out in public and says hello or starts a conversation about sports. Even though they aren’t my own kids, I still feel a tinge of sadness when they graduate and I know that I don’t get to cover their adventures any more, but as I tell them whenever they express that same sadness to me, it’s time for the next step in your life.
Without one single doubt, I am most thankful for the family that supports everything I do and deals with the long hours that I spend elsewhere. My wife spent many years as a coach’s wife so now being a reporter’s wife isn’t too much of a change. She is an absolutely beautiful person, inside and out, far above what I likely deserve but I got lucky about 22 years ago and reeled in a special lady. I am eternally grateful to her for allowing me the leeway to travel where I need to be. Of course, as I often say, she may just want me out of the house!
I am thankful for a pair of awesome kids who make me prouder every day that goes by. I now have a daughter officially interning with the Cincinnati Reds and I can’t express my pride on that one. She is a beautiful, independent woman and not our baby girl anymore. I have a 16-year old son who is just the typical teenage boy with all the struggles in life that teenage boys deal with. I guess I should say I am thankful for the Xbox that keeps him home and the friends he has that look after him when he is out on the road. I also think I need to spend more time with him before he is out of the house too. I don’t know if it is the holiday season or what, but I have found myself wishing I could make them both five years old again. Perhaps it was my wife and I shopping at Toys “R” Us last weekend, that probably did it.
I am also quite thankful to have two parents who have loved and supported my brother, sister, and I no matter what, through good times and bad and we have had plenty of both. My love of sports was fostered by them at a very early age and any writing skills that I might accidentally have are a direct inheritance from my Dad as is my love of reading. My Mom is the emotional one of the pair and pray tell, we have given her many moments to be, but the love she shows for my Dad and for our whole family is priceless. Now if he can just just convince her 79-year old husband to not climb on folding chairs while trying to hoist heavy items on to a shelf!
I guess I should say I am thankful for the world of sports. Without it, I wouldn’t be sitting here typing this on a Monday afternoon. Don’t forget what I have always said-don’t take it too seriously because there are far more important things in life. Our lives can’t revolve around how many games UK or the Buckeyes win, but we can certainly enjoy being a fan. We’re not getting paid millions of dollars to play a game for a living.
Most of us are scrambling from paycheck to paycheck, so we use sports as an escape from the pressures of everyday life. It is just that-an escape. Of course, if I had have thought of it many years ago, I would have just grown a really long beard and started duck hunting and then I really couldn’t be here typing anyway, but I will leave that work to Uncle Si (a.k.a. Lonnie Bilyeu with a beard.)
Enjoy the day tomorrow. Be with your family and share the smiles and laughs and of course, escape with a little football. From all of us here at the Defender, Happy Thanksgiving!