Another year to be very thankful for

image_429By Mark Carpenter –

I have written columns of Thanksgiving before and I may be repeating myself, but it is the week of the year set aside to be thankful for all that we have and are blessed with, though that should likely be every week of the year.  I am writing this on a Monday afternoon, trying to beat deadline, so I will first be thankful for surviving that.
On the subject of work, I have to be extremely thankful for the great people that I get to work with every day of the week, even some who aren’t with us anymore I am thankful to have spent the time with.  As I have said before, we laugh a lot, joke a lot, sing a lot, and just have a good time, but every week we continue to give you two high quality newspapers.   It has been quite a challenging year for us in many ways, but we continue to do our absolute best to give you the absolute best.  So it is safe to say that myself and all of us here are thankful for all of you.
Personally, I am thankful that I am still all in one piece after the past year.  Considering the wear and tear I put on myself plus the lovely diet that I consume, it is a wonder that I am still going.  But those who know me best know that I am as competitive as they come and will work as many hours as it takes  to get these papers finished as a quality product, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity and even more thankful for all of you who take the time to tell us that you enjoy our papers every week.
Even though I am pulling double duty these days, my heart and soul will always be with the sports world and often it is the thought that a sporting event in the evening will relieve most of the stress that I may have dealt with in the day at the office.  I can’t begin to express my thanks for all of the coaches, parents, and administrators who welcome me with open arms, and often treat my like royalty, much undeserved, but much appreciated.  (I know Matt Young from NAHS really wears the crown, but maybe he will let me borrow it).
Covering high school sports is a dream job, and I couldn’t pull if off if I didn’t have hundreds of wonderful student/athletes to highlight as often as I can in our Sports pages, so thank you to all of you who pester me constantly about when I am going to post your pictures on Facebook or whether you will be in the paper that week.  Keep asking, it makes me feel necessary and very, very thankful to be able to fill your scrapbooks that you can show your grandchildren many years from now.
Let me go personal again and say how thankful I am to have two parents still around and doing well,  I have many friends who don’t have that privilege, so that makes you value it even more.  No matter what in my decades on this earth, those two people have always been there through thick and thin, and trust me, there has been plenty of both.  We had an early Thanksgiving last weekend with my brother’s side of the family and I came upon an old picture cube that was filled with photos of us at a quite “young” age.  Like most of you, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t long for just one more day at 10 years old without a care in the world, and every day I am thankful that I had that time in my life.
I am thankful every second of the year to have two great kids that are everything to me, though they have finally hit the age where I just don’t see as much of them as I used to.  That is OK, though, because they are both forging their own lives and as much as I want them to be babies again, I want them to be happy and successful adults.  And make enough money to support me someday!  My daughter is rolling along with the Reds, who treat her very well, which I am quite thankful for.  My son is totally enjoying college life and planning a baseball scouting trip to the Dominican next summer and I am more than thankful that he gets to pursue his dream there.  Take some time over this week’s holiday to be extra thankful for your kids, they are true blessings and they will all come home from school starved and eat you out of house and home for a weekend.
Lastly, I could not survive in this job without a wife who supports everything I do.  We basically never see each other since she took on a second job.  (She is a teacher, hence the need for second job as many of you can relate to.)  She has to deal with my crazy hours and never complains, though I suspect that she enjoys the peace and quiet of being home alone and not having to listen to me.  Whatever the case, any coach, athletic director, or sports writer will tell you that it takes someone very understanding to deal with all the long hours.  I am thankful to have someone who does that, and who likes to eat out quite often which of course fits my lifestyle perfectly.
We all have our own set of “things to be thankful for” and tomorrow we will gather around a feast and stuff our faces and watch football, and give thanks for all that is good in our lives.  Enjoy those moments and remember that somewhere there are people less fortunate who wish they could trade you spots.  From all of us here at The Defender, we wish you the happiest of Thanksgiving holidays and remind you that there are just 31 shopping days until Christmas.