Tis the season to be thankful for such things as stretch pants, extra notches in your belts, double-XL shirts.
Hope all the sports fans out there had a wonderful Thanksgiving and survived the Turkey Day festivities, both the pre-dinner stuffing of the turkey and all the hard work preparing the holiday feast, and the stuffing that came after you sat down to enjoy dinner.
This is the time of year when all of us have an opportunity to take stock of the things we are thankful for in our respective lives. I didn't have the chance to spend Thanksgiving with my immediate family, but I did get a brief reunion at the Nebraska-Kansas State football game last Saturday.
My nephew Jeff is a member of the University of Nebraska marching band. Jeff is a trumpet player for the Husker band and the second of three children of my brother, who passed away several years ago. I kept my trip to Lincoln a secret from Jeff, and he didn't even spot me taking his picture during the UNL band's pre-game and halftime performances at Memorial Stadium last weekend.
After the band finished playing one of my favorites, "There Is No Place Like Nebraska," at the conclusion of the halftime show Saturday night, they marched off the Husker side of the field. I snuck up behind my nephew and tapped him on the back. He turned around and shouted, "Who's hitting me in the back?" He stood there with a perplexed look for a few seconds before finally recognizing me.
I caught up with Jeff, his mom and friends in downtown Lincoln late Saturday night after the fantastic 17-3 Nebraska victory. I was reminded of one thing I'm not very thankful for -- having to navigate the congested downtown Lincoln streets by car and by foot following a Husker game.
These past 20 years spent in southwest Wyoming have kept my family visits to the Schuyler, Neb., area few and far between. I have to say that I'm as proud of Jeff in his work with the UNL band as I would be if he would be wearing a Husker football uniform. I'm very thankful that I had the opportunity to get down on the sideline Saturday to snap a few photos.
Speaking of those sidelines, I don't know if I could do the experience justice in a description of the experience of getting that up-close-and-personal view of Husker football. I am very thankful for the perks of my job -- the chance to get that front-row view of sporting events, and to have the chance to describe that view to all you local sports fans.
After watching many high school and college athletic events from the sidelines during my career, I find it very boring to go sit in the stands to watch those events.
Last Saturday's NU-KSU game was a treat in several ways for yours truly. It had been over 20 years since I was on the field at Memorial Stadium for a Husker football game (I had the chance to take photos at a few Nebraska games in my duties at the Columbus Telegram a long time ago). A big thrill for me is standing on the turf, looking up in the stands and viewing that awesome "Sea of Red" that is the norm at every Husker game.
I had forgotten just how loud the Husker faithful can get while they cheer on the Big Red. At times the roar of the crowd Saturday night was deafening. My ears were still ringing Sunday.
'Cherry' assignment ... I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing former McCook standout Josh Cherry following Saturday's game. Cherry is a K-State junior and the starting kicker on the KSU football team. He scored KSU's only points on a first-quarter field goal and missed two other kicks later in the game.
I am a Husker fan, but I'm also a Josh Cherry fan, especially after our interview. Josh is an outstanding young man who battled back from a rough start to have a successful season kicking for K-State. I was pulling for the Huskers to win Saturday, but I would have loved to have seen Cherry make both of the field goals he missed.
Thanks, Josh, for your time, and good luck in the rest of your KSU football career and beyond.
Giving thanks ... I'm sure many of you have counted your blessings and listed the things you are thankful for in the past few days. I'm sure with the current state of the U.S. economy that many folks are finding their money belts tightened a bit, and some may find it tough to see a blessing in their financial and every-day conditions. I know that there are some readers who may be struggling with health or other issues that may put a damper on the spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday.
If anyone out there can put their name on the above mentioned list, I sincerely hope that your respective situations take an upswing in the coming days, weeks and months and that you found something to give thanks for in 2009.