Well folks, here we are on Thanksgiving day with kiddos running around Nana and Papa’s house after our second helping of stuffing and cranberry sauce. It’s a joyous sound and one we look forward to every year. This year, however, is a little different for us because we are not all here. My husband and oldest son are still a few hours away and can’t make dinner because they had practice this morning and practice in the morning. While I am sad to not have all my family here for Thanksgiving Day, we are also celebrating the fact that we are still playing football.
This is week three of playoffs and at this momnet there are sixteen teams left in our division headed toward the state championship. By Monday, it will be eight teams and I hope we will be part of it. This season has been quite different from others and it would not surprise me at all if we cruised right into the final week. I cannot tell you what this experience is like or describe for you the excitement in our community. It’s truly something magical.
I have a new friend this year and it is her first year as a coaching wife. On our way to the game last week, she asked me how I do it all with kids and stuff. I told her that every season is different and that she will spend her entire career getting back to this one. It made me think of what it might be like to never have had a season where we never won a game. I began to contemplate how we came to be at this point in the season and what factors helped make it happen the most. I began to understand how this playoff run was created before the season ever started, before the coaches were ever hired and before these players were ever in the jersey.
There are times in my life when I feel as though a situation is destined to be great and this is one of those times. As I watch these players come together every week, I see more heart than talent, more desire than ability, and a keen love for the game that they play. I think most playoff runs start there; with the heart of the players. I have seen teams beat themselves with their own talent in moments of selfishness. This is the case, I’m sure, with at least one of the other teams who are no longer in the playoffs. I also have seen teams without “all the talent” make long playoff runs, even win the championship. There is a singular thing that always seems to be a driving force in their success: community support.
I know that I have written previously about the privilege of football coaches and families in Texas. I know that many times I approach my life in a cynical manner and critique it through a theoretical lens that may not always apply. I also know that I would not change my life for any other option out there. Well, okay if I could be Beyonce, I might consider it. Anyway, I have never been happier to be in the community that I live in now. Today, I am thankful for the team that has become my family, the administration that supports their dream and the citizens of my little town who raise wonderful young men. These things are something to truly value when I look at communites that are in the grips of division like Ferguson. Today I am grateful for this silly game that allows us all to feel accepted, safe, and accomplished. Today I am proud to be a Cougar. Today I feel blessed by my life. And today is a great day to feel that way. Happy Thanksgiving ya’ll. Eat turkey, watch football, be thankful.
Moorea Coker teaches AP Literature and adjuncts at a Junior college in Texas. Follow her on Twitter @polypel88 or reach her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org