It’s Thanksgiving week, and we have a lot to be thankful for here at The List HQ.
Think about it. How many people get to build their work around talking about high school sports? And get paid for it? Yes, we’re pretty darn fortunate down here. Far more than we deserve. We’ve done some bad things. But let’s not talk about all that right now.
As usual at this time of year, we want to talk high school football. And since our families just give us rude looks when we try to spend the entire Thanksgiving dinner speculating about who the next AAAAA champion’s going to be, we’ll just talk about it with you.
So, with Thanksgiving coming up Thursday, here’s what we’re most thankful for this year.
10. Unseasonably warm nights
These past two years have really made us thankful to be in the South. We barely even had to break out the coat and Hot Hands last year, the weather was so mild. This season, there really hasn’t been a cold night yet, and this Friday looks gorgeous as well. When you have to sit there writing and typing all night, believe me, it helps.
9. Well-organized parking lots
As anyone who’s attended high school football games can tell you, some schools have the parking thing down pat, while others resemble the Connector at 5 on a Friday after the game. And when we do want to get out of there shortly after the final buzzer, it’s nice to be able to escape the parking lot in less time than it takes us to drive to Macon.
8. Role players
Every team needs them. We all pay attention to the star players who are going to be playing on Saturdays next year, but there isn’t a team out there that plays 22 of them. Everybody’s got to have the guys who very few fans ever hear of, the guys we never talk to after the games.
7. Records being broken
OK, we didn’t get the big rushing record from Cedartown’s Nick Chubb this year, like we were hoping (he came up 475 yards short). But even the chase is so much fun to watch, especially when guys like Chubb are gobbling up 300-yard games like we’ll be scarfing down turkey this week. And he’s only a junior. We’ll be even more thankful if he can knock out the record on his second try.
6. Players/coaches who give good quotes
Did you watch that Les Miles press conference from this past weekend? Yeah, you’re going to want to do that. We’ll wait for you to Google it … OK, back? Good. See, that’s what we mean about good quotes. I think we all love when coaches and players go off the usual script and give us something interesting, perhaps a little glimpse into their real personality. Miles does it regularly.
5. Star quarterbacks
While role players have a soft spot in our hearts, everybody wants to have a star quarterback to run the show. They get all the girls, they have the ball on almost every play, they get to talk to wonderful folks like us after the games. Bottom line: You’re not going to win without a quarterback to execute your offense. And we love watching them do their thing.
4. Full stadiums
We’re getting near the time of year when we’ll see more of this than usual. How great is it when a big high school stadium is packed and standing room only on a chilly Friday night? It’s loud and crowded, and it feels like an event. Everyone’s excited to be there, and there’s no place you’d rather be.
Especially this time of year, it’s fun to see Cinderella move forward in the brackets. North Paulding, Colquitt County and Brookwood are sort of our favorite teams of the moment for taking out No. 1 seeds last week. Yeah, it’s heartbreaking for the losing team, but there’s just something so compelling about it for the rest of us.
2. Playoff brackets
And yes, the brackets themselves are just incredible. We always give thanks that we have these brackets in front of us to pore over and become our obsession for awhile. There are few things we look forward to more each year … with the possible exception of our moms’ cooking Thursday night.
1. Passionate fans
That’s right, none of this happens without you – the fans. You show up to the games. You cheer on the players. And, well, let’s be honest. Without you, there’s really no reason for us to even be writing this, since there’s no one to read it. So who’s awesome? You’re awesome. You’re looking good too. Have you lost weight? Yeah, we can tell. Keep on being awesome.
After that buttering up, we want to know what you’re thankful for. What do you appreciate the most about high school football? What couldn’t you live without? What are you eating Thursday night? Let us know in the comments here or on Twitter at @ajcprepsports.