We come to this Thanksgiving with many folks seriously wondering just what in the world we have to be thankful for. After all, doom and gloom abounds around us. I've never personally experienced what might be called "hard times" but the pessimism meter is at an all time high in my adult lifetime. It is enough to make you feel guilty for trying to actually believe that the world is not really going to hell in a hand basket.
Whether it be the economy, politics, the war, societal issues or somebody you know becoming seriously ill every time you turn around, it does seem like the proverbial 400-lb. gorilla is clubbing us over the head nonstop. What on earth can we use as a catharsis to get us through these trying times?
May I suggest sports?
Whether you are a participant, an observer, or both, sports can always be the antidote for when you just need to get away from reality for a while. You are very familiar with the fact that I love football and can watch just about anybody play. I also enjoy watching basketball and baseball during those seasons though they don't mesmerize me quite like football does.
Many of you like to play golf, hunt, fish, and bowl, play tennis or billiards. That's great. There's nothing like a game of some sorts to take your mind off what in the world might be bugging you. The key is to remember that these things are just that, a game. Don't confuse games with real life. The old saying about "the game of life" is indeed a misnomer.
Sometimes we forget that games are just that, games. Whether your team wins or not does not compare to the man worried about feeding his family. What you shoot on the links can never stack up to the parents worried about their child being shot at on the other side of the world. Your favorite fantasy league player having a blown out knee pales in comparison to an uncle suffering from a life-threatening disease.
My advice to you is rather than watching 60 Minutes, watch Sunday Night Football instead. Drop the Wall Street Journal, and replace it with Field and Stream. Quit worrying about being well informed for a while. When you listen to bad news you often wish you had never heard it to begin with. It tends to stick in your brain and recycle instead of flushing itself down the drain. Make yourself let go of it!
Fretting yourself sick over bad news, most of which you cannot control, can be easily replaced with fretting over why the coach went for it on fourth down and two. When the game is over, it is over. You can then turn the channel to another one or go outside and hit golf balls. When things get better, and they will, you will be pleased that you developed a new hobby back when things weren't so hot.
My only fear is that all of this bad will somehow eventually affect sports. There I go, borrowing trouble. Don't do that either. Just remind yourself that we do have lots to be thankful for, and on that long list is sports.
I promise you, worrying about who will win the Georgia/Georgia Tech game is more fun than worrying about if the stock market is at the bottom of the canyon or on the edge of the cliff. Of course if the wrong team wins that game, some of us may want to jump off a cliff. Be thankful then that we don't have any cliffs around here.
Now, see how easy that was!