Over the course of a year, there are milestones, things that cause you to look back.
For me, the Thanksgiving holiday is one of those markers.
Maybe it's because it's reasonably close to the end of the year, or maybe it's because turkey has a way of making you reflective (not sure that's been proven yet, but hey, we're spending money on everything these days, so I'm sure a team of scientists is getting paid to study the connection).
Nonetheless, I'm thankful for plenty right now, both in a serious, and not-so-serious, way.
n I'm thankful that only once since I started watching the Browns, they have had a game scheduled on Thanksgiving. That was in 1989. They lost to the Lions. Ruined my holiday.
n I'm thankful for coaches who are professionals whether they win or lose. Most of the coaches in our area are easy to talk to and work with.
n I'm thankful for readers who email thoughts on our section, good or bad. Sure, no one likes criticism, but sometimes you need to hear when a reader thinks you could be doing something better. I can appreciate the passion they have for sports, and the fact they care - as we all do here - about the quality of our work. Nothing is worse than apathy.
n I'm thankful I have a gym membership for the Friday after Thanksgiving. No more explanation probably needed.
n I'm thankful for snow plows and salt trucks, and I assume I'll be even more thankful for them as we get closer and closer to winter.
n I'm thankful for Al Stephenson and Bonnie Tiell, whose columns give our section a different perspective.
n I'm thankful that the Indians and Reds - my two favorite baseball teams - each won 90 games in 2013, making for a fun season. Sorry to see Dusty Baker go as Reds manager, but glad he went out with a winning record and as one of the winningest skippers in club history.
* I'm thankful to Jeff Garvin and Shane O'Donnell, the sports information directors at Heidelberg University and Tiffin University, respectively. I've known both for years, and appreciate how they get those extra bits of information that can make a story work.
* I'm thankful for the freedom I've been given at The A-T. Whenever I've had a new idea for a project, whether it be the College Town feature, or my weekly column, the people here always have encouraged me.
* I'm thankful for a great sports staff. The guys razz me all the time over my hatred of most '80s hair bands, my distaste for most of Harrison Ford's work and my propensity to repeat movie lines. But they give me everything they've got and they're passionate about their work.
* I'm thankful that while most of the music I listen to is 40 years old or older, every once in a while a band such as Vampire Weekend comes along to restore my faith in the current scene.
* I'm thankful this is the last year we'll have to hear about LeBron James coming back to the Cavaliers. Look, I'm a huge Cavs fan, but the team is atrocious and LeBron wants championships. I also doubt he misses snow that much.
* I'm thankful Heidelberg running back Cartel Brooks broke the NCAA single-game rushing record, proving (to those who forget) that great things don't only happen in the SEC.
* I'm thankful Twitter allows me to know what everyone is thinking at all times.
* I'm thankful I have more than 300 Twitter followers. Well, more surprised than thankful.
* I'm thankful for the Midland Athletic League. Things change and we can accept that, but the league was perfect for Seneca County, with so many area teams and natural rivalries. It will be missed.
* I'm thankful I got to cover the Clyde-Toledo Central Catholic regional final game last week. With about a week to think about it, still confident in saying it was the best football game I've ever worked.
* I'm thankful for the chance to do something for a living that I really enjoy.
* I'm thankful you read this column.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Zach Baker is the sports editor of The Advertiser-Tribune.
Contact him at:
zbaker@ or follow him on Twitter (at)Zachthewriter