DA REGION -- Take in the wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen? Mmm, mmm good.
Turkey. Mashed potatoes, gravy. Lots and lots of gravy. Green bean casserole. Corn bread. Meatballs. And, drum roll please - pumpkin pie with lots of swipes of Cool Whip on top of the heated treat.
It doesn’t get much better than this, does it?
It’s Thanksgiving in the 2-1-9 in 2019, and I say we have a lot to be thankful for. Yes, there are problems and issues that must be addressed, but if we focus on the good first it will inspire us to do the good work with more pep and pizzazz.
Most folks would run from green turkey, but not the good folks in Valparaiso. Bill Marshall’s Vikings have pounded all but one this season. They are 13-0 heading into the Class 5A state championship game against New Palestine, one of Indiana’s best programs in recent history.
Talk about Friday night lights.
Valpo’s defense has four shutouts this fall and has given up 13 points in the last month. That’s nasty, like my Aunt Doreen’s fruitcake. But can they slow down Charlie Spegal, who has 10,707 career yards and 174 career touchdowns. His Dragons are the defending state champs and have played inside Lucas Oil Stadium three times since 2014.
Talk about an uphill climb. As I put a napkin over my neck, I believe the Vikings have a chance and that’s all a team, player or coach ever wants.
Don’t be surprised if this is a game in the fourth quarter.
Three other Region football teams competed in semi-states. Andrean lost to Eastbrook 26-14 in 2A, Hobart lost to East Noble 29-24 (4A) and Merrillville lost to Carmel 38-17 (6A). All were road games, which points out how ping pong balls and gravity have as much to do with winners as talent and skill.
Yes, Valparaiso played its semi-state game at home. It helps.
Hats off to Chris Skinner, Craig Osika and Brad Seiss and their teams for making history, while bringing pulse and breath to their communities. It was a remarkable run, gents. You have nothing to hang your heads about.
Wear your lettermen’s jackets with pride and accept the pats on your back. You more than deserve them.
And as the aromas float throughout the house, the boys basketball season tips off. This could be a special winter for the kids in pricey sneaks. There are so many stories ready to be written inside our gyms.
It’s like a table filled with grub and laughter.
John Boyd takes over at Bishop Noll. Can he write a West Side story now that he’s back in Lake County? Can Andrean make another run to Indy in March? Can 21st Century finally break through and get to the state championship round?
These stories or plates have yet to be served. There is time to delve into these later. And I will.
But for now let us wrap our minds and arms around the things that really matter.
For a child coming home for the holiday, thank You. Remembering those who’ve gone on and all they brought to our lives, thanks. For health and employment and joy and love, thank You. For being grateful for the doors that have closed and the new ones that have opened, thank You.
For hope that comes from You, thanks.
So the next time we get angry at an officials’ call, remember these other things. Or playing time decisions cause stress or other things, recall the things that matter most.
The games and teams and scores are for entertainment. They do give us joy.
But at the end of the day, or the end of a life, remember the laughter around the table, the catching up with a long-lost relative, revisiting memories from those golden days of the past, chatting over future dreams, giggling when the latest YouTube video goes viral, Aunt Doreen’s fruitcake, rushing with cookie crumbs on our sweaters to get a Black Friday deal, and eternal hugs on the way in and out of the door.