Thankful for Sports Blessings

From Grizzlies to Tigers to Redbirds to Cardinals ... and more.

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It’s a week for gratitude, so please start with your family, your friends, and your pets. They’re all thankful for you. But I’ll add a few sports-related items to my Thanksgiving spread, something to chew on between football games.

• I’m thankful for nine days in November: five Grizzly wins, two Tiger basketball wins, and, yes, two Tiger football wins. Bounty!

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• I’m thankful for the relentlessly positive Josh Pastner. Some enjoy poking fun. But he’s teaching lessons beyond the basketball court.

• I’m thankful for the relentlessly dour Lionel Hollins. Somehow, he balances the city’s basketball emotional scale. And shows different approaches can win. (By the way, imagine if Pastner and Hollins switched seats. Would ruin two teams.)

• I’m thankful for Miguel Cabrera’s Triple Crown. Never thought I’d see one.

• I’m thankful for Mike Matheny. Dignity. Strength. Composure. Backbone.

• I’m thankful for fall Sundays at the Mike Rose Soccer Complex.

• I’m thankful for bike lanes. In Memphis, Tennessee!

• I’m thankful for Elliot Perry and Penny Hardaway being part of the new Grizzlies ownership group. With Larry Finch gone, these two are the faces of basketball in Memphis (college or pro).

• I’m thankful for Keith Lee at Memphis Madness.

• I’m thankful for the field-turf at Crump Stadium and Melrose High School. (And for the stadiums hosting middle-school soccer.)

• I’m thankful for Martha Woods at the FedExForum media entrance.

• I’m thankful for fourth-and-short with Justin Fuente on the sideline.

• I’m thankful for the leftfield bluff at AutoZone Park. Always.

• I’m thankful for the Pujols Seat at AutoZone Park. Still.

• I’m thankful for the Green Line. Might as well call it the Life Line.

• I’m already thankful for the 2014 NCAA South Regional at FedExForum. If there are basketball gods, John Calipari and Kentucky will play here.

• I’m thankful for the Grizzlies’ Familiar Four: Rudy, Zach, Marc, and Mike. Now playing their fourth season together. First group of teammates that will be defined by their play in Memphis.

• I’m thankful I’m not addicted to hockey.

• I’m thankful I am addicted to baseball.

• I’m thankful for Pete Kozma and unlikely heroes.

• I’m thankful for all my pals at Sports 56: Dave Woloshin, Matt Stark, Greg Gaston, Eli Savoie, and Brett Norsworthy.

• I’m thankful for clarity — however ugly it may be — in Lance Armstrong’s legacy. Wrestle with the measure of his impact on the fight against cancer (I do), but he was a cheater. And a serial liar.

• I’m thankful for the Big East. Few things really “alter the landscape” of the way we cheer local sports. Memphis being part of this league does just that.

• I’m thankful for Johnny Football. That great Aggie coach in the sky is surely proud.

• I’m already thankful for Oscar Taveras at AutoZone Park. Be patient, baseball fans. Just a little over fourth months.

• I’m thankful for Skip Schumaker. He may have played his last game as a St. Louis Cardinal. Considering his lengthy time in both Memphis (269 games) and St. Louis (810), Schumaker personifies the baseball connection between two river cities.

• I’m thankful for Sunday Night Football. Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth are the best broadcast tandem in the business. And this game is an instant cure for end-of-weekend blues.

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