This will be a departure from most posts.  It’s Thanksgiving, and considering a large part of my week involves discussing, reading about and writing about baseball, it’s a nice time to show some gratitude.

So here goes (I’ll try to keep this from being too stream of consciousness but I can’t make any guarantees):

I’m thankful for my family, of course. I was brought up in Western Kansas by parents who gave me space to figure things out for myself, who encouraged my interests, and who helped me out when I screwed up (as all teenagers are prone to do). I have four sisters (three younger, one older) who are all bright, energetic people and who are growing up a lot faster than I ever thought could happen. The five of us watched the Royals against the Yankees in August, and despite three rain delays and a 1 a.m. finish, they stuck it out.

I’m thankful for my friends, who make me laugh, make me feel welcome all the time. Life in a college town is tough, because you make friends and they usually scatter to Texas, Illinois, Colorado, or elsewhere. Despite the distance both in miles and months, when I see them again or talk to them for a moment, it’s like we’d seen each other the day before.

I’m thankful that my dad is the toughest person I know and that I’ll be lucky to get halfway to his level. Two Thanksgivings ago, I was at the kitchen table on the laptop when he came in and started gargling saltwater. He told me he’d had a sore throat for a couple weeks and it hadn’t gotten better. After a few clinic visits in December, it turned out to be a tumor on his tonsil. He started chemotherapy and radiation not long after. Still, by that next summer, he’d beaten cancer and has shown no signs of recurrence in follow up tests. What’s more, he hardly missed any work at all while getting treatment, despite sore bones, joints and skin. The treatment made it painful to swallow, so his diet of nutritional shakes and occasional soft solid foods led to a rapid loss of weight. He pressed on. He still presses on.

I’m thankful that my student loans are paid off.

I’m thankful for Netflix, which allows me to watch incredible amounts of TV shows in large chunks. It’s season 3 of the West Wing right now, if you’re curious.

I’m thankful that the Royals have the best group of minor league talent in the league. I’m glad that one day my patience as a Royals fan will be rewarded. In a way, I’m glad that enough people know I was here for years rooting them on. I liken it to being a Kansas Jayhawks fan. I’ve seen year after year of strong teams go into the NCAA tournament, only to fizzle out or get upset out of nowhere. The heartbreak is terrible for a sports fan. But in 2008, it didn’t matter. It was all worth it. Once you win, once you’re a champion, it doesn’t matter what happened before because victory is sweet. I hope a Royals victory is sweet.

You know what? I’m thankful that I got to watch Jerry Rice, Michael Jordan and Ken Griffey Jr. in their prime. I’m also thankful for Tecmo Super Bowl, NBA Jam and MVP 2005. Fun games.

For that matter, I got to see George Brett hit, Frank White field, and Zack Greinke pitch.

I’m thankful for a great Kansas City market with writers such as Joe Posnanski and Sam Mellinger around. Bob Dutton and Rany Jazyerli are dang good too.

I’m thankful for the opportunity to share my opinions with others and that I can find new ways to see the best game in the world.

Yep, I’m thankful for a lot of things. Hopefully you are too. Enjoy your holiday.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Kansas City Royals KC MLB Royals

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