The world is full of things that make us thankful

by Gary Shelton on November 22, 2018 · 6 comments

in College Sports in Florida, general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Tampa Bay Rays

Thursday, 4 a.m.

I am thankful I live in warm weather. You don't have to shovel grass.

I am thankful for bacon. I intend on giving its discoverer a high-five in the afterlife.

I am thankful for a nice mist of rain on a hot day. I am thankful for Bruce Springsteen, especially when he signs Thunder Road. I am thankful for Game of Thrones, especially Daenerys Targaryen.

I am thankful for Blake Snell's progress. I wish I could say the same for Jameis Winston.

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I am thankful for ice slivers in my drink when it is pushed to the back of the refrigerator. I am thankful for Jeff Vinik, even if the Lightning don't win the Cup. I am glad gas prices are going down.

I am thankful for Ryan Fitzpatrick when Jameis Winston is throwing interceptions. I am thankful for Winston when it's Fitzpatrick's turn. I would be eternally grateful if there was another option.

I am thankful for Steven Stamkos, whose game may have slipped but who remains a class act. I am thankful for Indian Food, especially the butter chicken. I am thankful my children still speak to me, although the youngest one is still considering.

I am thankful for Warrick Dunn, the most charitable running back ever. I am thankful for Stephen King, and I may go read The Stand again right now. I am thankful for Fred McGriff, even if the Hall of Fame is not.

I am thankful for the line by Paul Simon that says "Why am I soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard." I am thankful for a career with a press pass around my neck. I am thankful for 10 Olympics, which comes to about 30 weeks of my life. I once wrote down the weeks I had lost to various Super Bowls, Final Fours, bowl games and baseball playoffs. I call it "the lost year."

I am thankful for the beach, even though I don't go there enough. I am thankful for The Good Place, a great comedy.I am thankful for the memories of my dear Aunt Peg, who always swore that ice cream had no calories.

I am thankful for going for it on fourth down. I am thankful for the hit and run. I am thankful for the power play, which is art when it is done right. When I hear the music of Three Doors Down, I'm thankful I live four doors down.

I am thankful for Field of Dreams, although I know what that says about me. I am thankful that I never have to hear the theme from Chariots of Fire again. I am thankful for Scarlett Johansson, and I don't think any explanation is necessary.

I am thankful that, for all of its flaws, college football has a playoff system. I am thankful that all those computer guys can now go back to playing Fortnight. I am thankful I'm not a receiver playing against the Bucs, because who wants to run nine miles with the ball? I am thankful for warm chocolate chip cookies and cold milk.

I am thankful for Tarzan and Zorro and all the heroes of my youth, and thankful I discovered that Johnny Unitas and Lawrence Taylor and Mickey Mantle were cooler than all of them. I am thankful when the other driver isn't texting. I know it had a lousy ending, but I am still thankful for Lost.

I am thankful for the way grass feels between your toes. I am thankful for the wind in my hair, and thankful I still have hair (even though it's gray). I am thankful for Centre Court at Wimbledon.

I am thankful when jokes are actually funny. I am thankful for the one that asks why Nebraska has an "N" on its helmet, and how you get a Clemson graduate off of your porch, and why they don't have a nativity scene at Alabama. I am thankful for  the one where Trump grabs the kid's backpack instead of a parachute. I am thankful for the one where Little Johnny uses three-syllable words.

I am thankful for K-pods. When a receiver is running 10 yards open, and the quarterback overthrows him, I'm thankful everyone congratulates the  burned corner on his way back to the huddle, because that's the silliest play in sports. I'm thankful for pie at Thanksgiving, although I should refrain.

I am thankful for Bogos. I am thankful for  microwave popcorn. I am thankful for dogs, and less so for cats, although it costs me a fortune to feed them. I am thankful for Lee Corso and Dick Vitale, although I fear being between them when they are talking, which is always.

I am thankful for a reclining chair. I am thankful I got to see Brooks and Sapp. I am thankful for all the extra time Joe Maddon gave me. I was thankful to walk out of the stadium with Bobby Bowden on his last day as a coach. I was thankful for Shula, even the times he yelled at me as if I had soiled his yard.

I am thankful for Romano, the best trail partner a cowboy ever rode with. I am thankful for Marty St. Louis, although there were a couple of years he was off of this list. (I'm sure I'm still off of his). I am thankful for air conditioning, and I wonder how I survived a youth without it. I am thankful that John met Paul.

I am thankful for bases-loaded triples, which are much more fun than home runs. I am thankful for double-reverses. I am thankful for instant replay, because the refs make a lot of mistakes. I am thankful for shootouts.

I am thankful I don't live in England, a nation I love, because of the ice cube situation. I am thankful that soon, Jared Goff will be calling out Halle Berry's name. That'll make two of us. I'm thankful I got to see Joe Montana and Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky and Jerry Rice and Dan Marino  and Bo Jackson and Tom Brady and Peyton Manning and Carl Lewis and Serena Williams and a hundred others.

I'm thankful for my side of the argument whether Keith McCants was a bust or not. (Sorry, Keith.) I'm thankful for the funny parts of Warren Sapp, not the spit-at-your-feet parts. I'm thankful for Brussels sprouts.

I'm thankful that I knew that the movie I, Tonya was fiction, because I was there. If Tonya is a victim, then Buffy the Vampire Slayer was a documentary. I'm thankful I interviewed Nelson Mandela, Paul Newman and Burt Reynolds.

I'm thankful I've walked in the snow at Lambeau Field, and I've been inside the Green Monster (there is a scoreboard there you can go into), and I've walked among the statues at Yankee Stadium. I'm glad I had a spare shirt with me when Dan Johnson poured cold champagne over my head in Rays' locker room celebration.

I'm thankful I still have a seat in the press box. I'm thankful that after 28 years, I haven't run my wife off (stealing her bicycle was a good move, right?) I'm glad for the influence Brooks had on Sapp.

I'm thankful for the weekend in Canton when Wade Boggs was inducted. I'm thankful I had an encounter with George Carlin once, and he was as funny over lunch as he was in his stand-up.

I'm thankful that Lane Kiffin, of all people, gave me the best afternoon of interviewing I've ever had when he was at Tennessee. I'm thankful for the Cleveland Browns, because someone has to be worse than the Bucs.

I'm thankful for Game 163, when Evan Longoria sent us all home. I'm thankful for seeing Doug Williams win his Super Bowl, and Trent Dilfer his. Dadgummit, I'm thankful for Bobby Bowden.

I'm thankful for Fudge sickles. I'm thankful for stuffed olives. I'm thankful for really, really good bread. Being Irish, I'm thankful for potatoes.

I'm thankful for the days when my kids would reach up and hold my hand. I'm thankful when the grass doesn't need to be mowed. I'm thankful for a career, although I don't want to think about the won-loss record in the Tampa Bay games I've covered.

I'm thankful for you.

I'm thankful for today.

I'm thankful for seconds.

 

 

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Kinning November 25, 2018 at 4:34 pm

I echo what the others have said, even with grey hair I am thankful you created this site. You could have done something different but this is a place that we can still read and respond to the best sports writer of a generation.

Reply

Gary Shelton November 25, 2018 at 4:55 pm

Thanks, Rich. I’m having the most fun I’ve ever had, because I’m closer to the readers. Thanks for your comments, man. Love having you here.

Reply

Larry Beller November 22, 2018 at 11:46 am

And I am thankful I can still read (and interact) with Gary Shelton. The best darn columnist in Tampa Bay!

Reply

Gary Shelton November 22, 2018 at 12:49 pm

Thanks, Larry. You guys make it fun.

Reply

BILL MYERS November 22, 2018 at 9:19 am

Gary I am thankful for your web site! It has become a part of my coffee time in the morning. And I am thankful that I live in a country that I have lots to be thankful for.
Keep up the great work and I hope you and your family have a fine Thanksgiving.

Reply

Gary Shelton November 22, 2018 at 10:19 am

You, too, man. We have fun.

Reply

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