Reflecting on the top things I’m thankful for

By Allyson Kloster

Thanksgiving is approaching. In the world of most college sports fans, it’s time for a break.

Instead of trying to figure out how the BCS will pan out, I invite you all to reflect on what you are thankful for in the world of sports.

Here are the top 10 things I’m thankful for:

10. Green Bay Packers and their fans

I used to think “Packers” was synonymous with “Brett Favre,” and that Green Bay fans only cared about their Wrangler-loving star. I was wrong.

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Yes, I am a Bears fan. But I can’t help respecting the Cheeseheads ever since Favre jetted to New York and Aaron Rodgers seamlessly slipped into Favre’s hallowed shoes.

Rodgers has been helping fans get over their breakup with Favre; in turn, the fans have opened their arms to him without comparing everything he does to their former quarterback.

9. Illini men’s basketball

Sure, last season was flatter than the arc of Shaun Pruitt’s free-throw shot. But at the Big Ten Tournament, the Illini proved they still had it in them.

When everyone thought the boys would come home right away, they battled their way into the championship game.

8. Illini women’s basketball

Underestimated, they too nabbed second place in the Big Ten Tournament last year.

I’m grateful I could see it live, because it was one of the most exciting sporting events I’ve experienced.

7. The Olympics

What American isn’t thankful for the Olympics?

I’m thankful not only because of the outrageous amount of medals we won, but also because of the honorable way in which we we won them. Instead of letting anti-American sentiments get us down, we kept our heads up and tallied up medals.

6. Unexpected surprises, like Kyle Orton

Although the Chicago Bears are a long way from perfect, putting Orton in as starting quarterback has eased the tension in Beardom.

At the very least, his neck beard has made Sunday afternoons more interesting.

5. Formerly injured players returning to the game

When injury-prone players like Bears’ safety Mike Brown return to the game, the team often feels rebooted.

Before he got injured, Brown was the main reason the Bears’ defense was so ferocious. Hopefully, his return means recapturing some of that intensity.

4. The starts of new seasons

The potential is endless. Perhaps that’s why Cubs fans love saying, “There’s always next year.”

3. Never being No. 1

I’m glad the teams I root for rarely get to the top. If they did, I’d develop unrealistic expectations and a holier-than-thou attitude, much like an Ohio State fan.

Also, not being No. 1 all the time makes it that much sweeter when we get there.

Basically, I’m thankful for the process, not just the end result.

2. Being able to think about bowling

It’s hard to believe that during my first two years at Illinois, the football team won only four times. With the way things were, even thinking about the possibility of going bowling seemed absurd.

This year, no matter where or if we go, I’m thankful we’re even in the conversation.

1. Thanksgiving football

When Thanksgiving rolls around, aside from spending time with your family and eating tons of food, there are two things on the minds of most Americans: the Macy’s Parade and NFL football.

In the morning, every television is tuned in to the parade, and when that’s over, every set is screening NFL football.

Although I could care less about who wins, I can’t imagine spending Thanksgiving with my extended family and not watching part of a game. Watching football is as unifying as Thanksgiving turkey.

For that, I am thankful.

Allyson Kloster is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].