Column: The big game

By Jon Gluskin

Finally, it’s here – a much needed Thanksgiving break.

It’s time for everyone to relax, spend time with family, stuff ourselves with food and play football.

It’s playing football that I’m most excited about. I hope you are too.

Just like turkey and Thanksgiving go hand in hand, so does football and Thanksgiving.

There’s something special about playing football on Turkey Day.

Everyone should have a traditional game they’ve been playing for years, be it with friends, family or neighbors.

If you don’t have one already, start it this year.

Because on Thanksgiving, football brings people together.

I know for myself, it’s a time when no matter if I haven’t talked to a group of friends in a year, come Thursday morning, everything will be like the junior high days playing football after school. Even though we all go to schools across America, we’ll all be in our retention center tossing the pigskin around.

It’s a time to reminisce about the good old days, catch up with each other’s lives and appreciate all the wonderful friends each and every one of us has.

It’s the one time during the week when it’s OK to wake up early. You’ll wake up with excitement and anticipation.

Thanksgiving football makes you feel like a kid again – when life was easier, when we didn’t have eight million things to worry about.

You can go out in your backyard or park and just run around and have a good time.

You can pretend you’re Marvin Harrison streaking downfield to haul in a pass from your good buddy Peyton Manning.

You can pretend you’re Brian Urlacher making a big hit.

Play touch, play flag, play tackle – it doesn’t matter. It’s all fun.

Use cones or baseball gloves or shoes as boundaries – it’s ok to be creative.

Take it seriously or don’t even keep score at all – there is more to life than winning and losing.

It’s probably the one time in sports when it’s OK to be just a game.

We all watch and read about the atrocities of sports these days. We see Terrell Owens bashing his quarterback and being suspended for the year.

We read about the controversial steroid penalties in Major League Baseball.

“Sports are nothing but a business.” “Athletes are overpaid babies.” This is what sports seemingly have come to these days.

But when you’re out there on your field, you understand why America is obsessed with them.

We play for the love of the game and the feeling we’ll get when we catch a 60-yard bomb or fire that picture-perfect pass.

When you line up at wide receiver, and your best friend since kindergarten who goes to Duke is playing quarterback, and a good friend who goes to Michigan is lined up in the slot position, and another buddy who goes to Kansas is split-wide on the opposite side of the field, you get it – you know why you’re out there in the 20 degree weather, with the ground covered in snow.

And no, it’s not to see how many fantasy points you can accumulate.

It’s for memories that will truly last a lifetime.

And when your friends’ watch reaches 0:00:00 – win or lose – you shake hands and hug, knowing you’ll have to wait another year to reach this wonderful moment.

Then life goes back to reality. You go home and watch pro football. You eat until you can barely breathe.

And then days later, you’re back at school. Your friends are all back at their respective schools. And it’s time to start studying for finals.

But for that hour or so on the football field, nothing else matters.

Life is perfect.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in communications. He can be reached at [email protected]