As we reminisce about Thanksgiving this past Thursday, there’s always an undeniable connection between the holiday and football. The NFL plays three games on Thanksgiving, there’s big college football and high school games over the weekend, and depending on your program and your region, there might even be some youth football teams playing some Turkey Bowls over the weekend.
In our home, there’s always been a strong connection between Thanksgiving and football. After nine years of being a youth football parent, there’s a lot to be thankful for.
I’m thankful that I have two boys who love the game of football. Bradley started playing youth tackle football when he was four years old and will be playing high school football next year. Jared has played three years of flag football and is thinking about trying tackle when he gets to middle school. They both love to attend Jets games and watch games on television.
I’m thankful for the teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership that my kids have learned by playing football. It’s the ultimate team game and they’ve learned what it takes to work together as a unit, to respect others and also how to be a good teammate. In a way, they are learning skills that will help them in all aspects of life. Football has also given them the opportunity to create friendships that will last a lifetime.
I’m thankful that Bradley has the passion to succeed and to be the best he can be on the football field. He’s experienced everything from Super Bowl championships to heartbreaking playoff losses, to playing for his middle school and to playing for his country in the USA Football Middle School Bowl Game Series. As the center, he takes command of the huddle and doesn’t stop trying to get better. He learns from his mistakes and plays the game the right way.
I’m thankful that Jared has really become a student of the game and that he has found a niche playing flag football. He always plays with a smile on his face and gladly plays whatever position that coach asks him to play. He’s always in the know and can tell my wife Sheryl and I so many pertinent things about what’s going on in the game. On the field, he plays with passion and fun whether he’s snapping the ball, going out to catch a pass, throwing passes or rushing the opposing quarterback. He just gets it and has fun.
I’m thankful that our family has the absolute best football mom in the world. I don’t know how anything in our house would function football-wise or in any other aspect of life without Sheryl. She always makes sure the kids’ gear is packed, they have their water bottles and that a family bag is always packed with snacks and drinks for the game regardless of who is playing. At the games, she cheers for her boys with a smile on her face that can light up MetLife Stadium but what makes her extra special is how she cheers on each and every player on the team.
There’s a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving Day. It’s a special day to be with family and friends but in our home, it’s also a day to celebrate our love for the game of football. Our youth seasons might be over, but we still have some work to do cheering on our suddenly red-hot New York Jets. And before you know it, the new seasons will be fast approaching.
From my family to yours, I’d like to wish everyone in the youth football community a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy all the games!
Peter is a sports anchor for the CBS Sports Radio Network, FOX News Headlines 24/7 and WCBS 880 Radio in New York. His son Bradley plays middle school football on Long Island and is a participant in the U.S. National Team program while his younger son Jared plays flag football. Peter, his wife Sheryl and the boys are busy cheering on the New York Jets when they’re not at a youth football field.