Thanksgiving is here and with it comes food, family, and football. One thing that seems to get left behind on this holiday is listing your reasons to be thankful. As the editor of a Chicago sports website, I thought it would be appropriate to list 10 things I'm thankful for as a Chicago Sports fan. In no specific order here they are.
1) Paul Konerko and Ryan Dempster
Not only are Konerko and Dempster great players, but they are also class acts. It's so nice and quite rare to have faces of the franchise that are as great off the field as they are on. It's difficult to find athletes today that you can consider role models. Konerko and Dempster are definitely two athletes who you can encourage your children to admire.
2) Derrick Rose
In the 1980's and 90's we were sure spoiled by the Bulls and getting to see Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen play every night. Then Jordan left town and the Bulls looked more like the Clippers then the "Bulls". Then we got a star again in Rose and the future is bright again for the Bulls. The United Center is rocking again and the Bulls are worth watching. Assuming the lockout ends someday, the Bulls and their fan base won't have to wait very long to raise another banner to the rafters and Rose will be the main reason for that.
3) Matt Forte
Yes we know he is underpaid and going through contract situations. What should be the focus though is how great a player he is. Forte is having a season that draws comparisons to Walter Payton. Forte will get paid and it will be by the Bears. In the meantime concentrate on what he is doing on the field and how lucky we are as Bears fans to have him.
We sure were spoiled in the 2009-2010 season when hockey became relevant in Chicago again. Yes last season they Hawks had a ton of injuries and took a step back, but now the Hawks are back as an elite team in the NHL. The star players like Toews, Kane, Keith and Seabrook are household names and the Madhouse on Madison is rocking every single home game. Definitely a fun team to watch and follow and with the NBA lockout could be the only thing to watch this winter.
5) Chicago Announcers
We really are lucky to have the group of announcers we have in Chicago. Pat Foley and Eddie Olczyk are two of the best in the business. They know the game and are very entertaining to listen to. In baseball Len Kasper and Bob Brenly make even the worst Cubs games watchable, while on the other side of town Steve Stone is still one of the best analysts in baseball and love him or hate him, Hawk Harrelson still knows the game.
6) Pat Fitzgerald
It's always great to see someone stay their entire career in the same area. Fitzgerald was a star at Sandburg High School in Orland Park,then at Northwestern, and now as a coach for the Wildcats. I don't know how he can go in to a recruits living room, give his pep talk and the recruit doesn't commit on the spot. Coach Fitz is what is right with college football. He does things the right way and his passion for the Wildcats can be seen every time he opens his mouth.
7) Theo Epstein
Yes he has only been in town a few weeks, but Wrigley has a buzz it hasn't had in a very long time. Theo seems to have already changed the culture for the Cubs and hasn't even brought in a player or made a trade. His mission is clear, his plan seems realistic, and things are looking up for the Cubs. Yes it will take time, but at least you can see a light at the end of the tunnel that isn't an oncoming train.
8) Kenny Williams
As a White Sox fan I couldn't be happier to have Kenny Williams as my general manager. Sure not all of his free agent signings or trades work out, but I love his no fear attitude and willingness to make a trade whenever he see an opportunity to improve. Every season he surprises with a signing or a trade and most of the time it works out in the Sox favor.
9) US Cellular Field
When it first opened, the new Comiskey Park was criticized for the upper deck and overall appearance of the stadium. After some ramifications it really is a great place to watch a game. It has the best parking of all the stadiums in Chicago, the food makes it feel like a nice restaurant both in quality and variety, and there really isn't a bad seat in the entire stadium.
10) Jay Cutler
It's so nice to finally have a quarterback. For the first time in Bears hitory the Bears have a legitimate all pro quarterback. Yes it sucks that he got injured, but he'll be back and should be the franchise quarterback the Bears have seeked for several more years.
Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving everyone.