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StarDuvallGrant
Nov 21st, 2007, 10:20 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21909560/

OPINION
By Mike Celizic
MSNBC contributor
updated 11:29 p.m. PT, Tues., Nov. 20, 2007


We watch sports, we get passionate about them, we talk about them, argue about them, read about them, write about them. But how often do we really appreciate them?
This seems as good a time as any to forget for a day or two how crazy sports make us and remind ourselves how much we appreciate everything they mean to us. It wouldn’t hurt to say, “Thank you,” while we’re at it.
“Thank you,” for all the times sports have given us moments we can turn to for solace and encouragement when things aren’t going well. “Thank you,” for the memories of glorious snapshots that stay with us forever. “Thank you,” for taking us out of our cluttered and confused minds and into pure experience.

And when I think about something I am truly grateful for, what comes to mind first is the unutterable pleasure that comes with the sound and feel of a perfectly struck drive that splits a sun-kissed fairway. There is no better feeling than catching one on the screws. It’s even better than sex if for no other reason than 10 minutes later, you can do it again, and you have no desire to fall asleep immediately after.


Those who lived during the Roaring Twenties could be smugly grateful for having experienced the Golden Age of American sports. They saw Ruth and Dempsey and Bill Tilden (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21909560/#) and Knute Rockne and Red Grange, and never would there be personalities again who were as godded up as they were.
But I’m awfully grateful for being alive to watch Tiger Woods (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21909560/#) hit a golf ball and Roger Federer play tennis and to have witnessed Michael Jordan play a game that seemed invented specifically for him. Yeah, those fellows way back when were awfully good, but the players we’re watching now are the best who ever lived.


My grandparents had Lefty Grove; I’ve got Roger Clemens. They had Ty Cobb; I had Pete Rose (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21909560/#), and there’s nothing he can do off the field that can take away from what I saw him do on the field.


When I was little, I got to watch Jim Brown carry the football, which means I’ve also seen Roger Staubach and Terry Bradshaw and Johnny Unitas and John Elway and Joe Montana and Dan Marino throw it. But right now, sports fans, we get to watch both Peyton Manning and Tom Brady at the height of their careers. And no one has ever seen anyone better.


When you spend your life covering games, you don’t get to tailgate very often. But probably the highlight of working an NFL or college game is arriving several hours early and walking through the parking lot, taking in the sights and smells of the tailgate parties. I love it, and I’m thankful for it.
I’m thankful for ballparks, all of them. Few memories stand out as vividly from my childhood as walking into the humongous hulk of Cleveland Municipal Stadium, walking through the fetid concrete caverns and up the ramps to the nosebleed seats, then stepping out into sunshine with the most perfect ballfield I had ever seen sparkling there before me. To this day, ballparks still hold that moment of delight for me, and none does it better than Fenway Park. From the outside, it looks like an old factory or warehouse. The concourses are narrow and crowded and don’t smell all that well, but you walk through them and up a ramp and there, framed by the dark shadows of the overhung stands is the most perfect jewel of a field anyone has ever seen.


Sports have allowed me to see the nation and the world. I know a lot of jobs come with plenty of travel, but how many of them don’t require you to show up for work at 3 or 4 in the afternoon? How many let you get in a round of golf before work? How many are catered?

You bet I’m thankful for that.

I’ve seen sweaty and exhausted men hoist big silver footballs and golden basketballs and the Stanley Cup in transports of joy most of us will never experience. But we can watch them, we can imagine what they feel, we can celebrate with them.


We can say, “Thank you.”


For Wayne Gretzky making a perfect pass from behind the goal, for Mario Lemieux coming in alone and beating the goalie with a flick of his wrists, for Big Papi stepping to the plate with the winning run on second, for “Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines,” for “Down the stretch they come,” for hotdog vendors, for Mariano Rivera shutting the door, for Michael Phelps cutting through the water, for Venus or Serena Williams unleashing a serve, for sprinters taking their marks, for torch relays, for big air, for triple Lutzes;
For marching bands and pompoms, for “you’re away,” for coin tosses and first pitches, for the seventh inning stretch, for March Madness, for sandies and greenies and two-dollar Nassaus, for kids named Tulowitzki, for the hit-and-run and 6-4-3, for strike-‘em-out-throw-‘em-out, for mascots and fight songs.


And for Manny being Manny.


For this and so much more I give thanks.


Mike Celizic is a contributor to msnbc.com and a freelance writer based in New York.

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 22nd, 2007, 09:29 AM
ty venus and serena :)

Renalicious
Nov 22nd, 2007, 12:04 PM
lmao barely a mention.

Diesel
Nov 22nd, 2007, 07:22 PM
Barely a mention but they were picked as the standard for women's tennis.

tennisjunky
Nov 23rd, 2007, 09:56 PM
just more proof they raised the bar so high.

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 23rd, 2007, 11:27 PM
^ yea not the ever so dominant jh :p

2moretogo
Nov 24th, 2007, 05:25 AM
^^^ funny how juju is so dominant when she only won 2 slams this year...of course she split it with Serena and Venus. :p

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 24th, 2007, 12:47 PM
everyone forgets that little fact lol....it will be different next year :D

1000
Nov 25th, 2007, 12:41 PM
It just shows how much of a cultural icon that Venus and Serena both are

BuTtErFrEnA
Nov 26th, 2007, 11:34 AM
they transcend sports...as much as critics want to deny that and ignore it they have made it not using the traditional methods...