Dimon Kendrick-Holmes: Rules of Thanksgiving don't apply to Rivalry Saturday

dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 29, 2013 

I find it interesting that the Iron Bowl and pretty much every college football in-state rivalry falls on Thanksgiving weekend.

I mean, Thanksgiving is all about keeping score, right? You're supposed to count your blessings. A lot of extended families, mine included, like to get in a big circle before the meal and go around and take turns saying what you're thankful for.

One year my brother said he was thankful for the food, and I went next and said I was thankful for cornbread dressing. I had to choose again because cornbread dressing was a food and my brother had already given thanks for all the food.

At least that was the ruling. It was pretty shaky.

It wasn't as shaky as the call during one of our family tag football games in the early 1980s, when one of my cousins scored what appeared to be the winning touchdown but his foot got entangled in the tree marking tape we'd used to line the end zone.

That's when one of the adult referees threw a flag and called goal line interference. I'm not kidding. The touchdown was called back, the ball was given to the other team, and I think my cousin is still in therapy.

I couldn't have handled it either. But giving thanks for something besides cornbread dressing was no big deal. I chose my dog but could have mentioned any number of things.

That's the great thing about Thanksgiving: Everybody's a winner because everybody's concentrating on what they have instead of what they don't have.

And you're not comparing what you have to what other people have.

You don't count your blessings and then compare your number to everybody else's to see if you've won.

No, you've already won. Everybody's won.

That's Thanksgiving.

Except when there's a football game.

For example, there's a pretty big one being played Saturday in Jordan-Hare Stadium at Auburn. You'll find other in-state rivalry games -- though nothing remotely as important -- in Atlanta, Columbia, Gainesville, Los Angeles, Ann Arbor and Chapel Hill.

Why will millions of people be glued to their televisions at 3 p.m. Saturday?

And why are others willing to pay thousands of dollars apiece to see No. 1 Alabama play No. 4 Auburn?

Because everybody won't be a winner.

One team will win and the other team will lose.

One team's fans will go to work Monday, seek out the opposing team's fans, and start gloating. And they'll go right on gloating for the next 364 days.

They'll be thankful all right, but they'll be thankful precisely because thousands upon thousands of other fans will be heartbroken.

And if your team loses, you'll have trouble thinking of anything to be thankful for.

Today will either be Thanksgiving Day for you, or it won't.

No middle ground.

That's why it's worth watching.

Contact Dimon Kendrick-Holmes, executive editor, at dkholmes@ledger-enquirer.com.

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