Thanksgiving is the most American of all of our holidays, one we can all share to get together and exchange stories, debate the political events of the day, laugh with and at each other, consume ridiculous amounts of food and drinks, play the traditional family football game, and spend countless hours stretched out on the couch in a food coma watching a triple header of NFL games.
It’s my personal favorite holiday as there are no gifts to exchange so no bickering among siblings (at least as it relates to the gifts anyway) and no dress up days to try and impress your friends and family members.
The only requirement in our house is that you either have stretch pants or an extra hole to relax your belt when you finally put the fork down.
I have been enjoying over the past month reading my friends’ comments on their Facebook pages of what they are thankful or grateful for in their lives. You read beautiful personal stories of family love, gratitude for friends and co-workers, and people taking a moment to reflect on the bountiful things we have to be thankful for in our lives.
I have much for which to be thankful.
First and foremost, I am most thankful for the person that brought me in to this world those many, many years ago. My mother, in her 89th trip around the globe, is the glue that keeps our family together, providing inspiration to all of us to use each day to continue to grow as better people and to use our gifts to serve others. I am thankful for my sister and brothers and their families who although we don’t see nearly enough of each other are able to pick up right where we left off the last time we were together.
I am thankful for the opportunity to host for dinner Colonel Ton That Di and his family, my father’s nearest and dearest friend, and to hear the stories of their time together as warriors fighting for a better Vietnam and to my brother Douglas for doing the work to keep my father’s legacy alive and well.
I never knew or understood my father until I began to learn about him through the research that my brother has pieced together and shared with us of the time he was away from his family to serve the ideals of this great country.
I am thankful for my wife and my sons who always provide daily entertainment and make my life as full as one can expect in this life. My wife who does what she does to allow me to do what I do and works tirelessly to make our house a home, welcoming to the multitude of guests that roll through our front door on a regular basis.
And my sons who serve as my social media conscience, my fountain of youth, and my private comedy central roast, with them there is much for which to be grateful.
I’m thankful to be a part of such a competitive soccer club in Baltimore Celtic that allows my club players to play against some of the best players and best teams in the country on a regular basis. And I’m proud and grateful for the chance to have coached two teams to President Cup championships this past year and one that continued on to be regional semifinalists.
I’m grateful that my players get to pursue their dreams of playing collegiate soccer and use their affiliation with Celtic to open dialogue with their prospective coaches.
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I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to work with some incredible soccer players every day for three months each year and watch them develop not only on the pitch, but also into wonderful young men and women that I’m proud to call my friends. I’m thankful for the relationship to still talk to many of them on a regular basis.
Those relationships with current and former players are some of the things I’m most grateful for and what make me want to continue coaching as long as they’ll have me.
And I’m thankful for the coaches I’ve competed against that continue to keep me humble and push me to be at my best at all times. I’m thankful for the tremendous coaches that we have right here in Carroll County that work together to provide a competitive yet congenial atmosphere where our kids can learn to leave it all on the field of battle and yet walk away with mutual respect and in some cases deeper friendships.
Finally, I’m thankful for Jean Shea, our Howard County field coordinator, who assists me in finding turf fields for my Celtic practices and home games and for the fourth time in five years allowed us to host the Carroll County Senior Soccer game on Howard County turf fields.
We need a Ms. Shea here in Carroll County to manage all of our turf fields.
I could continue to count my blessings as I do every day, but I am limited in space for today’s column. American writer Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.”
And I’m perpetually thankful for you that continue to read my life stories and provide positive and constructive feedback when I see you in town.