- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I truly believe that every day should be a day of Thanksgiving, though there’s nothing wrong with a holiday where we all stop and count our blessings.

I try to give thanks daily for my universal assets — life, health and strength; food, clothing and shelter; family, friends and loved ones — as well as my specific, special gifts named Vanessa, Sierra and Sequoia.

There’s much to be grateful for in the world of sports. It usually serves as a welcome diversion from the day-to-day, real-life issues that can consume us if we’re not careful. Instead, we can add some fun and games for momentary escapes, enjoying a respite from the never-ending 24/7 grind.

As such, I’m thankful…

⦁ For Stephen Curry. He could be mistaken for a towel boy, but his slick ball-handling, incredible shooting and crafty passing make him the NBA’s best player at the moment, a pleasure to behold.

⦁ For the Golden State Warriors. You can feel their joy as they whip the ball for open looks and lay-ups. They have taken the San Antonio Spurs’ version of beautiful basketball and multiplied it exponentially, adding a fun factor.

⦁ For the NFC East. This is where hope lives, even for 3-7 Dallas. The Cowboys are only two games behind New York, which is only one game ahead of Washington. The Giants visit FedEx Field Sunday for what’s essentially a playoff game. Weak division, good drama.

⦁ For Melo Trimble. Returning for his sophomore year meant everything to Maryland. The Terrapins wouldn’t be ranked No. 2 and considered a Final Four favorite without him. The sophomore from Upper Marlboro has set his state on fire.

⦁ For Holly Holm. Shocking upsets don’t come bigger than Holm’s KO against Ronda Rousey. Styles make fights, which means a rematch wouldn’t necessarily be different. With her legitimate boxing skills, Holm scored a victory for the beleaguered sweet science.

⦁ For Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine. He put Johnny Manziel in the proper place — on the bench — after he proved too immature (and possibly too predisposed to alcohol) to be Cleveland’s starting quarterback. Never remind Pettine that Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr were available when “Johnny Drama” was drafted.

⦁ For Bryce Harper. Like the Nationals, Harper has plenty of critics. Winning MVP awards — or the World Series — won’t make everyone shut up. But you don’t need a response when you can point to a trophy. Harper is a winner who epitomizes “Natitude.”

⦁ For Kentucky’s John Calipari. He doesn’t sugarcoat his intentions. He wants the nation’s best ballers and he’s constantly looking for your replacement — if you stick around. His latest recruiting class is ranked No. 1 (again) and each of his eight classes have been in the top two nationally. Gotta love when excellence wears black.

⦁ For the college football playoff. No selection process is perfect, especially when you’re choosing only four teams opposed to 64. Though there’s little rhyme and less reason in appraising one-loss teams, but at least four schools will settle matters on the field. That’s a huge improvement over the BCmesS.

⦁ For Peyton Manning’s plantar fascia. Legends rarely get happy endings, but seeing Manning sidelined by injury beats watching his awful performances lead him to the bench. If that’s all he has left, our memory would appreciate him never suiting up again.

⦁ For NFL officiating supervisor Dean Blandino. Without those cut-ins to the league’s replay center, we’d miss weekly explanations of the officials’ blunders. Monday night gave us a new misstep, an inadvertent whistle when an official “lost track” of the ball. We’re losing track of the games they’ve messed up.

⦁ For Ezekiel Elliott. The Ohio State running back was frank when he questioned the game plan against Michigan State. Whether you believe he should’ve kept it in-house, he told the truth. Sometimes coaches say the team didn’t play well; the Buckeyes’ staff didn’t coach well.

⦁ For Phil Jackson drafting Kristaps Porzingis. Can’t say I was impressed with the selection for my hometown team, but Jackson believed in Porzingis’ upside more than he feared the 7-foot-3 Latvian becoming the next Euro-bust. As a result, the New York Knicks are halfway to last season’s win total and the Big Apple has a budding superstar.

⦁ For the Philadelphia 76ers’ futility. We encourage struggling youth teams to keep trying. They have no better role model. The 76ers tied an NBA record with a 26-game losing streak two seasons ago and came within a game of the worst-ever start by going 0-17 last season. They began this campaign at 0-15, giving them 25 consecutive losses. But, they haven’t given up and they’re grateful to be in the NBA.

We all can be thankful for something. Happy Thanksgiving.

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