A Special Slant Pattern Thanksgiving

There's been more than a few Thanksgiving-themed columns on Sports Central this year, and one thing I'm thankful for is that I'm a better writer than everyone else published here.

Just kidding, of course. I remember in my very first article for the Sports Central site (can it really have been three years ago now?), I raised resident NFL expert Brad Oremland in debate (I think my ulterior motive was to ingratiate myself to my new colleagues). He could've flicked me away like a mosquito — surely, he's forgotten more about pro football than I will ever know, but he graciously took the bait and responded. Since then, he's never stopped being a must-read for me.

I owe a great deal more to Marc James, the site founder, publisher, and administrator. It's really quite amazing what he has been able to accomplish. New sports sites and message boards crop up daily, but most of them are abandoned, almost entirely unnoticed. Not this site. If you ever want a primer on how to make a website (or, probably, even a business), work, ask Marc.

Of course, good luck putting together the talent Marc has assembled her, either technically or editorially. I am proud and grateful to be a part of it ... and equally so to be a member of the Sports Central Message Boards, which is the only all-sports message board I've seen that is well-populated, well-run, and successfully dedicated to sports debate, not flame wars. Anyone regular reader of Sports Central content who isn't clicking on the "Community" banner near the top is doing themselves a disservice.

But you're tired of reading this Academy Award speech, here are the sports-related items I'm thankful for.

1. I'm grateful for the alter egos Clinton Portis portrays during his press conferences, particularly Sheriff Gonna Getcha.

2. I'm grateful my alma mater, Ohio State, have just beaten Michigan for the fourth time in five years (this time in Ann Arbor) and are Big 10 co-champs.

3. I'm grateful the university of my hometown, the University of Akron, is (as I write this) two quarters away from being MAC East champs.

4. I'm grateful that both schools have a great deal of optimism for their basketball program. Ohio State landed the consensus No. 1 recruiting class in the country for '06-'07, and every preseason publications I've read predict Akron to finish either first or second in the MAC East this year.

5. I'm grateful I stayed up to watch the USC/Fresno State barnburner last week. Wow, what a game!

6. I'm grateful I've discovered the fun way the Canadian Football League plays the game, and I'm grateful the team I adopted as my favorite at the season's onset, the Montreal Alouettes, has made the Grey Cup.

7. I'm grateful I've discovered the joys of No Limit Hold'Em.

8. I'm grateful that the Cleveland Indians, my MLB team of choice, surprised everyone and came this close to snagging a wildcard berth.

9. I'm grateful that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, my NFL team of choice, is 7-3 and should at very least back into the playoffs.

10. I'm grateful that there's still a dying breed of non-mainstream athletes to look up to, like Gonzaga's Adam Morrison.

11. Most of all, I'm grateful to my readers. Without you, even the detractors (maybe especially the detractors), none of this would be worth anything. So keep the hate mail (and the love letters) coming. Thank you so much.

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