This Thanksgiving Column tradition was started many years ago by a previous sports editor at the Rome News-Tribune, and I’m proud to carry it on now that I am blessed to be in the sports editor’s chair.

So I’ll start there. I’m thankful for David Dawson, who hired me straight out of Berry College back in 2009 and showed me not only pretty much everything there is to know about how to be a sports writer but the importance of covering local sports for the numerous players, coaches and teams that deserve it and those that love to read about their favorite teams, schools, players, children and grandchildren.

I’m also thankful that Dave has grown to be one of my best friends in the world and his willingness to travel from Nashville to help me out every once in a while as an underpaid stringer. By the way, Dave, would you want to come down in approximately three weeks for another visit for some fun, fellowship and much-needed assistance covering the Christmas Tournament? Just think about it.

After kicking it off with that, here are a few more things I’m thankful for in no particular order:

♦ I’m thankful for the chance to write this column, and, furthermore, to do this incredible job. I can’t thank my editor, John Bailey, enough for giving me the chance to come back to the RN-T a few months ago. It was truly a blessing and opportunity that came along at exactly the right time.

♦ I’m thankful for the coaches, players, administrators, fans and others that I’ve met so far and have been extremely helpful in my first few months as sports editor and look forward to meeting many more during the coming weeks, months and years at the RN-T.

♦ I’m thankful for the start of high school basketball season and the incredible games I’ve already seen in the first few weeks and the great ones that are still to come.

♦ I’m thankful for my first prep football season back at the RN-T being a thrilling one and for the chance to cover Darlington into the Elite Eight. Hopefully, I’ll get to cover them for a few more weeks if you know what I mean, Tigers.

♦ I’m thankful for my family both immediate and extended and the different but equally important ways you impact my life and are always there for me.

♦ I’m thankful for my sweet puppy, Long Legs, who really isn’t a puppy anymore but still as sweet as ever. With that, I’m thankful for my numerous walks with her, whether in the sunshine, dark of night, heat, cold or rain. Even when she’s trying to tear my arm off to chase a car, a squirrel, a deer or anything else that moves, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

♦ I’m thankful for the chance to work in the same community that I was born and raised in. Rome and Floyd County is a special place. Don’t let anyone tell you different.

♦ I’m thankful that my Atlanta Braves are the World Series Champions of the World. (Yes, that’s what I will continue to call them until the end of time.) Still doesn’t feel real to be able to say that by the way.

♦ I’m thankful for my Georgia Tech football season tickets, although I would like to actually enjoy going to their games again at some point in the future.

♦ I’m thankful for college basketball getting going and the madness that is to come in March.

♦ I’m thankful for Lemon Lime Powerade, the GOAT of all sports drinks or drinks in general.

♦ I’m thankful for Flamin’ Hot Nacho Doritos — and the more recent XXtra Flamin’ Hot Nacho Doritos. By the way, both of these previous two were free ads, but if either company wants to sign me to an exclusive marketing deal, I will accept a lifetime supply of product as payment.

♦ I’m thankful that my laptop finally got done with the update that seemed as if it was never going to end to allow me to get this column done in time for early Thanksgiving deadline.

♦ I’m thankful for fantasy football, and I will be even more thankful if I’m able to capture my first-ever fantasy football title in a few weeks. Yes, I’m sad to report that your sports editor has never won a fantasy football title. I’ve been to the championship game several times but have always come up short. I guess you could call me the Buffalo Bills of fantasy football.

♦ I’m thankful for college football. Even in a season like this one where things have not gone very well for my interests (Georgia Tech 3-8, Georgia 11-0), there is still nothing like a Fall Saturday in the South.

♦ I’m thankful for Thanksgiving. One of the top holidays in my humble opinion. It’s all the food, family and festivities of Christmas without the stress of gifts.

♦ I’m thankful for the folks in the newsroom that I have met over the last few months (and some that I have gotten reacquainted with) that I get to work alongside. And I’m even more thankful to get to sit next to Severo as he answers the phone to the numerous people who always know exactly what or who they need and his always patient and helpful attitude when doing it.

♦ I’m thankful for Steven Eckhoff, who not only has become a friend but is an unbelievable photographer and has been extremely helpful to me over my first few months as sports editor. He is always willing to shoot sporting events for me, whether near or far, and this sports section would not be what it is without him.

♦ I’m thankful for the numerous stringers that have helped me fill out this sports section with great stories and photos and look forward to continuing to have their help as I try to keep this one-man sports department afloat.

♦ Most of all, I’m thankful for my Lord and Savior who has always been incredible to me even when I haven’t been so incredible to him. His grace and mercy truly endures forever.

♦ And last but not least, I’m thankful for the chance to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the time (and food) with your family and friends and take a few minutes to sit back and think about all the things you are thankful for.

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