Author’s note: I would be amiss if I did not pay tribute to the late Furman Bisher here. The grand old sports writer came up with the idea of putting a column on being thankful in the sports page and all who follow are just pretenders including myself.
I decided to wait a few days before doing my annual column on things we can be thankful for.
After all when you try to compete with Turkey Thursday, Black Friday, Georgia Tech’s annual Butt Whipping Saturday, and Cyber Monday it just seemed like most everybody’s attention was focused on going to stores in the wee hours so they could stand in long lines to buy stuff they didn’t really need or combing the internet to see if they missed out on anything they really didn’t need.
It just appeared to me that a discussion of what we could be thankful for would be ill-timed so I delayed it a few days.
My thoughts this year were greatly influenced by a wonderful friend who recently lost his brother and he said to me, “Coach, I think you need to write your column about people who have made an impact on our lives and the fact that we often neglect to tell them until it is way too late.”
He was so right, so here goes.
I’m thankful for several teachers I had in school. My first grade teacher Mrs. Boggs taught me to sit up straight, look at whomever you are talking to and not to interrupt others. She also performed a miracle when she taught me to read.
I’m thankful to my sixth grade teacher Mrs. Malcom who helped teach me that I should always follow her instructions, and those of other adults, and that there were dire consequences for not doing so. She also taught me the subtleties of math even though I never really grasped why it was so important.
I’m blessed and grateful to have had pastors who led me in the right direction and helped me through the spiritual valleys that we all go through.
I’m thankful to Coach Huff who inspired me to be as good a basketball player as I could and that exceptional effort would eventually yield exceptional results no matter what the field of endeavor.
I’m eternally grateful to my mentor Coach Larry Campbell who taught me many things about football but most importantly taught me that when dealing with kids or adults fairness is essential, discipline is critical, and loyalty is vital.
I’m both lucky and thankful to have an abundance of family and friends that were so unselfishly caring to offer to donate me one of their kidneys when times were really, really rough for me.
I thank God every day for a mother and father who loved me, brought me up the right way, sacrificed to send me to college, stood by me when things didn’t go just right, lent an ear when I needed to vent, and continue to be a fountain of wisdom to this day.
I’m thankful for brothers with whom I can share my joys and problems and with whom I can also share experiences in the outdoors.
Their companionship has been one of the highlights of my life.
I’m thankful for those teachers, coaches and administrators I have worked beside in education for the last 36 years. They taught me that dedication to our task, love for the kids, and then getting to watch so many of our students become outstanding individuals was what we were all about.
So today let’s raise a glass to some of the people that have made a difference in our lives and make it a point to thank them before the curtain goes down.
My advice along these lines is to dance like nobody’s watching, love unabashedly, hug your mother, kiss your wife, enjoy your friends and say thank you now. Don’t wait, don’t put it off.
Enjoy living and be thankful in this season of the year.
Articles and columns by Alvin Richardson about hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports appear weekly in the Statesboro Herald. Richardson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.