(Author’s note: One of my heroes is the great Furman Bisher. Today, in honor of this legendary sports writer, and in his grand tradition, I offer up the following attributes of sporting life and life in general for which I am eternally grateful).
I am thankful and moved by the father who teaches his children about the beauty and wonder of nature so they will forever be in awe.
I’m affectionately grateful for moms everywhere who love their children and show it a thousand different ways.
I’m thankful for daylight savings time and wish it were year round.
I’m grateful that my parents insisted that I be outdoors instead of watching TV.
I’m appreciative of the hunter who follows the rules and understands about conserving our natural resources.
I am in awe of the fisherman who catches a whopper and puts it back in the water to fight another day.
I am thankful when I can get someone else to clean the fish.
I’m happy and thankful that the people you meet when camping, hiking, hunting and fishing are just genuinely nice folks.
I am thankful that my youthful adventures in the wild never turned into jail time or resulted in my demise.
Boy am I thankful that my wife understands my yearning to be outdoors (fishing, hunting, golfing) and only limits my activities occasionally.
I am thankful and blessed by the scene of a family eating lunch together at a picnic table and the joyous laughter that rings out for all to hear.
I am lucky and thankful that the family I’m a part of is one that is loving, loyal, and God-fearing.
I am thankfully ecstatic when I notice polite behavior between people and particularly thankful for the parents that taught them that behavior.
I’m thankful for the participants and coaches of high school sports as well as their sheer dedication and love for the games they play.
I am thankful for the touchdown maker who scores on a spectacular run, then turns and calmly hands the ball to an official without the ridiculous chest thumping.
I am very thankful for the coach and the parent who insists on sportsmanlike conduct and respect for his opponent.
I am glad and thankful to still see referees who believe the game is for the players instead of seeking to be the center of attention.
I am thankful for the soccer mom who realizes that it’s a contact sport and doesn’t go off the deep end when her child hits the turf.
I am especially thankful for fans who support their team through the good times and the bad.
I’m particularly thankful for the sportswriter who doesn’t come off like he’s head coaching material in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, soccer, and every other sport on the planet.
I’m somewhat less than thankful for the idiot at the game who brays out advice and heaps criticism on the coach so that others will think he’s an expert — all within earshot of the coach’s wife and children.
I am happy and grateful that I was able to watch Bobby Cox ply his trade and saddened that it is over.
I’m very thankful — especially this time of year — that I’m not gumming my food — yet.
And so, until we meet again next week, I send along my hopes that you too will be thankful for the blessings of life, whatever they may be. I also offer up this short prayer for the outdoorsman:
I pray that I may live to fish until my dying day,
And when it comes to my last cast,
I then most humbly pray,
When in the Lord’s great landing net,
And peacefully asleep,
That in his mercy I be judged,
Good enough to keep.
Articles and columns by Alvin Richardson about hunting, fishing and other outdoor sports appear weekly in the Statesboro Herald. Richardson can be reached at dar8589@bellsouth.