Thursday we celebrate Thanksgiving and so many thoughts flood my mind about this special day.
In many ways I believe every day should be Thanksgiving. Most day just waking up and coming to work is a blessing.
I'm usually pretty good with words, but sometimes they do fail me. In those times I reflect back on a year that will soon end and peeling back the layer of days I see so many things for which I can give thanks.
I am thankful for the relationship I had with my dad. And that there were no regrets when he passed away earlier this year. I'm thankful for every time we told each other, "I love you," right up until our last conversation less than a week before Dad died.
I'm thankful for the games of catch and watching Tennessee play football Dad and I shared.
I'm thankful for those of you who have prayed for me and encouraged me in what has been, in its own way, the most difficult time of my life.
I'm thank that the seasons move on and memories live on.
I'm thankful for my relationships with coaches and fans in the area and all the fine young men and women I get to cover throughout the year.
I'm thankful for not only the coaches I interact with now at Baker, Crestview and Laurel Hill, but my high school coaches that helped shape my life as well.
Robert Freeman the athletic director at Pace is one of those men. Coach Freeman was my track coach and an assistant football coach at Gulf Breeze 35 or 40 years ago when I was young.
Today I'm thinking about another of my former coaches, Mike Walker. Coach Walker coached the defensive line and linebackers at Gulf Breeze. Sadly, the Wild Man as he was affectionately called, died while still in his mid-30s the day after Thanksgiving in 1983, Nov. 25.
Sometimes, when things in life seem to be pushing in against me, I can hear the Wild Man shouting words of encouragement that meant so much to me as a kid trying to play the game.
I am thankful that Coach Walker loved all of his boys equally from superstar to wishful star. My life remains so much richer for having played for Mike Walker.
It's hard for me not to be thankful for sports.
The competition and being a part of a team that are associated with sports helped shape me as a youth. The games and athletes I've covered as a man have helped feed me. And often the games I watch while sitting in my favorite chair, have helped heal my wounded spirit.
I believe God has richly blessed most of us with an abundance worthy of Thanksgiving.
It has been almost 400 years since the pilgrims first celebrated Thanksgiving. Those brave men and women had endured more hardship and turmoil than most of us in the 21st century will ever face. And at the end of the season of labor they saw the fruits of their labor and celebrated their abundance.
So finally I'm thankful for my labor and the abundance it provides not only physically, but in the blessings I receive in being a part of the local sports community.
Randy Dickson is the Crestview News Bulletin’s sports editor. Email him at email@example.com, tweet him @BigRandle, or call 682-6524.