As 2018 Approaches, Here’s 18 Things To Be Thankful For
By Cam Giangrande
With Thanksgiving just past us and 2017 nearly behind, it is time to list the things I am thankful for as the new year of 2018 approaches. This isn’t the usual hum drum, “I’m thankful for my family, and friends and health, and…blah, blah, blah”. It’s more of a post Turkey Day reflective look back, in no particular order.
The 17 things I am most thankful for; well 18, since we’re entering 2018, and 17 is a prime number, but that’s just my issue with prime numbers…anyway; here it is.
1. Christian Laettner: I'm eternally and annually thankful for Christian Laettner, circa 1992 vs the Kentucky Wildcats in the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament. With only 2.1 seconds left in the game and his back to the rim at the foul line, after catching the full court pass from Grant Hill, he still had the stones to dribble and up fake before making the game winning shot.
2. Bill Belichick’s press conferences: If you’ve never listened to a Belichick press conference, you haven’t lived. He gives the perfect mixture of grunts, snorts, and eye rolls, mixed in with just enough mis-information to keep reporters exasperated. Stated simply…”I’m on to the third thing I’m thankful for”. If you don’t get the reference, Google Bill Belichick and Cincinnati.
3. TV Commercials which spawn catch phrases: “Dilly, Dilly”
4. Justin Verlander: Thanks to him, we get to see Kate Upton more than once a year in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.
5. Larry Bird: Another nostalgic gem I think back on every year. Come on, I was a teenager living in Boston in the 80s…nuff said! It’s not trash talking if you can back it up. Walking into the locker room before the three-point contest and asking, “who’s playing for second place?” is about as cool as it gets.
6. Fantasy Baseball: I am thankful for Dan Okrent for inventing rotisserie league baseball in the winter of 1979. It’s a shame he never became wealthy from his invention, because he should have: on top of that, he should be in Cooperstown.
7. Camden Yards: The first of the retro parks is still a thing of beauty. It’s wonderful to be able to drive eight hours south from Boston and catch a Red Sox/Orioles game for less money than going to Fenway Park.
8. 80s Wrestling: Again, as a teenager in the 80s, what was more fun than watching the true height of wrestling. Most enjoyable wrestlers for me, “Nature Boy” Ric Flair, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka, “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and Hulk Hogan.
9. Foxwoods: It’s still not Vegas, and there isn’t sports betting yet, but to be able to drive 90 minutes to get to the largest casino in the country is fantastic.
10. Terry Francona: Probably the best manager currently in the game: having to navigate all the land mines which constantly surround Red Sox Nation, couldn’t have been an easy thing to do. To have left the team with such grace, always taking the high road, while leaving a legacy of success and two world championships, is a testament to the man. He should still be the Boston skipper today. I really hope he can win one for Cleveland.
11. Eddie Andelman: He is the “Godfather” of Boston Sports Talk Radio. Before ESPN, and radio stations dedicated to sports 24 hours a day, there was Eddie Andelman on Boston radio, once a week on Sunday nights; doing his “Sports Huddle”. It was classic radio, and many radio entertainers owe their careers to Andelman.
12. The movie “Hoosiers”: The best basketball movie ever made. Whenever I’m flipping channels and I see it on, at any point in the movie, I stop and watch it. Whether it’s Dennis Hopper running “The picket fence”, or Gene Hackman getting tossed on purpose, or Jimmy Chitwood telling coach, “I’ll make it”, the movie brings tears and smiles.
13. The movie “Rudy”: Much of what’s true about Hoosiers can be said about Rudy too. Seeing chubby, Jon Favreau and zygote, Vince Vaughn is a sight to see too.
14. Kurt Russell as Herb Brooks in “Miracle”: Watching him tell his assistant coach to blow the whistle, while he continually shouts, “Again!”, is a thing of beauty. And, I could literally watch him give Brooks famous speech every day for the rest of my life.
15. The TV show, “The League”: It’s been off the air for a couple years now, but had a six season run. It’s on DVD, and I thoroughly recommend it. Some of the writers from Seinfeld were the creators of the show, about a group of friends who play in a fantasy football league. It is pure genius.
16. TV shows anti-heroes: Walter White and Tony Soprano changed the face of TV forever. It’s never been more fun to root for the bad guy.
17. Movies set in Boston: Here’s to “The Fighter”, “The Town”, “The Departed”, “Mystic River”, “Black Mass”…etc, and the granddaddy of them all, “Good Will Hunting”: “How do you like them apples?!?”
18. And, the actors who do bad Boston accents in those movies: I cringe every time I hear Martin Sheen try to do a Boston accent in “The Departed”, and listening to Jack Nicholson say the word “Gloucester” is no picnic either...but it makes my thankful for growing up in Boston; because they say imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
Follow me on twitter @camcamelot
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