This week in HS Sports: Entering His gates with Thanksgiving this week and always

4 months ago

This is an opinion piece.

Thanksgiving is near the top of my favorite holidays.

What’s not to like? Family, food, football, a day off (please no high school seniors commit today).

Seriously, I hope you all find something to be thankful for this week.

I know I have plenty on my list.

I have family and friends – near and far – who love and support me. I have a job that allows me to promote young athletes and tell their inspiring stories, and supervisors who trust me to do just that. Most of all, I serve a Lord, who – as my pastor said last week – is the embodiment and definition of goodness.

I’m thankful for those things and so much more not just today or this week, but every day – even the tough days.

Here are some other things I’m thankful for this year, some serious and some not as much.

1. My wife and I were able to take our 11-year-old son Jayden to his first Auburn football game last weekend. He loved the pageantry of college football. Of course, when a friend asked him what he liked best, he said, “They actually won.” (And it goes without saying that I’m most thankful for a beautiful and Godly wife).

2. I’m really thankful for guys like Dennis Victory, Mike Perrin, John Vella, Randy Kennedy, Mike Kittrell, Scott Donaldson, Darron Patterson, Jimmy Lay, Bobby Matthews, Drew Champlin, Skip Vaughn, Cameron Buford, Jimmy Wigfield, Julie Bennett, Evan Dudley and so many others across the state who volunteer their time for a small amount of pay to cover high school sports with me. You guys are my heroes. We couldn’t do it without you.

3. I’m thankful Bret Michaels and Poison still tour every now and then. (This might should be higher than No. 3 actually).

4. I’m thankful that I’m not eating my Thanksgiving dinner this year at Shoney’s – not that there is anything wrong with that. However, I have vivid memories of spending my first Thanksgiving away from my family (my parents and brothers) in Montgomery. I was covering the Turkey Day Classic that day and hit up the Shoney’s Thanksgiving buffet before I went. The food was fine, but it seemed like I was much further from home than I actually was. (Side note: I’m also incredibly thankful that my parents, Don and Rachel Thomas, are still with us and still providing guidance and love at every turn).

5. I’m thankful for coaches in our state who spend endless hours pouring into our young people on and off the playing fields but still have time to take (or return) my phone calls, emails or text messages.

6. I’m thankful the Iron Bowl is not on Thanksgiving Day but the Egg Bowl is.

7. I’m thankful for the relationships that we as high school sports reporters are able to build with student-athletes, a bond that often carries on long after their high school careers are over. (In my career, I’ve been able to build a bond with players from Patrick Nix to Carnell Williams to Tyler Johnston to Riley Leonard and so many others). Thank you.

8. I’m thankful the Braves will always be 2021 World Champions. I’ll be even more thankful if they re-sign Dansby Swanson.

9. I’m thankful for the 1980s and Seinfeld repeats. Enough said.

10. I’m certainly thankful for those who still read my work and the work of my colleagues both at and those who cover high school sports for other organizations. I’m thankful for the emails I receive, both critical and complimentary. It’s been a great blessing in my life to spend most of my sports journalism career in Gadsden, Montgomery and now Mobile/Daphne.

Thank you. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Thought for the Day

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” – Psalm 100: 4

Ben Thomas is the high school sportswriter at He has been named one of the 50 legends of the Alabama Sports Writers Association. Follow him on twitter at @BenThomasPreps or email him at [email protected] His weekly column is posted each Wednesday and Friday on He can be heard weekly on “Inside High School Sports” on SportsTalk 99.5 FM in Mobile or on the free IHeart Radio App at 2 p.m. Wednesdays.

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