Giving thanks for sports

AP Photo/Marco Garcia

Stanford spent the weekend in Hawaii, upending defending NCAA champion Baylor, as well as Tennessee-Martin and host Hawaii to win the Jack in the Box Rainbow Wahine Classic.

What in the sports world are you thankful for?

Vastly improved women's sports exposure

By Mechelle Voepel

I am extremely thankful for the technological advances and increased number of broadcast platforms that, combined, allow us to watch so many sports outside those most popular with the mainstream. This has been crucial in giving needed visibility to women's sports.

This past weekend, NCAA women's basketball, volleyball, soccer and field hockey all could be viewed either on television or online.

I was very appreciative, for instance, that I could close out a busy viewing Friday by watching Minnesota-Nebraska volleyball on the Big Ten Network via DVR, which followed online viewing of Baylor-Stanford women's hoops, Stanford-UCLA volleyball and USC-Cal volleyball.

I grew up when NCAA women's team sports were just getting started and virtually never televised. Over the years, with women's basketball leading the way, televised games gradually began to increase. But it's been a long process for women's sports fans who felt for years as if so much happened that we just never had a chance to see. So I won't ever take for granted having all these televised and online options.

But I am actually glad some folks are taking that for granted. There was a lot of griping that Stanford's upset over Baylor -- which was Friday afternoon Hawaii time, and early evening on the East Coast -- was not televised. People have just come to expect big-name women's hoops matchups should be available for viewing. That's progress.

Hometown team bringing family together

By Kate Fagan

The New York Giants. And not because, in the past few years, they've given us reason to be thankful for them. But simply because their existence makes me closer to my family.

It used to be every Sunday we would all watch the game together -- it was the most important few hours of the weekend, what we all looked forward to. Back then, the Giants didn't give us much more to cheer for than your average NFL team. They made the playoffs some years, missed them other years.

Today, now that we are all older and live in separate cities, we hop on a joint text string every Sunday. The first text usually says "Go Big Blue" and then we take it from there, exchanging messages through the final play.

Of course, family tradition is one of the best things about sports. (In my opinion, the best thing.) I inherited New York Giants fandom, and with that comes a weekly date to catch up with my family and do something -- enjoy Giants football games -- that we all have in common.

Unmatched atmosphere of sports in Chicago

By Melissa Isaacson

I'm thankful for sports cities like Chicago. No, I'm thankful for Chicago, where we talk about Bears training camp in March and spring training in November, and not just talk, but rant and argue and wish for things we have no business wishing for.

I'm thankful to live in a city where fans can rattle off the '74 Bears offensive line just as easily as the '05 White Sox batting order; where the NHL lockout matters but where we can and actually do still enjoy watching the four-time AHL champion Wolves.

I'm thankful to live in a place with the best art museums and symphony and comedy and jazz, the same place that, on most fall Sundays, still comes together to curse the current Bears offensive coordinator.

There is no explaining the kind of passion that made grown men weep over Derrick Rose's blown knee. No faking it, either. In Chicago, it is passed through generations, a part of us before we understand how or why. But you can't fully appreciate the highs unless you have experienced the lows. And so I am as thankful for witnessing the unrequited love of Cubs fans as the unadulterated joy of a Super Bowl victory, six NBA titles, a Stanley Cup and a World Series championship over the past 27 years.

I am thankful to make my living writing sports in a city like Chicago. No, I'm thankful for Chicago.

Challenges of being a fan and sports writer

By Graham Hays

I am thankful for Saturday mornings with soccer, the chance to wake up early to watch multiple Premier League games before noon and watch a sport for nothing more than entertainment. For the same reasons, as a Fulham fan, I'm thankful for Dimitar Berbatov. … I'm thankful for the chance to experience the softball crowds in Tuscaloosa, the dual softball heavens that are the Cathedral City Classic and the Women's College World Series. … I'm thankful to have covered basketball games in Storrs and Knoxville, and especially thankful several of the latter came when Pat Summitt was the coach. I'm also thankful to have covered games at Green Bay, Marist, South Dakota State and a dozen places like them. … I'm thankful for the podcasts without which it would have been much more arduous to get to said places. … I'm thankful for crosses from Megan Rapinoe, catches by Caitlin Lowe, jumpers from Maya Moore and all of the things athletes do that challenge me to find the right words with which to describe them.

Long list of thankfulness

By Amanda Rykoff

There is much to be thankful for in the sports world this Thanksgiving. It's a great time to be a sports fan. Here's my list, in no particular order:

Adrian Peterson's orthopedic surgeons. Stephen Strasburg's curveball. A Tony Romo fumble at the worst possible moment. Kevin Durant. High socks. Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. Serena Williams representing. Watching baseball on my phone from anywhere. Robbie Cano's sweet swing. Tim Tebow (kidding, just seeing if you're paying attention). March Madness. The UCLA-USC football rivalry's return to relevance. Jimmy Graham touchdown slam dunks. My 3-year-old nephew asking to watch Michigan football. Bobbleheads. RG3. R.A. Dickey. Mariano Rivera. Von Miller being awesome. Chris Paul. The Red Zone Channel. B-A-N-A-N-A-S. 132 days to Opening Day 2013.

On appreciating the NBA

By Adena Andrews

This time last year writers were eating pizza in hotel lobbies while stalking Derek Fisher, Billy Hunter and Adam Silver for updates on the NBA lockout situation. This year we are celebrating Kevin Durant's first triple-double (what took him so long), Kyrie Irving's sophomore surge and Jeff Green annihilating folks with the dunk of the year. I'm thankful roundball is back in my life.

The lockout may have cost only 16 games, but it seemed like an eternity to hoop heads. It also cost us some of our favorite players to injury after an accelerated schedule and shortened training camp. So this year, when I want to complain about a referee's call or a player not pulling his weight on defense, I'll take a step back. Last year at this time complaining about missed layups wasn't even possible, so I won't take them for granted. Thanks.

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