Rozner: Finding the happy in Thanksgiving

  • Daily Herald file photoForty years ago it was mostly about running back Walter Payton when it came to the Chicago Bears. A victory was a bonus.

    Daily Herald file photoForty years ago it was mostly about running back Walter Payton when it came to the Chicago Bears. A victory was a bonus.

Updated 11/25/2020 5:32 PM

The Dave Williams 95-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in overtime.

That's it. That's all I got.


As I tried to remember something happy about Thanksgiving from my youth, that's what I came up with -- and I took several days to ponder.

Kinda pathetic, right?

Seems there was a triple-header hockey tournament around the age of 12, but we didn't win, and there were many Turkey Bowl games that didn't end well.

So, yeah, it's Dave Williams in 1980.

I drove to Detroit in a blizzard that Thursday morning to see the Bears, surviving a faded yellow, 10-year-old, rusted-out Ford Maverick.

Let's face it, 40 years ago it was mostly about Walter Payton. The win was a bonus.

It doesn't take a career psychologist to know these are the sounds of a damaged individual, someone who didn't quite experience the Hallmark Channel movies at home.

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But really, who among us isn't damaged? You don't sit around and whine when you can fix the generational mistakes and ensure it stops at the door.

Except now, unless you're a billionaire who can send your family anywhere you want on your private jet, 2020 has brought previously unimaginable harm and worry, financial disaster and physical injury to tens of millions.

It will be hard for many to find the happy in this Thanksgiving.

There is, however, solace in keeping the search close and nearest to ground, as it's in family that you find the greatest wealth and the gift of gratitude. Even in Orwellian times, if you're fortunate enough to be with those that matter most, it's what makes a holiday a holiday.

And for that we give thanks.

We also have sports on the menu as leagues fight through the pandemic, most commissioners of the mind that they will do whatever necessary to keep the games playing, albeit in less-than perfect conditions.


If nothing else, the Bears serve as a distraction.

The PGA Tour never stops, flipping off the virus weekly and moving to the next city.

The NBA is a month away.

The NHL might begin sometime in January, a schedule and format TBD, but hockey is hockey and it will be welcomed with open arms.

Baseball can't announce much of anything until owners and players agree on how and when to open next season, but rest assured there will be baseball.

The Cubs have some agonizing decisions to make in the weeks and months to come, and though the arrow is pointing in the wrong direction, the division remains soft and available. No matter what happens, you got your title and that should offer some comfort.

In spite of the absurd Tony La Russa decision, the White Sox are green and talented and they will be adding pieces this winter to a roster that should contend for several years. The future is very bright.

Meanwhile, young athletes have had their seasons stolen from them and there is no consolation for that. Reconciling the end when there was no game to play is a cruel joke.

These lockdowns have been especially hard on the young and the elderly, a reminder that you can't waste any days on the nonsensical when there are those around you filled with good and discovering the decent.

Time is not your enemy. On the contrary, it is the most precious asset there is and wasting any of it on evil charlatans -- with blank resumes that feature anger and jealousy -- is not only negligent, but it gives the malevolent the only thing that fills an empty existence.

So, that's how you survive this, by leaning on what's good, on your children, siblings, parents and friends. That's the gratitude that keeps you moving forward.

This will not last forever. Soon enough we will have the freedom to live again, to breathe fresh air, to work and travel, to see friends and family, offering many reasons to give thanks.

There is always good in what might be next, and to see it you need only a willingness to open your eyes.

In the meantime, YouTube offers a football wormhole -- and a Thanksgiving game from 1980.

Listen, you take the happy memories where you can get them.

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