From the Edge

So many sports, so many blessings

On this Thanksgiving weekend, there are some things we can all be thankful for: family, friends, freedom, etc.

For us sports fans, though, many of our bountiful blessings are a bit more narrow in scope.

They include such life-and-death things as a win over a rival, bragging rights over a buddy and at least finishing above your mom and dog in the NCAA tournament pool.

As for yours truly, I have an ever-growing list of my own. For the items below, I simply ask that you silently say “I am thankful” before each one. Much more effective that way. And much less redundant than me typing that phrase 78 times …

– I didn’t grow up cheering for any of the pro teams around here. For you locals, has it ever been this bad at any one moment in time? Please come back, Sharks. You’re the Bay Area’s only hope. The excitement over the big Omar Vizquel signing can only last so long.

– I’m not the rims at The Oakland Arena. I mean, honestly, there’s only so much abuse one can take.

– I’m not the one counting on a Christmas bonus from John York.

– My NFL team isn’t coached by Dennis Erickson or Norv Turner. The recycle-a-coach program continues to work wonders, doesn’t it?

– My NFL team didn’t embarrass itself on national television by wearing its Halloween uniform on Thanksgiving Day. Tell me you saw the Bears the other day. And please tell me you saw those “quarterbacks.” Instead of worrying about the throwback uniforms, don’t you think the Bears should maybe learn how to get the throwforward thing down pat? That’s kind of essential.

– I’m not in a job where I have to sell Holiday Bowl tickets to not-so-rosy Cal fans.

– I’m not in a job where I have to sell courtside seats to basketball games in Detroit.

– I don’t live in Detroit.

– I wasn’t the Artest family member who had to tell Ron that other people at Thanksgiving dinner wanted mashed potatoes, too.

– I don’t usually acknowledge hockey’s existence until the end of March Madness. If I did, I guess these wouldn’t be very fun times now. Don’t worry, though – they’ll be plenty of reasons to cheer by around 2006. The Sharks will have just started back, the Warriors will be the favorites to win the Draft Lottery and the Niners will be winding up Rebuilding the Franchise, Part Deux. I can hardly wait.

– I am a Cubs fan. No seriously, it’s really fun. Just great. Wonderful. So fulfilling.

– I’m not going to San Francisco Sunday to cover the Niners-Dolph … oh wait … apparently I am. Damn.

– I’m not going to San Francisco Sunday to cover the Niners-Dolphins for either team’s official Web site. So in other words, I can cover the battle for the No. 1 pick objectively and meanly. Mmmwwaahahaha.

– I’m not the only one who took Kevan Barlow fairly high in a fantasy football draft. If you’re feeling the same pain, there is help out there. And there are others just like you. Our support group meets every Sunday night at the Chili’s bar.

– I don’t have to attend the Artest meetings that take place up at the Golden Gate Bridge.

– You made it all the way through a column that includes so many “I’s.” I am impressed. I promise it won’t happen again. I don’t like to talk about myself. I swear.

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