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Thursday, February 9, 2023

Thanksgiving is a Time for Family…

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Each year, I attempt to write a reflective Thanksgiving story that has a sports connection. As a sports writer, I feel a sense of obligation to try to connect the holiday to the world of sports.

It is easy to connect sports to Thanksgiving. I have written stories in past years about, for example, the November 22, 1963 day of tragedy when President John F. Kennedy was asassinated, and how a controversial decision to go ahead and play the annual Army / Navy football game that weekend was made, in part, to help the nation move forward with a brief break from the grief of the sudden loss of a president.

Sports have helped us cope with numerous tragedies and periods of grief. In the early part of this decade, sports helped our nation move past the 9/11 terrorists’ attacks on New York City, Washington, DC, and Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

But this year is a little different for me as a writer. As I am writing this story, I am on vacation with my wife, mom, and dad. We are enjoying a rare opportunity to go out of town and enjoy five days together. It has been a great trip, and it has reminded me of how precious our time is and how we must remember that of everything we have going on in our lives, the most valuable thing we have is our love of each other and as a family. For the past few days, we have enjoyed life in “the bubble”, away from home and all of the problems, issues, work, etc, that dominate each of our lives.

But as we all know, we don’t live in a bubble. Life can be cruel and can affect us in the most harsh and uncaring ways at anytime. Family illness, hardships, disappointments, and even conflicts among us test our relationships every day.

But one thing I have always known, and always will, is that there is nothing more important than family. A beautiful and devoted wife, and a caring, loving, and always supportive mother and father are the biggest blessings in my life. And on this Thanksgiving holiday, as we spend time together, our trip has reminded me of how valuable my family is, and how much I dearly love each and every one of them.

But being thankful and appreciative is one thing; showing it every day is quite another. One of my biggest regrets in life is that I have always had the tendency to focus too much on work and career, while simultaneously not devoting enough attention to family. It has not been an intentional thing, but it has been a fact of life for me. Everyone is different, and we all live in different circumstances, but if I had one thing I could do differently in my life…if I could start all over and do one thing differently…it would be balancing my life more and making a better effort in being a better family member and showing the people around me whom I love so much, that I too love them. Not that I haven’t done that in the past, but, as much as my family means to me, I could have done much better than I have.

So, I am baring my soul to our readers to make just one point; on this Thanksgiving holiday, when our country pauses to give thanks for all of our blessings, take a moment, in your own way, to silently reflect, pray, or give an extra hug to the ones whom you love and count on the most. It doesn’t matter what else is going on around you, family is the one thing that is the most valuable asset in your life. For me, the lesson I have learned is that along with feeling appreciation for your family, it is equally important to be a good family member…being there for them, and being willing to admit shortcomings. Love is love, and if it is real, love can be forgiving, because the most important things is to love your family and to appreciate the love they show you. It has taken me well into my 60s to realize this, but, I guess I am just grateful that it finally dawned on me, regardless of my age.

So, on behalf of my family, and my extended family at the Resident News Network, whom I also love and am so grateful to have the opportunity to work with and to know as close friends, I wish you and your family a very safe and Happy Thanksgiving Day. And as my token of thanks and appreciation to all of you as readers and followers on our website, newspaper subscriptions, and on social media, I want to express to all of you how thankful, grateful, and appreciative I am of your kind comments and reactions to our work at RNN Sports. I hope you enjoy the photo of my family in this story and that it may serve as a reminder to you of your own family and their importance to each of you.

Happy Thanksgiving! May you have love and peace within you and your family on this very special holiday.

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Jim Best
Jim Best is a man of many talents. His storied career in Arkansas education led him to a new passion, and hidden gifts in sports journalism.
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