Nov. 25, 2008
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I've heard "Have a good Thanksgiving!", "Have a safe flight!", and "Drive carefully!" more times than I can count this week. In addition to the four day weekend granted by the University, the majority of people's classes for the week are cancelled. People want to get home and be with the people that they love.
Things are a little different in McKale. Most student-athletes have mandatory workouts to attend before they can get home. The computer lab has been busy with athletes that are trying to finish up classes--this semester is coming to a quick finish. After workouts conclude on Wednesday afternoon, most athletes will sneak away for the long weekend and return to a workout on Monday morning.
And then there's the swim team. Home is not an option this Thanksgiving. We are in the middle of preparations for Texas Invitational, which we will leave for next Wednesday. Missing a practice right now would throw things off; it wouldn't be worth sacrificing all of the work that has already been done.
So instead of flying home to those I love in Indy, I will be spending my Thanksgiving with my Tucson family at Coach Busch's house. Thanksgiving at Frank's house is usually best described in one word: comical. We're all assigned different food items to bring. For the men, it's usually something they can buy. As magical as a frozen pizza would be on Thanksgiving, we try to do it right. A lot of the women sign up to make all the foods that make the day what it is--pumpkin pies, cranberry salads, stuffing... the works.
We will all show up at the Busch's home on Thursday with our various food items in tow. We will hesitate to try the creations of our teammates--thinking of Jessica Embick and Leone Vorster in the kitchen together can be a little scary--and be pleasantly surprised to find out that everything has turned out right.
Afterwards, we will battle each other in different board games. Things get a little crazy here. The house will be full of more than 30 coaches and athletes who don't take board games lightly. On our team, everybody wants to win.
As the day progresses, it's funny to watch people sit around, watching football, stuffed to the brim. Last year, we caught Augie Busch nodding off in front of the TV. Being at Frank's house is what Thanksgiving is about. It's bringing together the best of what's around and celebrating with the people with whom you share your life with.
I will miss Indiana, but I am thankful for the open arms of my teammates and coaches in Arizona.
Happy Thanksgiving and Bear Down!!