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Giving Thanks For Opportunity

Ah, Thanksgiving.  The one true American holiday where everyone, regardless of race, religion or creed, come together to celebrate and give thanks for the simple fact of being American.  It is a holiday chock full of tradition, turkey and football as well as the holiday that allows us to eat leftovers that have gone more stale then Vincent Chase’s movie career.  But most importantly, it is a holiday about family and rekindling the bonds of loved ones that are dispersed throughout the year.

One of my favorite parts about Thanksgiving is watching football with my Grandfather as he reminisces about his gridiron glory days as a state champion fullback and brief stint with the New York University Football team, a typical New Jersey scene that oozes of Bruce Springsteen.  Before he made the more practical decision to hang up his shoulder pads and focus on his Stern School of Business studies full time, my Grandfather had the honor to play Football for the Violets on the hallowed landscape of the Polo Grounds and Yankee Stadium.  Not only would the stories be about himself, but about the time period that encompassed that special time in his life.  As I listened to my Grandfather, I would often wonder: What stories will I be telling my grandchildren in 50 years?

Obviously being a 23 year old, I have many, many years before I settle down with one woman and even consider the possibility of children (sorry ladies).  But when I hear my Grandfather’s tales of playing in such legendary facilities it is hard to think about telling my children how visiting the Bank of America Presents: Yankee Stadium or watching the construction the Prudential Center or even the memories I possess from the Continental Airlines Arena/Izod Center will be viable.  The events that unfold in such venues give them that legendary status, so it may take a while to reach that mythical stratosphere…and I understand that.  It just seems that corporate partnerships have taken away some of the mystique and aura these buildings have become accustomed to.

However, we are currently living through extraordinary and historical times and one thing is for certain, the future me will have an abundance of stories to tell his grandchildren based on November 2008 alone.  Think about it.  As a country and society we have seen more “firsts” over the course of one month then in any other time period that I can recall.

Politically, the United States has elected it’s first African-American president, something that was looked upon as virtually impossible 50, 25, or even 10 years ago.  But President-elect Obama is not the only minority to to break the threshold of his or her respected profession this month.  Eric Holder, Obama’s senior legal advisor, has been tapped to become Attorney General of the United States.  If approved, Mr. Holder will become the first African-American Attorney General of the United States.  In addition, Bill Richardson has been nominated by President-elect Obama to be the first Latino Secretary of Commerce.  So far it seems as though Barack Obama has made good with his promise to bring change and progression.

Sports, even more so than politics, leads the way when it comes to pushing the proverbial envelope.  During this past month Major League Baseball, which has a long tradition of barrier breaking, saw the hiring of the first Asian-American Manager, as Don Wakamatsu was hired to replace Jim Riggleman at the reigns of the Seattle Mariners.  And although it pains me to say, it certainly is a testament to dreaming big as the minuscule Dustin Pedroia received the American League Most Valuable Player award.  As a die-hard Yankee fan I hate the 5 foot 7 second baseman, but as a baseball fan, you cannot dispute the fact that he plays the game hard and he plays it well.  I am sure many other firsts have occurred this month, but these are the ones that stick out in the realm of sports and politics.

So as I am sitting around the Thanksgiving table in 50 years looking back on this month, I hope my grandchildren will appreciate the month of November 2008 as much as I have.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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