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A Guide to Surviving...

A Guide to Surviving Thanksgiving Sports

Got game? Nearly 400 years after the first Thanksgiving occurred at Plymouth, this is still the question. But you know I’m not talking about the Wampanoags bagging turkeys for the first harvest potluck. My reference is to the endless football and basketball games that compete for our sports fans’ attentions during the four-day holiday marathon. Put that together with intense cleaning/cooking/entertaining, round-the-clock childcare and frequently dysfunctional family reunions and what’s a Sports Widow to do?

I’m not so worried about the Avenging, Sabotaging and Enabling Sports Widows. Their strategies are pretty straightforward. They go something like this:

It’s unlikely that any sports fans will be joining The Avenging Sports Widow this Thanksgiving. They’ve either fled and entered a Fan Protection Program or they’re fertilizing her garden. She’ll probably have a peaceful gathering with non-sports-loving friends, her cats, AMC, and Dr. Phil.

After The Sabotaging Sports Widow has finished cooking the meal, she’ll engineer a mystifying power outage that debilitates the televisions in the house or she’ll deploy her secret weapon—a TV-B-Gone remote—which she deftly conceals in her apron pocket.

The Enabling Sports Widow will actually give the television a place of honor at the head of the table, complete with a place setting. And, she’ll place the remote—mongrammed with her fan’s inititals—on a Lazy-Susan at the center so that everyone can have a turn. Question: Why is there a Lazy Susan and no La-Z-Girl? I think it’s because La-Z-Girl would be an oxymoron.

As for The Compromising Sports Widows, their path is less clear, but here are some ideas.

Remember, you’re not alone. The Pilgrims had the Wampanoags. You have teammates. Did you know there are at least 40 million Sports Widows in this country alone?

Establish some ground rules. Before Thursday is in your headlights, a road-kill-waiting-to-happen, determine your sports viewing tolerance level. Review the TV sports schedule with your Sports Fan/s and identify the most important games. He/she may resent this, but it’s critical if you don’t want TV sports to permeate your Thanksgiving like gravy on a flattened mound of mashed potatoes.

Employ a policy of containment. Dang these open floor plans. In the houses with a Great Room, it’s nearly impossible to escape the drone of TV sports. If this is your situation, consider temporarily moving your TV to another location. Or, make a pact that TV viewing will mostly occur in a secondary location so it doesn’t compete with social activities.

The cranberry relish—a group activity. I love movies and have had a Movie Club for over fifteen years now, so I plan to find a good family movie. I’ll also mobilize the troops for a walk. I used to work at our local Woodland Park Zoo and many families have a tradition of walking its grounds during the holidays.

Throw your fan a bone—make one concession. Consider this a part of a burgeoning Sports Literacy program. Ask your Sports Fan to recommend one exciting game to watch. You don’t have to sit through the whole thing. Just make a point of asking a few questions about the game, the players, or the rivalry, if there is one. Or, on the more active side, challenge your group to a game of flag football (but use scarves instead; it’s more feminine). But go easy on the aging Weekend Warriors and their brittle bones.

The dollop of whipped cream—schedule alone time or time with friends. I like to go to Starbuck’s for a Grande Soy Chai—no water, please. Afterwards, I can go on a Walk and Talk with a friend along Alki Beach, which is located on Eliott Bay in Seattle.

What are your survival tips?

Life is a Contact Sport. Seize the Remote. Reclaim the Recliner. Get in the Game. Get Out of the Game ... Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

The Sports Widow (aka Nan Hall)