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“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.”

– John F. Kennedy

As a kid, going to Sunday school, I noticed a pattern in my praying. I realized that my most fervent and heartfelt prayers were coming down the pipe when I felt the most in need. Right about the time that started not sitting so well for me, a teacher there gave a lesson about gratitude and thanks. For the first time in a long time, maybe the first time in my life, when I got down on my knees that night, I simply said a prayer about all of the things I was grateful for. It was one of the more powerful moments of my young life. It shifted my outlook from the things I wanted to the things I had. Walking through your world feeling rich instead of wanting was a seismic shift.

It’s one of the reasons Thanksgiving weekend is one of my favorite holidays of the year. In addition to a healthy addiction to green bean casserole, stuffing, and the most tryptophan-y turkey I can lay my hands on, I truly love focusing on all of the great things in my life, even if it’s been a tough year. Getting my mind on all I have to be grateful for can turn even the toughest of years around.

Oh, and football. Lots and lots of football. Hard to decide if I’m more thankful for turkey skin or pigskin. I guess it really depends on how my bird and the games turn out.

I’m so thankful to live in a state that gives me a local crush on football, basketball, hockey, and baseball, let alone soccer, lacrosse, a plethora of compelling college sports, and so much more. If you can’t find a sport to attach your heart to in colorful Colorado, you may not be much of a sports fan.

I’m thankful for a Denver Broncos team that keeps playing their hearts out during one of the most injury-filled and uneven seasons in recent memory. While they aren’t the world-beaters the most positive fans had hoped they might be, they still slug it out week over week, whether shockingly beating the Cowboys or shockingly falling to the Steelers, the Broncos are still giving what they have week in and week out, and still sit at .500 10 weeks into the season.

I’m thankful for a Colorado Rockies team that finds compelling talent and stories even after losing their Story. The emergence of C.J. Cron, Connor Joe, German Marquez, and many more is a happy side of a club that has seen some loss of some all-time greats over the last few seasons.

I’m thankful for a Colorado Avalanche squad that has faced a ton of adversity out of the gates this season and are still putting up a 10-5-1 record without one of their most important players on the ice in Nathan MacKinnon. That their troubles in the early going might actually be the refiner’s fire that gets them over the hump in this year’s postseason.

I’m thankful for a Denver Nuggets team that has the current league MVP in Nikola Jokic, with a strengthening cast of characters filling in some blanks while two more of their superstars heal. To get to see one of the more unique and original players in the league’s  history playing in his prime.

I’m thankful for a Colorado Rapids team that had a record-setting Cinderella type season, even if that season ended too quickly in the postseason. The Rapids rapidly became one of the more compelling stories in the MLS during the second half of the regular season, and they wooed a lot of new fans in the bargain.

I’m thankful for a Colorado Mammoth lacrosse team that is one of the most consistent postseason performers in Colorado sports, having made it to the next round in 16 of their 17 seasons in town.

I’m thankful for great sports programs at CU, CSU, Air Force, UNC, DU, and in CHSAA sports across the state. For a winter sports wonderland that produces some of the finest Olympic athletes in the country, and sees those same athletes practice here. For an altitude that helps train some of the finest runners and endurance athletes in the world. For so damned many days of sunshine in which to play, compete, and watch.

I’m thankful for a cast of personalities and friends at DNVR that put out such compelling and community-building content across so many facets of Colorado sports.

And I’m so damned thankful for that community, and you, a part of the DNVR family. I’m thankful that we all can be a part of something a little bigger in a moment where hope, happiness, and community are an important part of getting through every single day. I’m hoping that you and yours were together and happy in this moment for family and gratitude.

As we sail into the rest of the holiday season with football, basketball, hockey, and lacrosse all in full bloom, here’s thanks for so many moments of fun and entertainment from across the Colorado sports spectrum. If you’re a homer, there is so damned much to be thankful for nearly every night.

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