There is a girl who dreams big dreams in her head. And with a little planning and the help of many, those big dreams come to life.
Like the help from the school secretary who fills out her paperwork for her because the girl forgot to pick it up in time. And the high school teacher who does free promotional work on the school website and by word of mouth. And from the school board who gives her permission to use their expensive technology and agrees to paint lines on the football field even though the season ended a month and half ago.
And from the men and women from an 18 year span of attending the same school who file through the registration table with donation money in hand. Some have peeled themselves out of bed after a night of drinking with friends. Some have kissed their children's heads as they flip on the Macy's Day Parade. And most have had a "you better be back in time for dinner" lingering in their ears from mothers and wives alike who stay back to keep the rest of the day from unraveling. The same ones who leave cold and sore with mud and sweat on their clothes.
And from the announcer (who has never announced a game in her life) who yells over the intercom, "And a great catch by the blue team," while the refs and players all shake their heads and smile by her cheerful, albeit unconventional, commentary.
And the help from the volunteers who show up to help make the day happen...even if they are 9 months pregnant, or even if they learn how to use the scoreboard only five minutes before kick-off, or even if they have a 2 hour drive home later that morning, or even if they have a bum knee.
And the custodians who show up on their day off (a holiday!) to open the school, and lay out the field markers, and then they stay to support the players before cleaning and locking up. The same ones who enthusiastically responded, "Gray!" when the cheerleaders chanted, "When I say Blue, you say Gray.."
And the fans who come to support, throwing money in the donation bin even though its free admission, and bundling up their own children in as much winter clothes as possible, and sitting on cold bleachers even if they never went to our school or even if they aren't related to any of the participants.
And her own family who are always the first to register and who are flexible with the volunteer jobs requested of them - not because they kind of have to but because they want to.
And the help from her husband who sent mass texts the night before seeking refs and to remind players of what time to show up. The same husband who helps carry heavy boxes and tables to and from the car, who supports her big dreams in her head, and when those big dreams make her worry he's the one that says, "it's going to be good, babe. you need to trust yourself."
And as this girl watched everyone shake hands and pack up their things and make their way home to their families and dinner, she takes a moment for some of her own thanksgiving. Isn't this what the holiday is about? Coming together with people you know (and some that you don't) to give thanks for the good things in your life. Like a supportive community, and strong bones, and laughter, and old friends, and new friends, believing in yourself, learning new things, and giving back to a place that helped you grow.
especially to those that remind me of what thanksgiving is supposed to be about.