I am a football fan but not a fanatic. College or professional, most weeks during the season I’m content to find out the scores and watch the highlights on ESPN. There’s only one occasion on which I feel like I must have football and that is Thanksgiving Day. “But why?”, the purists might ask. “What does football have to do with giving thanks?” The short answer is if Thanksgiving has a big enough tent to accommodate an enormous, inflated SpongeBob balloon, well then, there’s room for football too.
If you insist on a longer answer, according to the Pro Football Hall of Fame‘s website, many high schools and colleges played football games on Thanksgiving Day, a tradition that has “faded into oblivion”. I seem to remember hearing my mother talk of how there used to be a “Turkey Bowl” game played every Thanksgiving by some of the men in my home town. The point is, I guess, there is precedent, however ancient.
The Detroit Lions have remained at the forefront of the Turkey Day football tradition. The Lions have played on every Thanksgiving Day since 1934 with the exception of the war years of 1939 through 1944. Considering the Lions’ mostly woeful performances since the 1950’s, it’s kind of nice to think that for one day a year, even if viewers are only too zonked out on tryptophan to change the channel, the eyes of America are on the Detroit Lions.
After your leftovers are gone you might want to check out the following items available through the DeKalb County Library System:
Participating in the upcoming Literacy Alliance of Metropolitan Atlanta’s 5K Run or Walk in Decatur at 8 AM on Saturday, September 24 is a no brainer for many reasons. First, you can select DeKalb County Public Library as your choice to receive 70% of the $20 registration fee—a real boon for us in this year of dramatically cut county budgets. Also, you can get some exercise with your family or friends—either running or walking all or part of the 5k route through downtown Decatur. Most importantly, you’ll help raise awareness and promote interest in the wide spectrum of literacy needs in our communities. If you won’t be in town or available at that time, you can register as a “phantom” walker to lend needed support.
What else can you do?
- Talk up this event with everyone and be sure to tell them to check DCPL on their registration to receive the incentive funds—otherwise, we won’t!
- Register now on-line at www.literacyallianceatlanta.org—cost goes up after the 22nd.
- Use this opportunity to let those you care about know you are interested in supporting the literacy needs of our community—especially those of adults and families. This media moment gives us a chance to highlight the fact that work readiness and GED completion is even more critical in this economy.
If you have questions please call Literacy Services at 404.370.8450 ext. 2240.
I have to admit that I’m not much of a sports fan, but I’ve always had a soft spot for soccer. Other than teeball, soccer (or football, to the rest of the world) was the only “league” sport I ever participated in, and while I was certainly not the best player around, I have fond memories of my experiences. That probably has a lot to do with my interest in the 2011 Women’s World Cup. Normally I have little use for televised sports, but I can really get into these games. Right now we are right in the middle of the World Cup, which runs from June 26 through July 17 and is being hosted in Germany. You can find out more at the official FIFA website. You can also peruse our collection of books on the subject, such as The Simplest Game: The Intelligent Fan’s Guide to the World of Soccer by Paul Gardner, or The Best of Pro Soccer by Heather Adamson.
I don’t come from horse country so none of the major thoroughbred races held in the spring are that important to me. Unless some horse is closing in on something historic, like the Triple Crown, I’m content to find out who the winners are after the fact. This year, however, a friend decided to hold a Kentucky Derby Party so nine or ten of us gathered at her house, downed a complimentary mint julep and commenced picking our horses. I knew right away that I would have a difficult time of it. My first criteria is whether the horse has a cool name and none of these horses had a name that was very cool or clever. Since a racing form looks like Martian calculus to me, I had to fall back on other means of choosing. I’ve always enjoyed the Dos Equis beer commercials featuring the “Most Interesting Man in the World” so I picked Stay Thirsty to win. I liked that Comma to the Top had a form of punctuation in his name so I picked him to finish second, willfully ignoring the fact that the name also sounded like complete gibberish. Finally, I allowed sentiment to dictate my last pick. Jockey Calvin Borel had ridden the last two Kentucky Derby winners and had a chance to win his third in a row. Because of that I chose his horse, Twice the Appeal, for third place. I wasn’t the only person to make my picks in a less than expert manner. At least a couple of people chose the horse whose trainer is a woman who underwent a heart transplant, while others picked the horse with the lone female jockey in the field. In other words, there’s a lot to consider.
It took a while but, after much pageantry and parading, the horses were settled and then burst out of the starting gate. I was thrilled to see that at the half way point Comma to the Top was holding on in second place, right where I’d picked him! After that, however, all was a blur of horses surging forward and dropping back until the pack crossed the finish line. Stay Thirsty finished in twelfth and Twice the Appeal in tenth. Comma to the Top, the only horse I chose whose name had even been mentioned during the race, finished nineteenth, which is a nicer way of saying dead last. I thought that his name might more accurately be changed to Period since he showed up at the very end of a long list of names.
Next year I’ll try making my selections based on the colors the jockey is wearing. In the meantime, there is still one more big race coming up. Readers interested in more information about the races that make up the Triple Crown may want to consider checking out the following books:
The Super Bowl is now over so the baseball fans among us will soon hear the terse yet soothing sentence “Pitchers and catchers report.” These four words, more than the appearance of robins or crocuses, tell us that spring and the return of baseball are truly not far off. Fortunately, for those of us who live in the south, neither are they very far away. Approximately 500 miles separates Atlantans from the spring training sites of numerous American and National League teams, including our own Atlanta Braves.
For the baseball fan spring training offers some very satisfying moments that the regular season can’t. The first, and most obvious, is a chance to enjoy genuine spring weather while the calendar still says it’s winter. Friends back home are still wearing coats and checking the weather reports for snow but you are wearing shorts and checking to make sure you brought sun block. (And you should! It isn’t usually very hot but the sun it still strong.)
Another treat is the sense that you are getting an insider look at the baseball season before it begins; sort of like being able to watch rehearsals for a Broadway production from the wings. All the legends and rookies and free agents are arrayed before you. Watch them perform and guess who the next star will be! You’ll know before anyone back home.
Are you a people person? You’ll find that everyone sitting around you is a fan just like you so the ice is already broken! You might be sharing your row with a family from Minnesota or some young women from Toronto or an older man who just happens to be from very near your home town. It doesn’t matter. Everyone has stories to tell and reminiscences to share. You may not be there to root for the Cleveland Indians but you’re part of a tribe nonetheless.
Still not convinced? Well, the ball parks are smaller, autographs and foul balls are easier to get and tickets and concessions are less expensive than at the regular season games. But if you still need a nudge, consider these books which are available at your Dekalb County Public Library system.
If you are then I suggest you get yourself off to a baseball game. Not the Braves, at least not the Atlanta Braves–nothing against the Braves, it’s just that I still haven’t gotten over the 1992 season. No, what you need if you’re stressed is minor league ball. Luther Williams field in Macon will always hold the place in my heart as the perfect baseball park. It’s the place where I learned it is possible to buy boiled peanuts with one’s beer. It’s also where I saw a lot of the guys now in the majors when they were still wet behind the ears. Minor league ball is where you’ll find young families out for a nice evening as well as the serious guy who’s scoring the game. Perhaps the best part, for me, is that moment when the sun has dropped, the sky is that gorgeous shade of blue-black and then suddenly the smell of the dew hitting the grass is all around. I cannot think of a better way to spend a nice June evening than by measuring it out in strikes and hits. Georgia is rife with minor league teams, but if you can’t get to a game try out these titles.
The Southern League: Baseball in Dixie by Bill O’Neal
Not-So-Minor Leagues by Douglas and Kathleen Gay
Small Town Heroes: Images of Minor League Baseball by Hank Davis
Stolen Season by David Lamb
I often have questions come to me about information concerning a variety of people. The Library has a wonderful resource called Biography Resource Center. I have found that if the person is even remotely famous, you can find information about him/her in this resource.
The type of information available ranges from short biographical entries to very detailed biographical information. Biography Resource Center often provides links to magazine articles. If you have a library card with us, you can access this resource 24/7 using your library card and PIN number. It is located on our Reference Database page under the History and Biography section.
To answer my original question, Brett Favre is a quarterback who has been playing professional football since 1991. He has played for the Atlanta Falcons (drafted), Green Bay Packers, New York Jets and the Minnesota Vikings. Want to know more about Brett Favre? Check out the Biography Resource Center. Of course, we also have a few biographies about him if you want a more detailed account about his life.