The real holiday season kicks off this Thursday with the American celebration of Thanksgiving. Everyone has their own opinions about the upcoming holiday. Some people look forward to the endless amounts of food. Others are up early running Thanksgiving Day themed road races, or putting the turkey in the oven for an early afternoon dinner.
You can't forget the traditional high school football rivalries that are played as well! I've gone to a few and it's always fun to see old friends, former players, coaches, football dads, and everyone cheering while clutching a hot or iced coffee from Dunkies.
In the Merrimack Valley Conference (Divisions I & II) Dracut vs. Methuen, Lawrence vs. Central Catholic, Haverhill vs. Lowell, Andover vs. North Andover, Tewksbury vs. Wilmington, and Billerica vs. Chelmsford. There's no better feeling as a player and fan for that matter to watch your team take home a "W," on Turkey Day. A particularly looked forward to match up is the rivalry between Dracut and Methuen. Dracut travels to Methuen this year for their 54th Thanksgiving Day match up looking for a win after five years of coming up short.
If you're not at the local football game, you may just be sleeping in, preparing for family obligations, or you're at the local 5k road races. The Feaster Five Thanksgiving Day Road Race in Andover, MA has been a Merrimack Valley tradition since 1987. With at least 10,000 runners, it is one of the largest races in Massachusetts and one of the largest Thanksgiving races in New England. I know a lot of the Central Catholic current and alumni cross country or track athletes run the race every year. You may know at least one person running in that race. So if you're looking to burn some calories and then reward yourself with a hefty plate of mashed potatoes and turkey, this is the place for you!
Following those games and races are typically brunch (at Shaw Farms possibly) and snacks before the big meal as well as watching football and hockey games on the television. In football, the Minnesota Vikings and the Detroit Lions are on at 12:30 p.m. ET. Afterward, the Thursday Night Football match up of The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts is at 8:30 p.m. ET. For hockey, the Carolina Hurricanes will take on the Montreal Canadiens and the Boston Bruins play the Ottawa Senators. Both games are to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Many people travel around for Thanksgiving, and it is predicted this year that it will be the busiest travel day yet. Hopefully it will be nothing like last year. Remember that 3-4 hour back up on the Mass Pike on Thanksgiving? Yeah, no thank you. Shout out to my parents for keeping it local so we don't have to drive all over kingdom come to have stale snacks that have probably been sitting out since dawn (kidding, but come now am I wrong?). For those who are traveling, just keep it relaxed and try to keep your inner Masshole at bay regardless if you deny you can be an angered driver (we all have our moments).
There are various events that happen on Thanksgiving back home that make it an exciting time of the year. For most of us away in college, it is the first time we'll see friends after the first couple of months away from home again. The evening before Thanksgiving (Wednesday), is a huge night to go out and meet up with friends. It's always great to catch up and see familiar faces you haven't seen in a while. I'm not wrong if I say Downtown Lowell will be a high school reunion for surrounding high schools at some bars Wednesday night.
In sum, I'm looking forward to heading home Wednesday morning. Get a couple days to breathe from work and the always unwelcomed black hole of college assignments. Go eat a ton of turkey, find the spot on the couch to avoid family members you may not want to socialize with, avoid tricky topics cough, cough politics. Also, just tell your nosey family members that your love life is with pizza, they'll just laugh even though you're serious and it probably is. If you don't look forward to these events, alcohol could be a problem solver (as long as you're not driving). For those not traveling home to see their families, I bet they still love you and look forward to seeing you on the next holiday, or when the time comes.
For me, I will be dressed up, but also curled into a ball on the couch eating from dawn until dusk with spiked eggnog from Shaw Farms in Dracut, MA. Watching some games, maybe Charlie Brown, or scrolling through Dracut Incidents. Who knows. However, if you know what's good for you, it's Shaw Farm eggnog or their chocolate milk for that matter. Happy Thanksgiving!