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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.

I’m thankful for sports at a time like this

By Tony Pizza

As I began to count the fingers and toes on my son Carson’s hands and feet shortly after he emerged from the womb last Tuesday, I found myself in a thankful state of mind two days before the rest of the country would officially be thankful.

Of course, I was thankful for the willingness of my wife, my mother and women in general for being brave enough to go through the pain of childbirth in order to bring babies into this world (not surprisingly, I also found myself thankful that none of my bodily orifices had to stretch 10 centimeters for Carson to come into this world).

I was also thankful for the soldiers who volunteer to preserve the freedoms we enjoy in this country, even when that gives people the right to denigrate that same country under the rights those soldiers are fighting to protect.

I couldn’t help feeling grateful for the country I have the opportunity to live in and the opportunity I have to go to college at the school I grew up eager to attend.

The funny thing is, at the moment of my son’s birth, none of these things were the first thankful thought that came to mind.

Instead-me being the prototypical- alpha-male-who-thinks-the-world-revolves-around-sports guy that I am-I found myself thankful that my son has the chance to be alive if the Utah Jazz win an NBA championship during the first year of his life.

That might be wishful thinking, but I’m just banking on the fact that the fruit of my loins (yes, I’ve been waiting 26 years to use that phrase) will bring my team good luck again.

Most people don’t know that the birth of my daughter Adalie-which occurred just four days before Game 4 of the ALCS-propelled the Red Sox over the Yankees and into its first championship in 86 years.

I guess it’s pretty obvious why I feel so good about the Jazz’s chances this year.

Anyway, I guess when one’s life revolves around sports so much, and that person has a son, thoughts involving sports are bound to dictate his or her every thought.

For me, being able to watch a good Jazz basketball team with my son is about as appropriate as anything I can think of to be thankful for.

That might make some people scoff and say, “Wow, this cements it, this guy really is an idiot,” but let me explain.

While I am truly grateful for all the things I mentioned earlier, I’m sincerely grateful for sports as well. Not just because it gives me an excuse to yell at a TV or relentlessly cuss out a certain BYU friendly and pass interference-happy back judge (the MUSS knows what I’m talking about).

Sports have been an important bond between my dad and me. Case in point: When I was stationed in Iraq and Kuwait during the first part of the second Gulf War, I had many thoughts of home that kept me going during the more dreary moments I experienced in the Middle East.

Call me superficial, call me a dumb jock or call me just plain pathetic, but one of the significant thoughts that pulled me through those rough times was the simple memories of watching a U football game or simultaneously yelling through the TV, with my dad, at Jerry Sloan to call a timeout after the Jazz had blown a 15-point lead in two minutes.

Luckily for me, and for Carson’s ear drums, I won’t have to yell at Sloan to get his team in gear this year, because it seems all my yelling has finally made a difference with the Jazz.

I can only hope that the same father-son connection that sports gave my father and me will develop between Carson and me, too.

For that reason, I’m thankful that hard-working grinders like Paul Millsap and Matt Harpring are going to be playing the game of basketball as my son grows up so that I can point and say, “That is how the game is meant to be played.”

I’m also thankful for local guys like Steve Tate who grew up loving U football and when they get the chance to play BYU, they feel the pain in their bones when they don’t win.

I am also grateful for the ability I have to kick Carson’s butt if he finds himself taking a liking to BYU the way I took a liking to Victoria Secret catalogues when I was just a lad.

Most parents might worry about their kid’s involvement with drugs, sex, stealing or violence. I live in Utah-therefore my greatest concern is that my son doesn’t get involved with the wrong team down south. That way, he can understand why his dad cries when Utah loses to BYU in football-the rest of the earthly temptations we can address during the commercials.

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