The Thanksgiving football experience

On Thanksgiving day, my friends and our dads lined up across from each other on Mann Elementary school’s field for the first annual Thanksgiving father-son football game.

It was a nice day outside, around 50 degrees and overcast with little wind. Perfect football weather.

We gathered on the field early in the morning to warm up, make the rules, and pick teams.

The game was very exciting, with long touchdown passes, kick-return touchdowns, and lots of interceptions. Of course, most of the turnovers were not because of good defense but because of the wobbly passes and drops.

The play of the game was when Mr. Andolina rolled out of the pocket to his right, and while being chased by his son, David, threw an underhand behind-the-back pass into the corner of the endzone for a score. We joked that it was his best spiral of the day.

My team somehow ended up having all three injury-prone dads, but we were still able to make the game competitive, losing by one score in overtime.

After the game we tried to emulate a professional postgame, with handshakes, jersey swaps, and pictures taking place.

We also had hot chocolate together and joked about plays that happened in the game. Someone threw out the idea that we get together and play years in the future when we come home from college.

While this may seem difficult to pull off, I would certainly like to try. It feels like every family has a Thanksgiving tradition except for mine, so I am happy to finally be able to participate in one.

Staying connected to the Oak Park-River Forest community is something that I want to do when I go off to college. Oak Park was a huge part of my childhood, and it helped shape who I am as a person. I don’t want to forget that.

Having a yearly tradition where I come home and play pickup football with friends from school will be a great way to keep my roots in Oak Park.

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