Giving thanks this holiday season

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

Since tomorrow (Thursday, Nov. 27) is Thanksgiving Day, it’s time again for a look at things in the world of sports that I’m thankful for. These are random, and are in no particular order.

I’m thankful for the Wick’s Big Acre store that was in North Park 40 some years ago. I got my very first baseball glove there. I’m thankful for the Harlem Park Boys’ Club. I spent hundreds of hours there as a kid and learned two things that have stuck with me a lifetime. The first thing was the importance of making free throws. The other thing I learned there was I didn’t like being hit in the face and would never make it as a boxer.

I’m thankful I was able to work in the sports information office while attending college. That experience allowed me to learn firsthand what it was like to be involved with a successful Division I college basketball program.

I’m also thankful that school had a great intramural program. I was a member of the Sisson II Rockers that won the all-university softball championship. I got to play and referee fraternity league football. I was even able to coach the Alpha Chi Omega women’s championship softball team.

I’m thankful I’ve been able to watch both of my daughters compete in sports. My oldest daughter played high school basketball, and my youngest tried volleyball and basketball. Thanks to my friend and former Major League umpire Larry Young, I had the opportunity to serve as the ring announcer during a professional wrestling show he brought to the area.

I’m thankful to the Rockford Speedway for allowing me to serve as their public address announcer during three seasons. Not only was it a fun job, but it opened up other doors that allowed me to meet some of the biggest stars in NASCAR.

As a fan of the professional sports teams in Chicago, I’m glad I’ve lived in a time when I’ve been able to see the Bears win a Super Bowl, I’ve seen the Blackhawks win a couple of Stanley Cups, I was a huge fan of the Bulls when they were winning multiple championships. I saw the White Sox win the World Series in 2005. I’ve been able to see the Cubs … never mind.

I’m thankful I’ve been able to work with area radio and television stations to bring high school sports to their viewers and listeners.

Most importantly, I’m thankful to my family for understanding, supporting and tolerating my passion/borderline obsession with sports. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t give thanks to the publisher, editors and readers of this newspaper. Without any of them, I wouldn’t be able to share these words of gratitude.

I sincerely wish each and every one of you and your families a peaceful and blessed holiday. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

From the Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2014, issue

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