By Iesha Mitchell, Serving as an AmeriCorps member in Denver, Colorado 


Thanksgiving, the officially designated day of the year where people from the United States give thanks for all their blessings and indulge in a meal with family and friends. In my childhood it was a structured day that began with the smell of breakfast burritos made with fresh Hatch green chile and bacon, followed by my amazement of the balloons in The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, a meal made to feed at least twenty, and intertwined with all of the above was the all enthralling National Football League traditional games. 

In my current position as a City Year AmeriCorps member, I find myself looking back at what this day meant to me in my youth, and I keep coming to the realization that it was centered on the seemingly frivolous game of football. I am sure at that young age I would have preferred the annual dog show or cartoons, but of course my vote was vetoed. However, as I recall the experience now I realize that what I thought was a pointless game (mostly because the Broncos hardly played on this day), was a moment in my family’s busy life where we all gathered together to enjoy the simple moments in life. 

These moments consisted of: my mother yelling at the TV, as though the players could hear her cheers; my father laughing along side my grandfather while trying to explain the reasoning behind a play; and my cousins and I pretending to be the players on the field. These are the moments in life I am thankful for and in my family sports tend to be at the forefront of what brings us together. 

In my service as a City Year member, I have had the privilege of being an assistant coach for my schools volleyball team. In this position, I find that the overwhelming joy of watching sports together with my loved ones is the same as watching a young scholar’s face light up when they complete a bump, set, or hit to perfection. 

My involvement in sports as well as the academic lives of students has allowed me to create a deep bond with our young scholars, which manifests as the bond of family. The importance of these sporting events to the students translates to their community and allows for our bond to reach out and provide the simple joys in life to those around our school. 

It is in these moments of reflection that we come to realize how unnecessary a single day of thanks is. When in every season, game, or practice we can share our appreciation for the ability to be with one another in the simplest of tasks, like watching a football game.

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