Frankie O: Thanksgiving traditions

Frankie O: Thanksgiving traditions

Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010
3:41 PM

By Frankie O
CSNChicago.com

We all have our favorite holidays, for all sorts of reasons. For me, it usually is whatever one is next. Holidays are fun! (Especially when you dont have to work, but I choose the wrong profession for that to always be true.) It starts when were very young, as we learn what each one means. These days, I often get asked which is my favorite, and one seems to have risen above the rest. You could almost say we were made for each other. Thanksgiving has reached mega-status in my house, at least for Dad. Like all recurring events it comes with many things that make it unique: Traditions.

The earliest thing that I liked about Thanksgiving is the four-day weekend. That gets your attention in a hurry. Nothing is more fun and its never gotten old. As Ive learned, it really takes four days to take it all in, and to recover. Part of that is because due to the long weekend, Friday night has been moved to Wednesday. How cool is that? For us in the bar business, its one of the biggest nights of the year. Thankfully, thats no problem for the participants, since Thanksgiving is a low-stress holiday. No presents! Although the specter of what is about to happen all around us. In fact radio stations are already playing Christmas music and my smart-phone is blowing up with money saving sales event e-mails. Its good to ease into the madness that has become Christmas. Speaking of easing in, its a day for comfy clothes. No formal pictures around a tree, so its come as you are. And as we will discuss, that is also good for other reasons.

My morning consists of cooking a turkey breast, (I must smell cooked turkey ALL DAY!)and snacking. Consider it a pre-game stretch. If you dont have a plan, you are not going to maximize your opportunities! I also must set my Fantasy lineup, because the feast of football is about to begin. I guess its good that the Detroit game is early, since lately, well almost my entire life, that has been the worst of the games. Then its off to the in-laws for the fun to begin. As soon as we arrive its the time honored tradition of picking the spot that I will occupy for the next six or seven hours.

Optimum viewing angle is a must. No, not of the TV, its of the wife in the kitchendining room, being out of the line of fire is a good thing! Mark your territory and let the games begin! Dinner is usually served at game 2 kickoff, due to the amount of people, we dispense of the formality and everyone eats where they are. In front of the TV really works for me, since I dont want to miss an opportunity to root against my most hated rival, in any sport, the Dallas Cowboys. The Eagles 27-0 win, the Leon Lett game and the Randy Moss game were very good days. The turkey was extra tasty! And speaking of food, its not just the turkey, its all about THE FEAST.

At this point, I always try to be a good guest and pay my respects to the chef, mom, by eating everything in sight. Nothing says Im so thankful for your cooking like 3 trips to the chow line! That third plate sometimes takes some effort, but sometimes you have to suck it up and get the job done. This is also were my choice of comfy wear and seating position come into play because its time to HUNKER-D! (Thats hunker-down or simply curl up into the fetal position for the uninitiated.) Then more football watched through a tryptophan haze. Why does my wife ALWAYS send the kids to me now? This is my time! After a slice of all three different pies available,( dont want to be rude!)its time to ride the sugar-buzz and get the kids home and ready for bed. And, oh yeah, another football game. I love the NFL Network! After game three its time to veg-out and thats where a mindless comedy comes in. A Thanksgiving movie. For me its always Planes, Trains and Automobiles. I love that movie! I dont understand why TNT doesnt run it on an all-day loop like they do with A Christmas Story.

As midnight approaches, the time is almost here. The late-night mission. The reason for this day. My annual leftover-turkey sandwich. Over the years, the recipe for this sandwich has been honed to perfection! It is without question, the best sandwich of the year. I wont share the recipe with you here, since I cant do the description justice by just typing it, but if you come into the bar and tell me about yours, Ill tell you about mine. May the better win!

On Friday, the wife leaves the house before anyone even considers waking. Good for her! That also means that after creating misdirection with the little ones with DVDs, Wii games and money, I can spend ANOTHER day of watching football and eating turkey. What other holiday keeps giving like that? (I know it means nothing here in Chicago, but the Flyers play a matinee every Black Friday. In fact, as a youngster, it was at one of these games that I witnessed my first bench-clearing brawl and became a hockey-fanatic for life!)

Saturday, for me, means back to work but thats not really a bad thing. Honestly. I have a serious tryptophan high and moving is a good thing. Besides, at work, on the TV, theres more football! Does the fun ever end? Well no, since Sunday brings the NFL and a return to my fantasy domination!

By Monday, Im pretty well spent. Thankfully, the kids are back in school and Im almost out of turkey. Monday is trash-day in Mokena so its a cleansing day. All of the leftovers that Ive been sharing a love-hate relationship with must go. So its a little turkey salad while I enjoy the Monday Night Football game.

Its also time for reflection of the weekend and holiday past. The real reason Thanksgiving is the one for me. Its about sharing time with loved ones, eating , laughing and having times together that will always be remembered. Sometimes life moves a little fast for us all, so its good for us to have an organized time of doing whats really important. That it includes eating and football only makes it better.

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

As questions about his future remain, David Accam is in his best run with the Fire

For the past two seasons, David Accam was a bright spot on bad Chicago Fire teams.

This season, with more talent on the roster, Accam has blossomed into one of the most dangerous players in the league.

He had a hat trick and an assist in Saturday’s 4-0 win against Orlando. That gives him 10 goals and six assists on the season. Only two other players in Major League Soccer have 16 combined goals and assists, New York City FC's David Villa and teammate Nemanja Nikolic (the leading goal-scorer in the league).

“I thought I could do anything on the pitch today,” Accam said. “I just wanted to enjoy myself and entertain the fans and also help the team win. That’s what we did today, especially after my first goal. I just thought I could get more goals and also help the team win.”

Accam’s big game comes after he sat out the previous two games, which were both played on turf. He wasn’t listed on the injury report, but coach Veljko Paunovic said, “he didn’t recover from the physical issues that he had in the previous game.”

The rest seemed to do Accam some good, but his success in the game (as well as his recent run of eight goals and four assists in his last eight matches) coincides with questions about his future. He was recently rumored to be the target of a Turkish club.

In the past, Accam has spoken about his ambition to play at the highest levels. Typically, that means Europe. General manager Nelson Rodriguez said last month that he expects offers to come in for the 26-year-old because he is a good player in his prime ages.

So is Accam playing like someone trying to earn a new contract? That could be either impressing potential suitors in Europe or boosting his negotiation position with the Fire. Rodriguez has talked about contract negotiations with Accam before, and said those will not resume again until after the season.

“I wanted to be in a team where I would develop as a person and also win trophies, whether here or somewhere (else) I don’t know,” Accam said. “For me, I’m doing really well here and every year if I keep playing well there will be always interest. I know there is a lot of interest because I’m doing well. For me it’s always extra motivation to keep doing well. You don’t know where I will end up, whether here or somewhere else. I’ll just keep playing.”

Accam’s play earned him another call-up to the Ghanaian national team. He will join the team on Sunday for a pair of friendlies in the U.S. The Black Stars will take on Mexico in Houston on June 28 and the U.S. in East Hartford, Conn., on July 1 as the two North American countries prepare for the Gold Cup.

“That’s where I want to be,” Accam said. “I want to be playing for the national team so it’s extra motivation for me to perform well and also to go to the national team.”

Accam has been one of the most productive players in MLS this year, based on goals and assists, and is young enough to draw the attention of plenty of teams. For now, the Fire have him as a key part of the best season the club has had in years.

“I think that he understands very well how to play with the team that we have now and with the teammates that he is surrounded with,” coach Veljko Paunovic said. “We just have to work to give David opportunities… Then we expect that performances like that will come even more.”

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