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Have you ever sat down, taken a break from your hectic schedule and written down what you are thankful for?

With Thanksgiving approaching next week, I implore you to think about your blessings in life.

Is it family, friends, maybe a pet?

Are you thankful for your job, which provides you a living and stability?

Or maybe yours is much simpler and material, like being thankful for social media or Netflix?

Maybe you think the Mannequin Challenge is revolutionary, and it provides all the happiness in your day.

I hope this isn’t the case, and try to put down those smart phones.

Less screens, more rest for the eyes.

Interact with people face-to-face, it’s fun, kids, trust me.

I am thankful for a great family, my lovely wife and little girl, who turns two and a half this week and loyal, hilarious friends for starters.

OK, enough of this weird, sensitive rant. Actually, it’s all a mask for the fact that we’re hosting Thanksgiving for the first time in my life.

With five older siblings, I’ve luckily not needed to host a holiday yet.

All it took was 34 years.

That’s right, 30 adults will squeeze into my 1,600-square foot house and fill themselves to the gills with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and a plethora of desserts and beverages.

We’re excited, sure, but also nervous.

How do you know how much food to buy?

Who’s bringing what, and who has extra chairs and tables?

Will the cat and dog practice their primal attacking instincts on little Coraline and cousin Luke, who’s only 3?

My wife is already making an Aldi run simply to consider how much turkey and fix-ins to buy, so this isn’t your average dinner.

Hopefully, we don’t break the bank while enjoying all of the Turkey Day traditions.

Wish us luck.

 

Packers playing like turkeys

When it comes to the Green Bay Packers, quarterback Aaron Rodgers may be the only player to be thankful for this season.

After Sunday’s 47-25 embarrassment against the Tennessee Titans, Green Bay is 4-5, losers of three straight, yet remarkably sits a game behind 5-4 Detroit and Minnesota in the NFC North.

With no Clay Matthews, the Packers have allowed 111 points in their last three games, culminating with Sunday’s nightmare in Nashville.

Green Bay allowed four straight touchdowns to begin the game, showed little effort and got downright dominated by a Tennessee team that’s traditionally poor and features an inexperienced second-year quarterback.

Rodgers, who is two years removed from winning NFL MVP in 2014, got his team to within 35-22 with a third-quarter touchdown run, but he once again put up pedestrian numbers with a 79 quarterback rating and two interceptions.

Rodgers was sacked five times, and two top offensive linemen went down with injuries for the Packers.

Green Bay lacks a running game, is lost on offense and suffers from generic play-calling.

Head coach Mike McCarthy trots out the same three-receiver sets, tries play-action deep passes to Jordy Nelson, who isn’t the same after his knee injury, and will run the ball with wide receivers. You know, guys who are supposed to be catching passes, not taking car accident-like blows from defensive linemen.

McCarthy’s conservative approach contrasts Rodgers’ propensity to try to scramble and make big plays downfield with his strong arm.

You can tell they’re not on the same page, and Rodgers doesn’t seem to be clicking with his receivers.

Combine that with the fact Green Bay is missing its top two cornerbacks and best defensive player in Matthews, and Green Bay could easily plummet to 4-7 after road contests the next two weeks at Washington (5-3-1) and Philadelphia (5-4).

Hopefully, Matthews is back soon to solidify the defense, and Rodgers needs to stick with what works – short passing game, getting rid of the ball quickly and trusting his receivers to occasionally make plays downfield.

It’s dire straights, as seven losses virtually guarantees missing the playoffs.

Green Bay must at least split its next two games to have any chance to salvage this season.

 

Waterford pair joins Wheelchair hoops squad

Waterford residents Drew Selz and Laura Vacek, who both are undeclared, have earned spots on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Wheelchair Basketball teams.

The Warhawk men are defending national champions with 14 titles.

“Every team has its own chapter and it is up to us to add our legacy and story to the book of wheelchair basketball,” said Jeremy “Opie” Lade, head coach. “We write a new story every year and we will approach this year as a different team. The goal is to be a better team and better individuals at the end of the season.”

The girls squad is looking to work hard and achieve success this season alongside new head coach and five-time Paralympian Christina Schwab.

“I look forward to seeing their potential unfold,” said Schwab. “They are building their confidence, and I am hoping to see it blossom throughout the season. It will happen at the right moments.”

 

Basketball is back

What a perfect feel-good story about Selz and Vacek to kick off basketball season, which opens this week with the Burlington High School girls squad hosting New Berlin West Tuesday night.

Can the Lady Demons reach a top spot in the Southern Lakes Conference with the dynamic scoring duo of Jessa Burling and Megan Wallace?

Also, is this the year for the Union Grove girls to make it to state after falling in a heartbreaker in the sectional final a year ago?

Brooklyn Bull, the reigning SLC player of the year, figures to be a monster on the court.

Check out next week’s editions for basketball previews.

 

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