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UNC Football: Grateful

Before the tryptophan really kicks in, some time to reflect on our good fortune

Duke v North Carolina Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

I take a whole lot for granted. I’m trying to be better, striving every day to improve myself and the way I look at the world around me, but it’s an uphill climb. Things that I’ve come to expect in my life are not things that everyone can always count on, and while I do my best to remind myself of this fact, it’s human nature to fall short. The fact is, I’m very very lucky. I’ll not delineate all the reasons I have to be thankful, but it’s on my mind lately, and never moreso than in this season.

It’s weird how little things can become so disproportionately large as to blot out one’s view of the things that are truly important. Everyday annoyances usurp the spotlight in our mind’s eye; worry and stress cloud our view of the good things, focusing our attention on the broken bits rather than the things that are, have been, and will continue to be humming along perfectly. Your mind, in reading this, may have even gone to one of those broken things, pushing at it without realizing, like your tongue straining at a piece of popcorn that is stuck in your teeth.

The North Carolina Tar Heels have won eight games this year. The little kernel from my previous comparison is crying out as I type this, railing against a late-season skid that looks all-too-familiar, begging me to consider that the Heels have dropped three of their last five games, with one of those wins coming against an overmatched FCS team. The other win, though, came against Duke. Hell, those Blue Devils were sent back to wherever they came from with broken hearts, and that’s always a good thing. Carolina has a chance to beat the team from Raleigh for their ninth win, and a bowl win would yield this squad a ten-win season. There are a great many fanbases who won’t be able to celebrate even eight wins this year.

I am making the conscious decision to worry about how the team earned this record later. The doldrums of a post-holiday winter are the perfect time for that kind of doom and gloom, that specific kind of despair that is in-built by caring so deeply for something that we have absolutely no control over. At the end of the season, only one team gets to hold the trophy. That won’t be the Tar Heels, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to enjoy.

Drake Maye will play what very well may be his final game in the correct shade of blue on Saturday. For two years, we’ve had a very exciting ballplayer touch the ball on nearly every offensive snap. That’s something to be grateful for. This team has the chance to stonewall a cresting wave of confidence from the team in Raleigh, and any opportunity to beat that team is something else to be thankful for. We, as fans, are truly blessed to pull for a team that has a place on the national stage, in any sport.

For those of you who are home today with family chosen or otherwise, in the southern part of Heaven or far afield, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving. For those of you separated from family today, by choice or simply by distance, I wish you a very happy Thanksgiving as well.

We are all of us born, bred, and not yet dead. There’s still football to watch.

Thanks for reading.