Every Thanksgiving all over The United States, neighborhood football games are organized and played prior to a traditional meal. They have become sort of a kick-off to the Holiday season, and are valued as a major social event. Students home from college, soldiers on military leave, and out of town relatives visiting can all rally around the good natured competition. The Thanksgiving football game provides an opportunity to catch up on the lives of friends, family, and neighbors and provides a good topic of conversation for the meal.
For every game, there is always one person or family required to act as coordinator of activities. In this capacity it is important that information is communicated clearly as to details concerning start and stop times, rules, and location. It is best to keep an open mind to suggestions that may make for a more enjoyable game, and be certain to give credit where it is due. The ability to discreetly deflect bad ideas without hurting feelings is a definite skill set that will be utilized, as well as a personal ability to accept criticism. This responsibility is probably better handled by an individual who is not an overly serious personality, someone who is jovial and light hearted is perfect.
Getting the word spread to ensure a good turnout in terms of players and spectators is fairly simple. Two to four neighborhood families will assure a pleasant experience, so contact a few next door buddies and get a commitment to play. Once this is accomplished, negotiate the game rules with one person from each family. This prevents the game from becoming a United Nations Conference with 50 people debating something that should be easily decided.
From personal experience the most fun Thanksgiving games I can remember are the ones that included the most people alternating in and out of the game. Nothing is funnier than the 60 year old Grandmother catching the winning touchdown and doing an end zone dance. The only problem with this position is the inclusion of kids as far as where you place an age limit on participation. I would leave this up to the individual parents to decide, however I would make it clear that accidents happen, and in the event of an injury it should be viewed as an accident, no blame or hard feelings.
At the game every family should bring some refreshments, and Alcohol should be discouraged. Profanity of any kind should not be allowed, nor should overly aggressive behavior. A 40 year old former High School Football Star who wants to prove his athletic ability after consuming 6 Beers is a recipe for disaster. The game should always be touch to tackle or flag, with a definite ending, whether by score or time.
Hopefully, a good time will be had by all with the making of new acquaintances, memories and shared laughs. Thanksgiving football games are great photography opportunities so don’t forget to take a camera!