I am thankful for SEC football.
I’m thankful that the passion for SEC football is passed down through generations. You don’t stumble upon it; someone important to you introduced you to it. You were born into it.
I’m thankful that my grandfather and uncles took me to Tiger Stadium as a young boy. I hope you recall your SEC indoctrination as fondly as I do.
I’m thankful for the faded, magical SEC memories from times gone by. Indelible images like Buck Belue to Lindsay Scott, Antonio Langham intercepting Shane Matthews, and Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning.
I’m thankful for chills when the Redcoats or the Pride of the Southland Band or the Million Dollar Band trumpet their signature songs, sending 90,000-plus fans into a frenzy, united by zeal and perhaps artificially enthused by a beverage or two.
I’m thankful for the big, overdone, dramatic, expensive spectacle that unfolds every fall Saturday in the South.
I’m thankful you can spot an SEC fan a mile away. Whether it’s the Atlanta airport, the white sandy beaches of Destin, Fla., the streets of Manhattan or anywhere else, we wear our colors loudly and proudly, teetering on that fine line between obnoxiousness and pride.
I’m thankful that SEC football is a backdrop, an excuse, if you will, to stay in touch or reconnect with old friends we haven’t seen in years.
I’m thankful that SEC football is contagious. Take a first-timer to an SEC football game and they’re hooked for life.
I’m thankful that SEC tailgating is a sport in and of itself. There is little in life to be savored more than a crisp fall day of good food and drink shared with friends and family.
That’s what this whole thing is about anyway: Friends and family.
I’m thankful for that three-and-a-half hour window when the world is close to perfect. Everyone from old timers, little kids, total strangers from all walks of life and from all across the South are best friends during the game, tied by the bond of SEC football.
I’m thankful that SEC fans no longer with us — those who handed down their passion to us — have the best seats in the house to take in the game. I bet they’d tell us to cherish every moment if they could.
I’m thankful for the opportunity to pass down the tradition as they did. I hope those down the line revel in SEC football as we do today.
I’m thankful for the chance to write SEC Banter, and I hope you enjoy it.
I am thankful . . . for SEC football.
Happy Thanksgiving, SEC fans!
Ben Prevost is a contributing columnist for The Times. Follow him on Twitter @SECbanter or contact him at SECbanter@hotmail.com.