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What we’re thankful for in 2020

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It’s been a hard year, but that makes thankfulness more poignant.

Argentinians Shocked By Sudden Death of Diego Maradona Photo by Luciano Bisbal/Getty Images

I remember when the sports shutdown in March happened, and I blithely announced to family and friends that it needed to happen, because of the coronavirus pandemic. One asked what if I lose my job? I said hopefully we’re not locked down for six months, maybe then I’d be in real trouble.

Reader, we’re obviously more than eight months into the meat of the pandemic in the United States and we’re not yet out of it. We’re not shut down like we were, but we’re not supposed to go out, depending on where we live. In California, by and large we stay home. Other places people have fewer to no regulations. Everyone is cranky. No one wants to live like this.

And yet the pandemic rages. It’s worse than it ever was in many parts of the United States, including here. We’re not supposed to go see our families. I won’t, although I’m sure some of you will do it anyway, explain it away, say you’ll probably be ok.

At one point this summer I admitted to my mom one of my great guilts in life, regarding the death of my grandmother, her mom. I visited my grandmother for spring break when I was in college, and ended up with a nasty upper respiratory infection. She had emphysema, caught the bug, and died a couple weeks later. I’ve always secretly blamed myself.

“Don’t even think that. It had nothing to do with you,” my mom said to console me, both of us blinking back tears on Facetime. I didn’t believe her.

I realize this is a strange way to start a normally upbeat Thanksgiving post, but it’s what the time calls for, honestly. 2020 has not just been strange, or odd, or unprecedented. It’s been tragic.

People getting very sick. People dying. Beyond those fundamental truths, there’s been kids left behind. Kids unable to have “normal” school. People losing their jobs. People going hungry. State violence.

Getting through this year alone is something to be thankful for. We haven’t done it yet, but we’re close. All of our lives were affected in one way or another this year, some much more than others.

Beyond that, this is a time to be thankful for technology connecting us. We can still see our families for Thanksgiving, but it will be via screens instead of in person this time around. Just like we can see soccer games from anywhere in the world, we can see those we love, too.

To the essential workers, we hear it so much it became a cliché but they are indeed the real MVPs of this cursed year. Medical workers, those who work in grocery stores or food prep, those who made deliveries, you put your butts on the line for everyone and you’ll never get the real credit you deserve. We are absolutely thankful for you.

More than ever, I’m thankful to the players for playing in 2020. They made one of the biggest sacrifices, in getting back out on the fields when things weren’t safe and persisting even as things remain not safe for them. Fortunately, the soccer players we follow by and large haven’t tested positive for coronavirus and they don’t appear to have gotten very sick. Add to that, the players in MLS were playing a condensed schedule and everyone seemed exhausted, frankly. It was a big burden, to do this for us to stay entertained, and they took a pay cut, too! Thank you for getting out there.

Thanks to my bosses for letting me keep my job, but also giving me a new role in 2020. Life stress notwithstanding, I love this job with every fiber of my being.

And obviously, thank you to you, the readers, for following this site in 2020 and supporting our work. As I say every year, I can’t be here without you, so thank you for sticking around, through the times of no games and of all the games. And don’t be afraid to tell a friend about this site, it would be great to have more readers.

Here’s hoping when Thanksgiving 2021 rolls around, life feels much more safe and accessible. Here’s hoping 2020 is an aberration, although I know better than to expect anything at this point. Here’s hoping however you spend this Thanksgiving, you do it with comfort and with love.

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