NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - "Hmmm?!?!," you ask?
Odd subject line, no? But as we start this Thanksgiving week, I am so thankful for the weekend of Rutgers sports we had. First, I got to watch (online) the women’s soccer team compete in the NCAA tourney on Friday. No, they did not advance. But they did make it. They gave us a great season and many great memories. I had such a great time this season at Yurcak Field. I really enjoyed this team this year and for this, I am thankful.
Then, Saturday morning, I took the family to Rutgers STADIUM to watch the first ever outdoor wrestling match. WOW, this was awesome. 16,000+ fans. I am thankful for the win over Princeton. I am thankful for the fantastic (seemingly long gone) weather. I am thankful for the time with my family and close friends. I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of a historic moment at Rutgers. I am thankful for the 4-0 start of the 10th ranked wrestling team in the country. I really enjoyed the match and for this, I am thankful.
Then, I got to return to Rutgers stadium for a second event on Saturday. Rutgers football vs. Penn State on Saturday night under the lights. Bet you are curious what I am thankful for here, huh? Well, I am thankful to have the opportunity to see B1G football in my home state. I am thankful to share great times with family and friends. Lots of friends. It is so cool to be at a football game now and know so many of the “regulars!” The diehards. The true fans.
I am thankful for hope I have. Look, no one is excited about how this season turned out. Got it. But there is so much to be optimistic about. This is nowhere near as bad as the hopeless 90’s I lived through. Now, instead of 5,000 people and a game against Richmond (or maybe a big game against Syracuse), I got to share a college football experience with 40,000+ fans and watch a Penn State team I actually respect.
Remember, not long ago many asked if they could EVER come back from the depths of their despair. We are much better positioned and much stronger than they were not too long ago. They are now a Top 10 team. I tip my hat to them and remind all Rutgers fans, every game is a new opportunity. Every season, a new beginning. This too shall pass. I am thankful (and optimistic) for Rutgers football.
And Sunday, I was able to participate in my third live Rutgers sporting event in about 36 hours. WOW, that alone is something to be grateful for. Rutgers men’s hoops team beat Niagara this afternoon. I am thankful for the opportunity to see winning basketball in Piscataway. I am thankful to see a team start 4-0. I am thankful to see a hardworking, scrappy bunch who dives for loose balls, wins the battle of the boards and generally makes free throws. This is a program that has had a long history of despair.
I have never been more optimistic after seeing these first few games. Will it be easy, no? Will we be a Top 25 team this year, probably not. But I am thankful again for the hope I have and the team and staff we have built.
As we end the fall sports season and begin the winter sports season at Rutgers, I am thankful for all the hard working athletes and coaches. I am thankful for the leadership we have seen over the last 12 months. I am thankful for the many relationships I have with great coaches and administrators in the Rutgers athletics program. I am thankful for all the great times I have had and great memories with family and friends. I am very lucky to be a Rutgers sports fan.
Thanks to Rutgers for all you do. Happy Thanksgiving!