In a couple of weeks, we will be celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a day for spending time with family, watching football, eating, and to give thanks and appreciate what we have in our lives.
In a way, the month of November has two Thanksgiving days.
One is the recognized day on the fourth Thursday of November.
And the other?
Veterans Day, Nov. 11.
Nov. 11 is the day we recognize our veterans and, yes, give thanks to them for their service to our country.
But how does this apply to the Athletics realm?
My appreciation for our veterans is lifelong, but the connection to Athletics didn’t come about until I was researching a story about Washington State’s 1917 national championship basketball team.
The story was originally intended to commemorate a national championship; however, it turned into something much different, and much more meaningful, when I discovered that four of the five members of the team served in World War I and one was killed in action eight days before the war ended.
When I completed the story, it occurred to me that there are many more student-athletes in the history of Washington State University who served their country in the military, and whose stories have not been told.
From this, I created my Stories That Live Forever series, a compilation of stories about Washington State student-athletes who have served in the military, and some who have made the ultimate sacrifice, in conflicts spanning World War I, all the way to the current Global War on Terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. Writing these stories has been one of the most rewarding things that I have done in my career.
The purpose of this piece is not to promote my writing, but to simply say the stories I have written are not unique to Washington State University. Every school has stories like the ones I have been privileged to write, and these stories provides us lessons in commitment, courage, and sacrifice.
These are attributes that can be applied to your team, and in life, and it is the unselfishness from our veterans in demonstrating these qualities that we can all be thankful for.