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Count Alex's Losses
11-22-2007, 01:25 AM
http://www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/story/372163.html

Thereís so much to be thankful for

When Sundayís game ended, I waited around for Priest Holmes. I did not have anything in particular to ask him. Waiting him out after games had become something of a ritual. I have joked with friends that I have spent half my career waiting for Priest Holmes to get dressed after a game.

He was the last man out, as always. Holmes said a few words to our reporter about Brody Croyleís first game, and then he caught my eye and held out his hand to shake.

ďI canít talk now,Ē he said quietly.

ďThatís OK,Ē I said. ďHow do you feel?Ē

Then he shook his head sadly. And he said, ďI really canít talk now. Iíll talk to you back in Kansas City.Ē

I should have known then that it was over. But there really was never any decoding Priest. He always danced to his own rhythms. At his best ó and I think of his best as those 13 remarkable games played in 2002 ó he was as good a running back as I ever saw, a running, catching, blocking triple threat who played football with the businesslike intensity of someone trying to prove the world wrong.

As great as he was then, I felt more inspired watching him this season. He had lost speed. The holes werenít as easy to find. He took the hits harder. In the end, itís not easy to know what to make of the Holmes comeback, which began with talks about a dream in River Falls and ended with numbness in Indianapolis after only four games. Maybe Iím naive. Definitely, Iím naive. But I have always believed he came back, in large part, to show people one more time what is possible.

Every year, I write this Thanksgiving column, listing off the many things Iím thankful for. Two years ago, after he got hurt, I wrote this: ďIím thankful for Priest Holmes. Dozens and dozens of people have stopped me to ask whether Priest is finished. I always give the same answer: Only Priest knows for sure. Heís 32, heís hurt again, the odds are stacked. But odds, like linebackers, have never intimidated Priest Holmes. If he wants to come back, he will. Shocking the world is his game.Ē

This Thanksgiving I write this: In all the years of writing about sports, Iíve never been around an athlete who thrilled, confused, entertained, enlightened and inspired me as much as Priest Holmes. Thank you, Priest.

ēēē

We begin Thanksgiving column XII: Iím thankful that Elizabeth, my oldest, age 6, eventually kicked the ball in a soccer game. She had become expert at running around the pile, as if she were a satellite to the game action, but in her last two games she closed her eyes and jumped in the pile and kicked the ball. Thatís a good way to live. Iím thankful that Katie, my youngest, age 2, wants to kick the ball already.

Hereís the food paragraph: Iím thankful for Arthur Bryantís burnt ends, the flattened chicken at Jack Stack, the buffet at China Wok, chocolate fondue where you can find it, Sheboygan Dogs at the ballpark and pasta everywhere. Iím also thankful for my trainer, David, who helps me feel the pain for eating all that stuff.

Iím thankful for Chase Daniel and Todd Reesing and the biggest football game to be played in Kansas City in all my years here. Iím thankful for Donnie Edwards and Derrick Johnson ó the old and young of Chiefs linebacking ó and the Plaza lights and the Boys and Girls Club and the (one) open lane approaching the Broadway Bridge. Iím thankful for Alex Gordon and Billy Butler (may they hit three-four in the Royalsí lineup for years to come) and Tony Gonzalez when thereís a pass up high. Iím thankful for Adrian Peterson in the open field, Roger Federer on the run, Steve Nash on a two-on-one and Tiger Woods with a putt that he has to make. Iím thankful for all those old Royals and Chiefs who still live in town, still connect us to better times.

Iím thankful, one more time, for Mike Sweeney. The last few years on the field were not what anyone hoped, especially Mike. Thatís just the frailty of the human body. But last week, he was chosen winner of the Hutch Award, given to the player who best exemplifies the fighting spirit of the late Fred Hutchinson. Mickey Mantle won this award, Yaz, George Brett, Johnny Bench, Dennis Leonard and now Mike Sweeney. That is still what Sweeney means to me.

Iím thankful for 75-degrees days in November and the brutal days like Wednesday that make us all appreciate them more. Iím thankful for the best-in-America convenience of the Kansas City airport ó never more than when picking up my parents during the holidays ó and the old scoreboard at Kauffman Stadium (ready to be packed away), and the way the downtown Marriott lights up at night. Iím thankful that baseball, so far anyway, doesnít have instant replay slowing down and the game. Enough things slow down baseball as is. Iím thankful for the way Dayton Moore has started to restore pride in the Royals and the smell of the Arrowhead parking lot before Chiefs games (not so much after), and the way Kansas and Missouri fans go at it this week. I should pass along some of the jokes people have sent along.

As always, Iím thankful for Margo Ann.

And finally, big finish, Iím thankful for the Buck OíNeil Award that the Hall of Fame will start giving out, parents and kids who still play catch in the front yard, GPS systems, Janie Quisenberry-Stone, recommendations at Rainy Day Books, Salvation Army bell ringers, the Bruce Springsteen song ďGirls in their Summer Clothes,Ē school teachers, volunteer coaches, hockey on television (if you can ever find it), conversations with Bill Self, the menu at Governor Stumpyís, 18th and Vine, good fountain Diet Cokes (not too much syrup, not too little), the way Gary Pinkel has found himself and restored Missouri pride, outdoor basketball goals, Costco smoothies, soft pretzels, Julia Othmerís music, the Kansas at Kansas State basketball game this season (Iím predicting the end of the most amazing streak in college sports), all the readers who have hung in there with me for a dozen Thanksgivings, and last, to bring it all around one final time, Iím thankful for the time I was able to beat Priest Holmes in a game of chess. It was at a Hooters Restaurant in San Antonio. He chose the place.

ďI thought it might distract you,Ē he said afterward. ďBut you had a stronger will than I did.Ē

I did not, of course. Nobody I know had a stronger will than Priest Holmes.

J Diddy
11-22-2007, 01:27 AM
I thought this was classy

blueballs
11-22-2007, 01:43 AM
Come in! Well, well, well. Look who's here. I haven't seen you in many
a year.

If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake, baked a cake, baked a cake
If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake
Howdya do, howdya do, howdya do?

Had you dropped me a letter, I'd a-hired a band, grandest band in the land
Had you dropped me a letter, I'd a-hired a band
And spread the welcome mat for you

Oh, I don't know where you came from
'cause I don't know where you've been
But it really doesn't matter
Grab a chair and fill your platter
And dig, dig, dig right in

If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake, hired a band, goodness sake!
If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake
Howdya do, howdya do, howdya do?

If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake, baked a cake, baked a cake
If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake
Howdya do, howdya do, howdya do?

Had you dropped me a letter, I'd a-hired a band, grandest band in the land
Had you dropped me a letter, I'd a-hired a band
Spread the welcome mat for you

Oh, I don't know where you came from
'cause I don't know where you've been
But it really doesn't matter
Grab a chair and fill your platter
And dig, dig, dig right in

If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake, hired a band, goodness sake!
If I knew you were comin' I'd've baked a cake
Howdya do, howdya do, howdya do?

Howdya do, howdya do, howdya do?
Howdya do-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh

Count Alex's Losses
11-22-2007, 01:45 AM
That Hooters story rules.

KcMizzou
11-22-2007, 02:35 AM
Now, that's a great read.

JoPo... always sappy as hell, but damnit, I love it.

Wa-Z
11-22-2007, 02:40 AM
Aw Priest :(

Ah, the early 2000s were good.