Thanksgiving weekend is a wonderful time of the year for many reasons. It typically brings along with it the opportunity to spend time with family, friends, and loved ones who we may or may not get to see as often as we like throughout the rest of the year. Each year there also happens to be plenty of great football games. This year those of us who are Carolina Panthers fans especially enjoyed at least one game on Thanksgiving Day. Following the NFL games on Thursday we get NCAA's rivalry week: Clemson-USC, Ohio State-Michigan, Oklahoma-Oklahoma St, Alabama-Auburn, etc. The FCS playoffs also kick off Thanksgiving weekend and this year I am looking forward to hopefully watching Coastal Carolina University beat the Citadel. Like a lot of PGA Professionals (and millions of other people around the world) I am an avid sports fan. Yet with all the great games going on this weekend I find myself once again looking past the weekend and forward to Wednesday.
For those of you who regularly read this blog (there aren't many so you know who you are), are friends with me on Facebook, or follow me on Twitter (@kevincornPGA), you know that Wednesdays are my favorite day of the week. This is because Wednesdays are "Golf Day" at Ranken Jordan. Whether we have 1 kid or 30 children join us for golf, seeing their smiles every Wednesday afternoon is always the highlight of my week. As I watched ESPN's College Game Day this morning I was reminded of this during a story they featured on 5 year old Chad Carr. For those not familiar with his story, Chad had been fighting an inoperable brain tumor for over a year. He unfortunately lost that fight on November 23. I highly recommend you watch the ESPN story here: #ChadTough. While watching his story I was in awe of the way this young man faced his medical challenge with grace, dignity, bravery, and courage. The story showed him smiling, laughing, and playing with his family. It also showed the important role sports can play as people fight obstacles many of us cannot comprehend.
Seeing this story on ESPN instantly brought to mind the conversations about all things St. Louis sports with Mikey T. as we work on his swing, the way May's face lit up the entire building when we gave her her very own driver before she was discharged to go home, or the look of determination and joy on Abbey's face when she hit golf balls standing up for the first time. Kids heal through play. Their lives, and the lives of those around them, are enriched through sports and games. Sadly many kids do not get the opportunity to the healing effects of play and sports. When children are healing through play and sports, they are not the only ones who are improving. As the child's health improves so too does the health and happiness of the entire family. I cannot tell you how many times I have watched a smile on the face of a child elicit tears of joy from a mother, father, or grandparent. Creating responses like this are attainable when opportunities are provided.
When opportunities such as these are presented to children then possibilities can become realities. You can help provide those opportunities, possibilities, and realities. This is the time of year when everybody spends a lot of time reflecting on those things that they are thankful for. Rather than just reflect on them or think and talk about them, why not jump into action? Find a local children's hospital or charity near you to donate your time to. If you do not feel like you have the time to donate to help put a smile on the face of a child then contribute financially so that your generosity can provide opportunities. Should you do not know where or how to do this, log onto www.rankenjordan.org or contact me to find out how you can help. For many of us, there is no greater gift to receive during the holiday season than that which can be provided by putting a smile on the face of a child. Get involved, find somewhere to contribute your time, talents, or financial resources to help children live more fulfilling lives. Do something that will cause a young man to look to his mother as a visitor walks into his hospital room and exclaim, "Momma, you didn't tell me my surprise was going to be better than going to Disney World!"