Be thankful for sports during this time of the year

Gimme a T-H-A-N-K-S for:

The Thanksgiving commitment of the Detroit Lions, who have fulfilled hungry football fans by playing on the holiday since 1934, with the exception of six years (1939 to 1944).

The Tao of Erik Spoelstra.

The sound of a thoroughbred’s gallop.

The steadfast seniors on the University of Miami football team.

The incredible incredibleness of LeBron James, who keeps improving.

Never again having to psychoanalyze why James can’t win the Big One.

Usain Bolt’s stride.

Giancarlo Stanton’s swing.

Michael Phelps’ stroke.

Tipoff of Charles Barkley season.

Panthers on the ice by January?

Ryan Tannehill’s promise.

The Hoosiers’ resurgence.

Danell Leyva’s high bar routine.

Toe-scraping sideline catches.

Choice seats at 2013 Marlins games (at fire-sale prices).

Katie Meier’s energy.

Jim Boeheim, for never using a computer; Mark Cuban, for declaring Facebook a time-waster; Tom Izzo, for disdaining Twitter.

Not being on the side of the net opposite John Isner.

Not being a linesperson in a Serena Williams’ match.

Zach Thomas and Jason Taylor, pillars of everything good.

The consciences of Floyd Landis, Tyler Hamilton, Frankie Andreu, Christian VandeVelde, Jonathan Vaughters, Levi Leipheimer, David Zabriskie, George Hincapie.

Miguel Cabrera’s sobriety.

College football’s championship at Sun Life Stadium.

The Volvo Ocean Race in our azure front yard.

The Florida Derby, Sony Ericsson Open, WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral.

The presence of women on every Olympic team, 116 years after the modern Games began.

Augusta National golf club’s tentative step into the 21st century.

Sunrise on Ocean Drive at Mile 4 of the ING Miami Marathon.

High school rivalries. High school coaches. High school marching bands. High school booster clubs.

Our president, who has hops and coaches his daughters.

Jay Z vs. Spike Lee.

The double Olympic distance running victories of Mo Farah, Somali-born, London-bred, as his countrymen (including Roger Bannister) went wild for the man who embodies the beauty of the city’s mosaic: Each tile distinct, but part of a unified whole.

Peyton Manning’s comeback, Adrian Peterson’s comeback, Derrick Rose’s comeback.

Edgerrin James’ summer football camp for kids from his hometown of Immokalee.

Buster Posey’s name.

Stan Van Gundy’s sense of humor.

The beards of Brian Wilson and James Harden.

NASCAR drivers offering you a homemade barbeque sandwich 50 yards from the garage where they just pulled in after practicing a few laps at 170 mph.


David Beckham’s six years in Major League Soccer.

Leo Messi’s feet.

Abby Wambach’s head.

Duke Johnson’s hips.

R.J. Dickey’s knuckles.

Lindsey’s Vonn’s quads.

Larry Fitzgerald’s fingertips.

Oscar Pistorius’ pluck.

Manti Te’o’s heart.

Triathletes scaling William Powell bridge.

Ray Allen’s palm-slap peace offering to his former Celtics teammates. Kevin Garnett’s old-school, glare-at-the-ground rejection of it.

Books about more than sports: Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon; Wonder Girl by Don Van Natta Jr.; A Father First, by Dwyane Wade; LA Confidential by David Walsh.

Movies about more than sports: Raging Bul (watch it again), The Blind SidePat and Mike

Corny motivational sayings written on pregame whiteboards. Lombardi lives!

Hikes in the Everglades.

London: Its wit, history, culture, parks, love of sport — anything your heart desires (if you can afford it).

Hurricanes baseball games (better than Marlins Park).

Randy Ableman and his divers.

Anti-doping advocates.

Concussion prevention.

Puerto Rican boxer Orlando Cruz coming out.

Gabby Douglas expressing herself with a tumbling-run of words.

Andy Roddick saying it like it is.

Hubie Brown breaking it down.

Bill Belichick maintaining his obstinate, condescending monotone.

Joe Philbin seeking the wisdom of Don Shula.

Oregon Ducks uniforms.

The Ryder Cup bringing golf’s mannequins to life.

Olympic gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross and her husband, Super Bowl winner Aaron Ross, trying just as hard to beat each other at bowling.

Jimmy Johnson’s joy in the Keys.

Athletes who give back — to the people who adore them, abhor them, praise them, braise them, commiserate with them, can’t live without them.