LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — It’s Thanksgiving, so it’s only right to take a minute to stop and think about what we’re thankful for over the past year. There are, in the grand scheme, far more important things than sports.

But sports are pretty darn important around here, and they also help me make a living. When you're in a job like this, people almost every day tell you how lucky you are. And to all of them I say the same thing: You're right. So I’m thankful for all the games and trips and opportunities. But more specifically, here are five things I’m particularly thankful for in the past year. Feel free to add your own in the comments.

In no particular order.

1. AMERICAN PHAROAH’S TRIPLE CROWN. I wasn’t sure I’d ever get to cover one one of these, and didn’t really think about what it would be like if I did. What was it like? It was pretty cool. The reaction at Belmont Park when American Pharoah crossed the finish line was sustained and sublime. There was, by Sports Illustrated writer Tim Layden’s count, only one sportswriter in the entire Belmont press room who covered the last Triple Crown in 1978. Had Rick Bozich been healthy enough to be there, you’d have been able to double that number. Seeing its effect on jaded journalists was almost as amazing as seeing the reaction of the crowd. It was a moment to remember. We wouldn't normally have done this, but a bunch of us from the Louisville media posed for a quick picture (see it to the right of this story) with Bob Baffert the morning after his Belmont win. (As a side note, I’m also thankful that a severe thunderstorm didn’t knock down the press tent over my head as the field turned for home at the Preakness. But it came close.)

2. A TRIP TO PUERTO RICO. There’s nothing quite like a trip to an impoverished area to make you appreciate home, and we arrived in Puerto Rico for a weeklong run of Louisville basketball exhibition games to a severe water shortage that saw local residents limited to just two days of water service per week. Tom Lane and I even covered a game in one arena that was without water. The country still faces a severe economic crisis.

3. RICK BOZICH. As he wrote here earlier this summer, Rick was out of commission for a month or so because of illness. And he’s not the only friend of mine to experience health difficulty. It’s what happens when you get older. Your friends start getting sick. I’m thankful in Rick’s case that he climbed back up off the mat to return to full strength. After a later weekend in the hospital for a difficulty, he checked out, drove to work and wrote a column. That’s getting back into the game. I’m grateful for that kind of dedication, and not just from Rick but from so many people I work with at WDRB.

4. KYLE KURIC’S RECOVERY. At one point, I didn’t know if this story would end happily or not. After undergoing brain surgery to address a benign tumor, Kuric began to experience significant swelling to the brain and had to have a second surgery to remove a piece of skull to alleviate some of the swelling. At that point, the reports out of Spain, where Kyle underwent the surgery, didn’t sound too good. But after several days on a ventilator, in what essentially was a medically induced coma, Kuric came to, recognized where he was and the people around him, and everything has been good from there. During a live Skype interview at the KFC Yum! Center last week, Kuric said he hopes to be back with his Gran Canaria basketball team by January. Kuric’s annual charity drive to bring toys to children in area hospitals will be held before Louisville’s game against Eastern Michigan on Dec. 12 in the KFC Yum! Center lobby. If you want to express gratitude for Kyle’s recovery, donating to that, or supporting his organization via its website here, would be a good way to do it. 

5. YOU, THE READERS AND VIEWERS. There are thousands of voices available today to the American public. Sometimes it seems to me, the volume has been turned up to such a level that unless you’re shouting, it’s difficult to be heard. I’m so thankful for those of you who tune me in or find my work here on the website, and have for so many years. Even those who read and don’t agree with me are a gift. Please know that you are appreciated, not just today, but every day.

CORRECTION: The date for the toy collection for Kyle's Korner for Kids and the CardsCARE program originally was reported incorrectly. The story has been changed to reflect the accurate date.

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