Pack Has Much To Be Thankful For
Nov. 25, 2010
RALEIGH, N.C. - NC State's football team will sit down later today for its annual Thanksgiving Day feast at the Angus Barn, to enjoy all the traditional fare with their away-from-home family.
Every member of the team is obviously thankful for its opportunity to go to Maryland Saturday with the chance to earn the Atlantic Division's bid to face Virginia Tech in the 2010 ACC Football Championship on Dec. 4 at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium.
But they are also thankful so much more. Here's a sampling:
Tom O'Brien, NC State head football coach
"I'm thankful for my health and thankful for my family. They all have their health. And I'm thankful to have a football team that is still alive for the ACC championship."
Dana Bible, offensive coordinator who spent last Thanksgiving at UNC's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, beginning his treatments for leukemia
"The list is very long. First off, I'm just thankful to be here. I'm thankful for my family. I'm thankful for all the pieces that make up the whole of my life. Saturday, a year ago, I was going to Chapel Hill in an ambulance. This year, I was coming back on the team bus after that great victory. A lot has happened since then. There's not a day that goes by now that I don't stop and appreciate the second chance. I'm trying, as best I can, to make the most of the second opportunity I have in life."
Nate Irving, senior linebacker who returned to action this year after recovering from a near fatal car accident June 28, 2009
"I'm literally just thankful to be here, to have a second chance at life and at football. [Thursday, when the team gets together at the Angus Barn for its Thanksgiving meal] I just want to sit there and enjoy the moment, to seize the opportunity to think where I've been and where I could've been."
Russell Wilson, junior quarterback and professional baseball player
"First of all, I'm most thankful for my family. They've raised me in the right way, teaching me to put the Lord first and put things into perspective. That's helped me get through the good times and the bad. I'm thankful for my scholarship and being able to come here and graduate a year early. That means a lot for my future and for everyday life situations. I'm thankful to wake up every morning and be able to try to change the world and try to do something that's not normal. Someone once told me, 'Don't be common; be unique. Be an uncommon man.' That's definitely something that's on my mind every day. I'm thankful for the many blessings and talents I have to play football and baseball."
Josh Czajkowski, senior placekicker who returned last week from a hamstring injury he suffered against Clemson that doctors originally thought would end his final season
"I'm thankful for being back out here with my team. It was a rough week sitting out. I'm just grateful that I was able to return, to play for a possible ACC championship. If you asked me this last year, I would be the same as everybody else. I really didn't think it would be possible. Mostly, I'm thankful for my family. They've been there through the injury stuff and been there for all the rough times over the last five years. It's huge for me."
R.J. Mattes, sophomore offensive tackle, who missed much of last season after suffering a knee injury against Florida State
"I'm thankful to play again after tearing my ACL and sitting out most of last year. I'm thankful for the doctors who gave me a second chance to play. I wish I could be home this week with my family, but my father [an assistant coach at Virginia] is playing at Virginia Tech this weekend, so he probably won't be home either. My mom is in Charlotte, my dad is in Charlottesville and I'm here in Raleigh, getting ready to go to Maryland. We're kind of split up this year, but thankful to still have each other."
Audie Cole, junior linebacker
"I'm thankful for my parents. They make it down here from Michigan for every game. They're very supportive of everything I do. I couldn't do anything without them."
T.J. Graham, junior wide receiver
"I'm thankful for being part of a great family. I've been exposed to a lot of things in the world and it's helped me become the person I am. My parents have raised me right. I'm thankful for the coaches who've helped me become a better football player. I'm thankful for the opportunity to play here in my hometown, in front of all my friends and family. But mostly, I'm thankful for my family."
Jarvis Williams, co-captain and senior wide receiver
"I'm thankful for the opportunity to play Division I and the chance I have to get a college degree."
Owen Spencer, senior wide receiver
"I'm thankful to be part of a special team, going into a Thanksgiving holiday, with a chance to win an ACC championship."
Earl Wolff, sophomore defensive back
"I'm thankful just to be able to live every day. I thank God for allowing me to be part of this team."
Markus Kuhn, sophomore defensive tackle from Weinheim, Germany
"We have a holiday called Erntedankfest, which is like Thanksgiving, but it's usually the first Sunday of October. It's a typical Thanksgiving feast, except we don't have the typical turkey and dressing. But it's still about getting together and being thankful for the things that you have. What I'm thankful for this year is being here and being part of this team. If we win this one game, we'll have a chance to be in the ACC championship game and that's really something to be thankful for."
Natanu Mageo, senior defensive tackle from America Samoa
"Thanksgiving at home is basically the same as it is here. We have to have our turkey, stuffing and all the heavy food, though they have to import everything onto the island. But it's the same stuff everyone here on the mainland has for Thanksgiving. Mostly, I'm just thankful for the opportunity to play football and the opportunity to go to the ACC championship."
By Tim Peeler, email@example.com