Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Turkey Trot: One of the Best Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving: a great American holiday. I love learning the manifold traditions that accompany the most underrated of Feast Days. Although I don't go "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house" for turkey, I do love going to Mass on this secular holiday—a word that is Old English for "holy day." At my parish, the Men's Club prepares a free breakfast to feast before the feast! But for the past 16 years, I have opted to run and now walk what I think might be the ideal way to start your Thanksgiving. The proverbial...the essential:  St. Ignatius Turkey Trot.
The Turkey Trot has taken place, rather informally, at Lake Merced—near our campus for the past 21 years. What started a simple and fun way to gather current students, their families and friends, alumni and more has solidified into a meaningful way to start the day. We meet at 8:30 and register on the spot. All the money we collect goes to the St. Anthony Foundation, located in San Francisco's Tenderloin District. 

In the 16 years I have trotted, we have had one rainy day. We have been blessed with sunny skies and sunny faces every year. The reality in our home this year, however has forecast something much different. With the most destructive wildfires in state history, we pray for rain. Given the air quality, which not only closed our school but has forbidden our teams from practicing out of doors, we will come to this year's event with heavy hearts and new mindsets. Regardless, it's time to Trot. And so it is with that spirit, that I've created a Do and Don't list for those who will join us and/or anyone who wants to organize a Turkey Trot of their own. Happy Thanksgiving.

Founder of St.Anthony's, Father Boedekker prepares the Tom
Do's for Participants
  • Show up with your running or walking shoes, rollerblades or yes, even your scooter (no age restrictions). Strollers are encouraged! Dogs and cats are welcome to trot, too.
  • Wear past Turkey Trot t-shirts. Show your loyalty! I love seeing how many different shirts and years we can gather.
  • If you opt otherwise, I recommend wearing gear that reflects your/appropriate fan loyalty. This year , third string QB Nick Mullins jerseys are encouraged. Steph Curry or Buster Posey never go out of style. I'm down with the old school look i.e. Dan Fouts SI '69. Remembering the late #87 Dwight Clark or #44 Willie McCovey—RIP—are fitting. If you have family in Kansas City or have given up on the Raiders, Patrick Mahomes is perfectly acceptable. Any and all blue and gold (or green) to represent the University of Notre Dame's Fightin' Irish is always classy. Not to mention legit. BTW: Nice graduation rate, Irish. Fair warning: you may be asked to leave if you wear #16 Jared Goff. Between going to Marin Catholic and now playing for an LA team, you should know better. Just sayin'. Possible exemption however is given if you went to Cal. Go Bears.
  • Give what you can. We request a $10 donation to St. Anthony's. SO many people give more because they want to. Thank you. Others give the Alexander Hamilton. Thank you. Please don't let the cost be prohibitive. We are grateful you show up and share in this tradition!
  • Come Hungry and come even if you are hungover. We provide Bob's donuts for all who finish. And, for those of you who are 21 years of age and older, we know the night before Thanksgiving is a popular time to reconnect with family and friends. Some folks over do and over enjoy the reunion. Don't let an aching head or inability to see straight keep you at home. Get fresh air and join the cause. 

Do's for Event Organizers
  • Have a sound system. There's really no good "Thanksgiving" soundtrack and I'm doing all I can to refrain from listening to Christmas music until the day after Turkey. When in doubt: go with Springsteen."We Take Care of Our Own" works. "Badlands?" Oh hell yeah. Go old school with Woodie Guthrie or Bob Dylan. Any others? Furthermore, the sound system is quite helpful when it's time to start your trot. Crowd control isn't always easy; this helps.
  • Begin with a prayer. This might be the easiest prayer I lead all year. On Thanksgiving, we extend gratitude to God for all we have been given. This is a national day to give thanks. Let's begin with those words in mind.
  • Have fun with it. Every year, this means something new. Last year, I delighted in choosing navy and orange for our shirts. I wanted to honor the city of Houston and their Astros for all they had been through and what they accomplished in moving from a cellar dweller to World Series champs. The path they took there—in particular defeating the Dodgers—was worth recognizing. 
    Great shirts, great colors. Thank you Houston for beating LA
Don'ts for Attendees
  • Show up in dress code. I'm always doing what I can to make the standard set by the dress code something to respect and understand. For a Turkey Trot, neither is necessary! Don't wear collared shirts...don't wear jeans. Save ONE of those for school ;-) Spandex and flat bills are welcome.
  • Expect to get a medal. There are competitive runners in every Trot, but that is not the objective of the gathering. I understand some folks can't help but think otherwise. #ballers.
  • Forget to throw the football. Show off your canon. Pretend this is Turkey Bowl 2018. Lake Merced has a huge parking lot. I hear the Cleveland Browns are looking for a coach. Practice leadership skills here and now.
  • Leave
    without saying Happy Thanksgiving
    to someone new!
Don'ts for Organizers
  • Forget to take photos! The memories are worth capturing.
  • Be afraid to ask for help. Every year, someone steps in to help. I am EVER grateful
  • Opt out of participating in the Trot. ENJOY this wonderful tradition.
Have a wonderful holiday!

No comments:

Post a Comment