As per tradition with this fine holiday, I know families will be gathering around the dinner table talking about what they're thankful for, and I fully recognize the 'sports world' will take a backseat in these discussions which is why I have you covered:

I know a new Gonzaga season is upon us and fans are asking for more,
But let's take a step back for a second, it finally happened. The Zags made its first final four!
Thanks to Mark Few for staying in Spokane all these years to see this through,
And thanks to all those players, especially Jordan Mathews with that shot, you were one heck of a crew.
We're also thankful for another season in the Kennel and all the dunks coming our way,
We don't expect another run at perfection, but guys, can we please be thankful for a win on 'Senior Day.'

Seriously.

As for the women, let's give thanks to Lisa Fortier and her group heading back to the tourney.
A lot of players are returning like Laura Stockton and Jill Barta, so 2018, we're ready for the journey.

Down in Pullman, how about that win earlier in the year against USC?!
The team is on the brink of ten wins for this first time since 2003.
And wouldn't it be nice to beat the Huskies and head to the PAC-12 championship game?
We're thankful for a lot of things with the Cougs, but these Apple Cups haven't quite been a 'claim to fame.'
Thanks to Mike Leach and the squad for never losing at home,
And Thanks to Mike Leach for saying whatever he thinks of off the dome.

For Eastern Washington it was a year of goodbyes,
Between Beau Baldwin, Cooper Kupp and Jim Hayford fans were screaming 'Why God whyyyy!'
As much as it stinks to see them go, thanks for the memories you three,
Aaron Best, Gage Gubrud and Shantay Legans, it's now your show to lead.

Out in Moscow, Idaho fans have to be grateful for their signal-caller these past four years,
Matt Linehan has been one of the best, that much has been clear.
Ten thousand-plus throwing yards and 70-plus TDs has been a sight to see,
and let's not forget he didn't just take this team to a bowl game, he won MVP.

Similar QB numbers and thank you's can be said for Whitworth's Ian Kolste,
The Pine Bowl won't be the same without you slinging the rock, we'll miss ya No. 17.

How about Mead product Kailer Yamamoto and his stint with Connor McDavid on the attack?!
I know coming back to Spokane wasn't ideal for you, but we're happy to have you back.
Thank you in advance for one more year at the arena before officially chasing your NHL dreams,
And thank you thank you thank you as we still get all those Mike Boyle screams!

Finally, I want to give thanks to Freeman, your strength during tragedy was as powerful as I've ever seen,
On a Friday night in September, you didn't push away from others, you leaned.
Leaned on friends, family and community members to wipe away the tears,
And when those Scotties came out to play, you unleashed some much needed cheers.
Let us always be thankful not just for Freeman's win that night,
But the lesson learned, when push comes to shove we fight.
'We' being the operative word because some of our toughest times are too much to tackle head-on,
May we always harken back to what it means to be more powerful in numbers, to truly be 'Freeman Strong.'