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Start Your Own Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl Tradition

Thanksgiving Decorations and Party Supplies


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Every year it's the same old thing. Gather your entire family together; reveal everything for which you are thankful, eat until you explode, watch football until your eyes are googly, and then pull your stomach up to the table for a second and third helping of food. Rather than spending Thanksgiving Day alternating between the table and the sofa, start a new tradition for which everyone will be thankful. Whether you pit family members or neighborhood families against one another, a Thanksgiving Turkey Bowl tradition is one that cannot be beat!

The first thing you need to do is decide who will be playing in the first annual Turkey Bowl. This is very important because once the teams are decided they are pretty much written in stone (unless there are extenuating circumstances like birth, death, marriage, etc.). Some families believe that Thanksgiving is a day for family only and that allowing others to participate will only interfere in "family time". Others feel that inviting neighbors to join in the fun allows each family to work together, therefore strengthening each family's bond. It is really up to each individual family.

Now that you have decided on and divided up the teams (fairly evenly, I'm sure) you have to decide on when is the best time to play the Annual Turkey Bowl. It is my recommendation that you play ball in the early afternoon before the meal is served. Very few people want to exercise once they are stuffed and playing before the meal will help everyone to work up a good appetite. Also, since it turns dark earlier now, playing before the meal will ensure that it will still be daylight for the game.

With the teams and game time finalized, the only item on the agenda left to discuss is the rules. Since rules vary by family I am going to give you the rules that my family follows every Thanksgiving and you can modify them to fit your specific needs. My family follows basic "touch football" rules. Since our yard is not the size of a regulation football field, each team is given only four chances to carry the ball into the endzone. For each of these "chances" (called "downs"), the quarterback of the offensive team (the team trying to score a touchdown) has to either pass or hand the ball to a teammate. As the person with the ball runs toward the endzone the only way to stop him/her is to touch him/her with two hands. Remember this is a day that you are giving thanks for family and not trying to tackle members of the opposite team to the ground in a show of team spirit (this is not the NFL you know!). If the offensive team member carrying the ball finds his/her way into the endzone then that is a touchdown and is worth 6 points. Our family does not own goal posts so the extra point is null and void. If the offensive team is stopped short of the endzone within four downs then the opposing team gets the ball (and thus becomes the offensive team trying for a touchdown).

So now that you have the basic rules and regulations of a Turkey Bowl, I have a few last minute pieces of advice that I think are necessary to ensure a fabulous game:

  1. Name your teams. Think of the most ridiculously funny or tough name that will embody your team for years to come.
  2. Establish in and out of bounds for the "field." It will prevent disruptions and debates later.
  3. Do not verbally or physically abuse members of either your own team or the opposing team. No one likes a bad sport.
  4. Make up your own wacky traditions. Instead of playing the game with a football, use a Nerf basketball or volleyball. I can assure you that this will make your Turkey Bowl unique.
  5. Have fun! You will be making memories and traditions that you and the rest of your family (those playing as well as those on the sidelines watching) will always treasure.
  6. Consider establishing the Annual Turkey Bowl trophy for the winning team. It can really be anything unique and fun. I once witnessed a "trophy" that was actually a lamp made of a deer leg. It was stuffed and someone had painted the hoof with nail polish and adorned the ankle with bracelets. All kinds of ribbons and do-dads were tied to the thing, too. On top of it all, a special brass plate was made bearing the name of the family's Turkey Bowl and the year it was started. Very Clever.


Happy Turkey Day!
The Party Girl


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