Collins: Many reasons to be thankful

We've just reached the midway point in the season, meaning that Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Growing up, we always went over to my Grandma's house for Thanksgiving dinner. My brother and I would sit in front of the television all day, watching the Cowboys and Lions play. We always ran outside and threw the football around until it was time to eat. I always remember thinking that Grandma would spend the entire day preparing our meal, and the whole meal would be over in something like 20 minutes! (Seemed like a lot of effort for a small period of time!)

After dinner, we'd always go to my Aunt Jane and Uncle Frank's house. We'd usually catch the end of the second football game, and then eat dessert. Aunt Jane always made the best desserts!

My favorite part of Thanksgiving is easy -- cranberry sauce. I don't know why people only seem to only serve it on Thanksgiving and Christmas. It should be eaten more than twice a year!

As much as football is a Thanksgiving tradition, and as long as I've played football, I've never played a game on Thanksgiving. Who knows ... with the Giants in the same division as the Cowboys, maybe we'll be lucky enough to be picked to play them one year.

I have many things to be thankful for. First is my beautiful fiancÚ, Brooke. She has made my life complete. We're getting married next March, and I'm looking forward to spending the rest of my life with her and raising a family. I'm grateful for my family and friends, who have helped me get to where I am today. I'm grateful to the New York Giants, for giving me an opportunity to play for them when a lot of teams wouldn't. I'm grateful to my teammates and grateful for the fans. They help make it all possible.

I've been fortunate to earn a good living playing football, and I think it's important to give something back. That's why I'm active with my foundation, and why I shop for Thanksgiving meals each Novemember for those who aren't as fortunate. It saddens me to think that there are people who cannot afford a full meal on Thanksgiving. Each year since I've been in the league, I gather a few volunteers, and we prepare food baskets and deliver them to families in need, so they can enjoy a nice meal.

I'd also like to ask everyone to keep the families and friends of the victims of the Sept. 11th attacks in their thoughts and prayers.

Happy Thanksgiving. 11/8/01

-- Kerry Collins