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Food, family, football: Turkey Day in Detroit

  • The Lions play the Texans in Thursday's Thanksgiving Classic
  • The annual game holds special meaning for one fan
Food, family, football: Turkey Day in Detroit

April Scarlett is true-blue Lions fan and a writer for HerGameLife is the premiere online destination for ladies who love sports, featuring football news from a female perspective, game day fashion and recipe ideas. You can follow April on Twitter.

“What time are we supposed to be at their house on Thanksgiving?” I asked.

“Any time after 2 o’clock, and dinner is at four,” he said.

“And what time is kickoff?”

“One o’clock.”

“So if we drive during halftime, we’ll be casually late but still on time for dinner, and we can finish the game there, right?”


This conversation between my husband and I is as much of a tradition as waking up early to a fresh pot of coffee and the Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV. The timing sounds simple enough, unless we don’t get out the door on time. There is always a last minute outfit change, a backpack of toys or books not quite packed, or a cup of coffee we forgot to grab for the road. For whatever reason, we’re usually walking out the door as the halftime show is winding down. Listening to the fast-paced, hometown play-by-play of the Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day third quarter in the car on the way to the in-laws has become a holiday tradition all its own. 

These particular 40 minutes on the road have become one of my favorite times in the car. Our two boys are in the backseat, lookin’ sharp, one of them half tuned in to the game, half to his blaring headphones, the other buried in the latest edition of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid". I’m spiffed up, too, though wearing my best Jason Hanson tee under my blazer with a Honolulu Blue No. 4 bracelet to match hidden under the cuff -- my husband and I hanging on to every word and stat the announcers spew out.

There is something extremely exciting about hangtime on the radio. Hangtime is the silent waiting between the moment when Matt Stafford lets go of the ball and the moment it is caught (or not) by one of our receivers. When you watch the game on TV, you see where it’s going. You can tell if it is going to be caught, whether or not it’s bobbling, or whether Stafford was pressured into throwing it away. This moment that lingers on the radio behind the roar of the crowd is especially exciting when we really need a first down, or we’re in the red zone dying for an amazing catch or rush to take the lead after being down 17-0.

In that instant, when the crowd is booming through the speakers and the announcer is screaming at the top of his lungs, “He’s got it! Touchdown, Lions!” and my husband is high-fiving me with his non-driving hand and we are yelling at the dashboard of our SUV, it is that moment that I am truly thankful. I’m thankful to be with my family, to have a vehicle to travel to more family, and to have a Detroit Lions football game to listen to on the way.

When we arrive at our destination, we bustle through the front door and say, “OMG, did you see what we just heard?!!” And the air is still buzzing from the score, and the turkey smells great, and the kids are off to play, and the rooms are full of people. 

Food. Family. Football. That’s our Thanksgiving in Detroit.

The Detroit Lions dance with the Houston Texans this Thanksgiving at 12:30 p.m. ET.

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