The National Digest

Golden Turkey Awards: Sports Year Been A Turducken Of Highs And Lows

Many of you are getting ready to pull out that nicely browned turkey from the oven and sit down for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Some of the more adventurous may have decided on something a little more, something extra that allows for thinking outside the box and adding a little bit of something for everyone. Those people are offering a turducken for the Thanksgiving feast.

If you don’t know, you probably want to. A turducken is a delicacy to some, as it is a turkey, a duck and a chicken all in one. Like I said, something for every taste.

Maybe you have a seafood turducken, and in that case, why wasn’t I invited to your house for the holidays. But if you went that route, you probably have crawfish and shrimp stuffed inside that deboned chicken stuffed inside a deboned duck, further stuffed inside a deboned turkey. And you might be getting a visit from my foodie alias who writes Bill’s Bites.

Turduckens, a chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey deboned except for the drumsticks and wings, have been around since the ’80s, mainly in the South. They are very popular in Louisiana.

That’s what we have here in this space. Kind of a turducken, but we call it our Golden Turkey Awards. Our annual awards that offer a little bit of this, a little of that and a lot of something for everyone stuffed all in one traditional Thanksgiving column.

At the same time, the Pumpkin Pie Awards go out for the others in the sports world that have made us smile.

Lions fans were told that 9-7 seasons, fighting for playoff positioning during Thanksgiving games, was not good enough when Jim Caldwell was the head coach. And Caldwell had to go, replaced by Patricia. We were told Patricia came from the New England Patriots coaching tree and Super Bowls were in the future. What we were given is akin to offering ham on Thanksgiving – it just hasn’t fit. Lions went 6-10 last year under Patricia and now six wins would look awfully good, as Detroit can’t seem to get past three.

On the bright side, this could be the only season Patricia gets a Golden Turkey Award, because I’m guessing he won’t be around next year.

After that, we need to cleanse the palate and hand out our first Pumpkin Pie. It has become somewhat a tradition each November to give our own Mr. March a Pumpkin Pie Award and Tom Izzo has earned it again. Despite injuries and having to play what everyone thought was the best team in a generation in Duke and the Zions, Izzo led MSU back to the Final Four. So when the season started this year, MSU was able to hang another Final Four banner, along with a new Big Ten conference championship banner and a Big Ten tournament championship banner.

And as a member of our Pumpkin Pie club for having won multiple awards over the year, Izzo is allowed to hand out a Golden Turkey Award himself, which he is sending to the NCAA for its recent decision not to allow eligibility for Joey Hauser, who had transferred in this season.

Sticking around the campus in East Lansing, there is a package of Golden Turkey Awards being sent to the football offices. Each of the offensive coaches gets an award as the MSU football team seemed to forget it is supposed to score points to win games. Or, they forgot they are supposed to win games … I’m not sure.

For now, Mark Dantonio is spared the Golden Turkey – which wouldn’t be fair to hand to him in the same season he became the winningest MSU coach in program history. But another year like this next year, we may have to forward in his Golden Turkey from his cozy Okemos address to parts unknown.

Even though his trophy case has grown larger since he left Detroit, Justin Verlander will have to make room for our Pumpkin Pie Award as the former Tiger continues to impress by winning another Cy Young award. However, he should keep the box we send it in because, if it turns out his Houston Astros buddies actually were cheating by electronically stealing signs and Verlander was given unfair offensive support to earn all of his wins, we just might have to ask for our Pumpkin Pie back.

That’s a lot to digest in one sitting, just like it takes a bit to get through a turducken, but it is worth it. So for all of our Golden Turkey Award and Pumpkin Pie Award winners, enjoy the taste of victory or defeat, as is the case for you, you deserve it.


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