BR: “Every year, we have the Turkey Bowl. It’s our annual Thanksgiving tradition.”
PAR: “What happens at the Turkey Bowl?”
BR: “Funny you should ask, because the same thing happens every year.”
PAR: “So you guys plan it out ahead of time?”
BR: “Nope. Virtually no planning goes into it whatsoever. We have a text group chat no one ever sends messages in and that’s about it.”
PAR: “Then how do you know what’s going to happen?”
BR: “We’ve been doing this for so long – the past 15 years I think but I really don’t remember how it started – and everyone just kind of knows what to expect.”
PAR: “And that is?”
BR: “Well we start off the morning by staking out our territory. We have always played on the same field and, no matter what time we show up, there is always a group ahead of us. As the group finishes up their game, the other families show up with the essentials: donuts, coffee, and beer. Eventually, the group ahead of us finishes and we get on the field. It is at this point that the C family shows up. They always arrive late – like clockwork. We pick teams and somehow they always end up the same. From there, cousin J insists on kicking off the ball. He runs up to it and has the ball pulled out from under him Charlie Brown style. I kid you not, this has happened literally every single year for the past fifteen years.”
PAR: “You’re joking.”
BR: “Somehow I’m not (laugh). Anyways, the game goes on and aunt S shows up. Everyone always tells her to not come because she will get too cold, yet she does anyway. Just like we all said, she gets too cold and complains about the temperature. Then she yells at her kids for not wearing enough clothes. After making several remarks that the game should be over, she leaves. It is around this point that uncle Z thinks he is still a Division 1 athlete and sacrifices his body on a play. He totally hurts his knee and we have to help him off the field. Now the game is winding down. The last play always results in the game being a tie. From there, we go and kick field goals for 20 minutes before heading home to catch the tail end of the parade.”
BR lives in NJ with his family and has done the Turkey Bowl annually for the past 15 years. He claims that it is a way for all of the extended families to see each other on Thanksgiving before heading their separate ways. BR is unsure as to how the Turkey Bowl actually started; however, the ritual has managed to repeat itself every year since its inception.
I think it is extremely interesting that the same events have unfolded annually for the past 15 years without any outside intervention. I think this goes to show that people enjoy ritualistic tradition and will subconsciously and uniformly repeat themselves.