I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving last week (for those of you who celebrate this very American holiday). I look forward to Thanksgiving all year, not only because there is a four day holiday and a Thanksgiving day feast to be had, but it’s a time when we slow down and give thanks. A time to be with our families and friends and appreciate the life we are living, no matter how tough it can get at times. I know, you don’t need a holiday to do this, but there is something special about people all over the nation coming together and valuing the act of giving thanks.
It’s also a time when the state and national parks have very little crowds. The days leading up to Thanksgiving are the least crowded. The last couple of years my family and I took the campervan and enjoyed this time outdoors. The first year we drove a few hours up to Salt Point State Park (previous post here) and were surprised at how empty the place was. The weather is a bit hit-and-miss during this time of year, but it turned out to be beautiful, a little cold, but definitely something cold-weather clothing couldn’t handle. If you don’t want to camp, there is usually lodging nearby available up until the day of Thanksgiving, then the reservations get harder to get a hold of. Last year we went to the Grand Canyon (previous post here) during Thanksgiving and it turned out to be one of our favorite trips.
We were looking forward to another trip this year, but at the last minute they were waylaid for sports obligations. My daughter’s JV volleyball season finished at the end of October and so things were looking good for another Thanksgiving trip in November. Then my daughter got an invitation to play up on Varsity for playoffs. Sure… it’ll be a great experience and how long could it go on for anyway? As the weeks went on, the Varsity team kept winning and eventually became the Division Champs. This moved them through to NorCal championships. They continued to win and soon Thanksgiving week was upon us. Practice was scheduled for everyday except Thanksgiving because Saturday was the finals for the NorCal championships. Winning this game would take them to State championships! So, suffice it to say, we were staying put this year.
On the day of the game, we all got a little stir crazy and decided to head to the beach before the evening game. Looking at the waves and the vast ocean always does wonders. It sounds corny, but the ocean has a way of soothing my soul. Breathing in the crisp ocean air is almost medicinal, it just makes me feel better, happier.
Dunes Beach is one of the four beaches of Half Moon Bay State Beach and we like it because there is usually always parking and fewer people than the other three beaches (info about Dunes Beach in a previous post here). It wasn’t the most sunny day, but it was warm enough to stroll along the beach without a jacket. I was excited about the interesting clouds that were forming above. Not enough to block out the sun, but enough to make your pictures a bit more interesting.
We made it back home in time for the game, refreshed and rejuvenated. Varsity matches play 3 out of 5 games, meaning whoever wins three games first is the winner. Our team started off slow, losing the first two games. However, they were able to turn it around and build momentum to win the next two games. That meant this was all going to be decided on game 5, which only goes to 15 points. The game was close the entire time and you could feel the tension that was emanating off the court. All the girls were under tremendous pressure because everything was on the line. The sacrifices they made to get where they were were about to pay off OR their hopes and dreams of going to state championships were going to be shattered abruptly. Both teams battled hard, and everyone who was in the stands cheered like mad to help their team. The sound in the gym was deafening. Ultimately, there is only one winner and although it was extremely close, it wasn’t meant to be for our team. Both teams were so emotional after the game that many couldn’t hold back their tears.
The level of play was truly incredible and all the girls should walk away from this experience with their heads held high, knowing they were a part of something great. I know it’s a bit raw right now, but someday they will be able to look back on this experience fondly and be proud and thankful that they were able to make it to the finals. It was about the journey to get there, an experience shared with their teammates and coaches that they will remember.
The Thanksgiving break turned out to be very different than what we planned, but it didn’t make it any less special. We spent Thanksgiving day with our close friends, and we will surely treasure the memory. Our simple stroll on Dunes Beach reminded us how wonderful being out in nature feels and to remember to open ourselves up to being in the moment no matter how small (or big). Be in the moment, be present.
In the spirit of giving thanks, I thank you for checking out the post. I really do appreciate it!