Every-Thing Sports

Which Houston sports figures are invited to Thanksgiving dinner?

Matt Patterson/Houston Texans

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays in which the family will gather even when you haven't seen some of your family members for a while. It's a time in which loved ones, families, friends, and the like come together. Differences are set aside, or not. Beefs are looked past, or not. But there's always a few things we can agree upon: if the food is nasty, it will get roasted. There's tons of other things you could get roasted for. But most important thing is who do you invite? Family, friends, coworkers, exes, neighbors, church members...the list is endless.

Let's say we wanted to narrow the focus of who'd be the best, or worst, guests to invite over for Thanksgiving dinner. As many of you know, not only do you consider who to invite, but you may ask them to bring something. This list is compiled by personality, relationship, and ability to cook/bring a dish. Here's a list of Houston sports figures that made my cut:

Deshaun Watson

Personality/Relationship: He's the super cool younger cousin that dresses nice, has a great career, keeps a nice car, always has a beautiful lady friend, but will always lack something because he hasn't fully grown into his potential as of yet. He's the one that will break generational barriers for the family and everybody does whatever they can to make sure he does. Generous with his wealth, but won't splurge outrageously.

Dish: He will go to the liquor store and bring a good bourbon for the mature crowd, a flavored vodka for the younger crowd, and a really good dessert from a fancy bakery because he doesn't like cooking in his kitchen and is frugal enough not to ask his personal chef to cook anything so he avoids paying overtime

Bill O'Brien

Personality/Relationship: One of the older uncles who's been moderately successful. Because of his moderate success, he thinks he can tell everyone what they should do in life. He's pretty annoying, is pretty good with his money, does have some valid life advice, but the way he talks to everybody is off-putting. He only gets invited because Big Momma and Pawpaw love him. His wife keeps him in line when she's around, and his kids are well behaved.

Dish: His smoked turkey is always too dry. It has good flavor, but it's better as turket jerky or swimming in gravy. His fried turkey once caused a fire and ended in the family ordering pizza and wings. Therefore, he's been tasked with bringing the mac n cheese his wife makes because she's been around long enough for someone to teach her how to "make it right." He always stands around and talks about the uncle who makes the turkey and ham because that used to be his job. He's competively jealous and is waiting on his turn for the spotlight to return.

AJ Hinch

Personality/Relationship: AJ is the cool uncle who's old enough to be in charge of cooking the turkey/ham since the older uncle has been messing it up, but young enough to relate to his nieces, nephews, and cousins. He will sneak off to smoke a joint, but will also make sure the main dishes are prepared correctly. He's the perfect blend of the older and younger generations, therefore, he keeps the family together. Whenever there's a disagreement or crisis, he's the one they look to for help. He teaches the younger guys how to "game the system" so they can take advantage of loopholes or skirt rules. He is known for sneaking off with the youngsters when they go to smoke weed at family functions.

Dish: Because he's taken over as the most responsible of the uncles, he's also now responsible for the main dishes. Smoked/fried turkey, glazed ham, pork tenderloin, duck, or prime rib...he will make sure everything is done properly, flavorful, and cooked at the right temperature. He's asked to only bring the main meat because the other uncles, cousins, adn such are jealous of his ability to do everything he tries just as good, if not better, than everyone else.

James Harden

Personality/Relationship: He's the ultra-talented cousin, who's also very weird. He dresses weird/nice depending on who you ask. He got a good job after going to trade school and moved away. He's barely 30, but runs one of the most successful HVAC companies around because he perfected way to service air conditioning units. Although he's very smart and talented in the HVAC industry, he can't do much else. Most of his company's business comes from servicing units and only a fraction comes from rebuilding them. They usually refer rebuilding jobs out because it's not a job they like to do, although they're completely capable.

Dish: Whenever he's around for holidays, this cousin is asked to bring the alcohol. He's a known partier and likes to have fun. He's been in charge of alcohol and the playlist at family functions since before he was old enough to drink because his partying has been legendary. The older relatives would often ask him what's new on the party scene even when he was in high school because he's been a club promoter as his part time job since he was 16.

Jose Altuve

Personality/Relationship: This is the cousin who grew up over seas and nobody really got the chance to know very well because his parents worked for their church as missionaries. He, along with his wife and kids, are very well liked and respected by everyone. He built a successful non-profit that helps bring fresh water to communities around the world and now partners with major international corporations and mega-churches. Although he's very well-known now, he remains extremely humble and lives a modest lifestyle. Has been known to anonymously pay bills for or take less fortunate family members shopping.

Dish: He and his wife make the best side dishes given their experience in other cultures around the world. Although he's very successful now, they still shop at the local grocery store and have been known to frequent Walmart and/or Target. While they know the family doesn't share their love for all international foods, they will stick to traditional fare. They have been known to show up with more than enough of side dishes and Christmas gifts for everyone since they'll be serving the less fortunate for Christmas and won't be at that family function.

JJ Watt

Personality/Relationship: Here's the cool younger uncle who was the accident baby. The older uncles can't stand him because he's treated as if he can do no wrong and hate it when he's around because everyone acts as if he's some sort of diety or something. He's been known to miss most of the family functions lately because he's always sick. Lately, he's fought off pneumonia, a bad case of mono, and a nasty staph infection. Big Momma lets him get away with anything he wants because he makes sure she has all her groceries and meds. Other family members smile in his face, but talk about him behind his back.

Dish: Whenever he's not sick, he's asked to bring soda and juice. He will often times show up with more than enough and people will bring the rest home. Whenever he's sick and can't make it, Big Momma will make an excuse for him and mix up Kool Aid and her famous sweet tea. His fiance makes sure he buys the name brand sodas and juices, so everyone really likes her.

Alex Bregman

Personality/Relationship: Here comes your sister's arrogant boyfriend! He's a wildly successful IT guy who's company took off. He left college early to start his business and quickly became well off after a couple years. Your sister met him while they were in college, before he became rich. Although most outsiders consider him a dickhead, the family loves him because they know he's just a passionate guy who's obssessed with being great at anything he does. Super competitive to the point he will use signals and stuff to bend the rules and win while playing card games.

Dish: Whatever he's asked to bring is based off what Uncle AJ cooks since it's his daughter he's dating. While Uncle AJ will cook, Alex will have a chef cater whatever he's supposed to bring because he's typically working. While he does kow how to cook, he doesn't always have the time to do so. Your sister doesn't have time either because she's the accountant for his business and a few others.

I hope this article helped you get through the holiday some. I wanted to write something light-hearted and fun because I know all too well how hard holidays can be for some of us. I could have kept going, but didn't want to write a novel of my stupid jokes and comparisons. Have a happy Thanksgiving guys!

WWE's Royal Rumble arrives this Sunday at Minute Maid Park. Photo by Paul Muth

I'm not a big sign guy.

You know sign guys. The people who write puns on posters. The ones who carry the letter "D" in one had and a cutout of a literal fence in the other. The "Houston, YOU have a problem" sign guys.

I tried it once when I was 14, was punched in the face, and sort of lost my appetite after that.

Let me explain.

It was April 1, 2001. Wrestlemania 17. I won't ask my parents how much it cost them, but my aunt and uncle scored floor seats to the greatest spectacle in sports entertainment in no better confines than the Astrodome herself and I got to tag along.

It was a hell of a show. Some say it was one of the best Wrestlemanias ever. The card was stacked, including a Triple-H match against the hometown hero The Undertaker that set the stage for the main event.

At precisely two hours and forty-eight minutes into the event, Undertaker sent Triple-H flying over the barricade and "INTO THE STANDS!"

"Holy crap," 14-year-old Paul thought. "They're headed right down my aisle."

Now I'm not sure how it works these days, but back then it was totally customary to bail on your seat and follow the fight as they weaved up and down the aisles. I wasn't about to miss the chance so I grabbed my poorly scribbled wrestling poster, glanced back and my Aunt for the OK, then darted after the action.

The fight snaked its way up to some scaffolding with a camera perched atop. There, the fight would stall as they battled their way to the top. Oblivious to anything but the action in front of me, I threw my sign up as high as I could, probably screamed at the top of my lungs, and my voice probably cracked in the process. I was 14.

Suddenly someone pushed me in the back of my shoulder. I turned around and there was an old lady, maybe five feet tall, standing on her chair. She had the quintessential cowgirl big hair and enough costume jewelry on to short-circuit a metal detector.

"GET THE @#$% OUT THE WAY, BOY," she commanded in the most east Texas accent you've ever heard in your life. I ignored her and turned back around.

Then she pushed me again.

I turned around again and before I had any clue what was happening, this knockoff mini Dolly Parton had already connected a stiff left hook to my temple. She then grabbed my sign and ripped it in half. Stunned, I retreated to my seat while tending to a now bleeding eyebrow thanks to what I assume was a Wal-Mart engagement ring.

Haven't really been a big sign guy since.

But this weekend the WWE takes over Minute Maid Park for their annual Pay-Per-View event known as the Royal Rumble. It will be the first time since that fateful night in the Astrodome 19 years ago that I've returned to a high profile wrestling event.

Now am I looking forward to this weekend as an opportunity to retake the dignity that was ripped away so long ago? Probably not. I'll most likely just drink a bunch of beer and yell at wrestlers with my friends. But I'm not ruling anything out.

Now instead of a power rankings this week, I figured that in the spirit of the Royal Rumble we could rehash some of the best sports fights Houston's served up:

#5 Charles Barkley throws man through window

Now I know this one didn't happen on a court, but the story is just too good. In a classic case of "play stupid games, win stupid prizes," a 5'2" Floridian by the name of Jorge Lugo decided to harrass the 6'6" then-power forward for the Houston Rockets at an Orlando bar . Barkley ignored and avoided the issue until a Lugo-thrown glass intended for Barkley missed and struck a nearby woman. Bad move. When judge presiding over the ensuing case asked Barkley if he had any regrets, The Round Mound of Rebound replied "Yeah, I regret we weren't on a higher floor."

#4 Chris Paul serves a two-piece to Rajon Rondo

This one is actually fairly recent and adds to what I discovered was a hefty list of Rockets throw downs. After breaking up a stare down between Lakers forward Brandon Ingram and James Harden, Paul and Rondo began a heated chest-to-chest exchange. From all replay indications it appeared as if Rondo then spit on Paul, which triggered a disrespectful finger push to Rondo's face, which then descended into a good old fashioned knuckle sandwich exchange. Paul was suspended for two games.

#3 Derrick Lewis verifies amateur of amateur status

Some dude actually had the nerve to walk in to UFC Heavyweight fighter and Houston native Derrick Lewis' gym and pick a fight. The amateur claimed that he would knock Lewis out because he was an MMA fighter, and not a real boxer. "The Black Beast" was more than happy to oblige, and swiftly teleported the no name into the shadow realm.

#2 Vernon Maxwell fights Portland man

Sometimes people forget that sporting events are intended to be family friendly. Some also forget that players are people with actual feelings. Maxwell claims that aside from general harassment, a Portland fan decided to bring Maxwell's wife's recent miscarriage to light as well. Maxwell stood up from the bench, calmly walked up the stairs, and knocked the crap out of the dude. Maxwell was suspended 10 games.

#1 Andre Johnson baptizes Courtland Finnegan

It had been seasons in the making. Finnegan had built a reputation out of adding cheap shots here and there, ripping helmets off at the end of plays, and various other dirty tactics. In late November of 2010 Johnson had reached the end of his rope. Schadenfreude was the flavor of the day for all Texans fans as Johnson manhandled Finnegan, reigning down fists of righteous justice.

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