For Boulder family, Thanksgiving means soccer

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For 25 years, Eric Patterson has gathered with his family and friends at Aurora 7 park on Thanksgiving morning to play soccer.

 

Rain, shine or 20 inches of snow, kids and adults chase a soccer ball around for hours, working up a mighty appetite for the meal to come.

Though a winter storm pummeled the Front Range with snow this week, Patterson didn’t think about canceling the game.

“This is the worst conditions we’ve had in 25 years by far, but it’s been a blast,” he said. “There was never any debate about not coming out.”

There aren’t many rules, Patterson said. The players are split between Team Dinner and Team Turkey so it’s balanced between ages and ability, but no one really keeps score. Anyone is welcome, from immediate family and friends to strangers who happen to be walking by.

“It’s been a great way to bring together this community of ours,” Patterson said. “And it makes room for the feast to follow.”

A few years ago it seemed like the game was on the verge of extinction, Patterson said, because enthusiasm and numbers were declining. But once he realized the 25th anniversary was on the horizon, he was dedicated to keeping the game going.

The longest-running players are Patterson, his ex-wife Donna Wilson Herrmann and their five kids.

They began when their oldest son, Ari, was five years old and joined a soccer team at the YMCA. Now their youngest, 10-year-old Aurora, is learning to keep the tradition going.

Aurora was on Team Turkey, but she took a break to play in the snow with her friends, burying herself up to the waist.

“I like that I get to play soccer with my family and friends,” she said. “It’s really fun.”

But her favorite part of Thanksgiving is still the pumpkin pie.

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