My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is not the turkey. It's not the mashed potatoes, stuffing or apple pie. It's not even the fact that we get 2 (or 3!) days off to relax. My absolute favorite thing about Thanksgiving is the all American tradition of the "Turkey Trot", the fun runs that take place in towns across America around Thanksgiving every year. I love everything about it. There is something really comforting about getting up early on a day you are looking forward to and stepping outside in the cold and quiet Autumn morning to put your stamp on the day before anyone else can! Seeing all the smiling and friendly faces of the adults and kids in my community at the start line experiencing a similar energy to me, only enhances the positive vibe. To me, the warmth of the cheering and camaraderie is what Thanksgiving is all about and if you are feeling a little down around the holiday, there is no better medicine for turning your frown upside down. The Turkey Trot in my town sets the tone for the day and reminds me what the day is all about: GRATITUDE for everyone in my life.
So this year, when I did my annual check in with the rest of my family to see who wanted to sign up for our town's Turkey Trot with me, and my husband said he wouldn't be signing up this year because he was doing a different race, I gasped in disappointment. What did he mean, he wasn't signing up!?!?! Once he told me that he was participating in a different race, though, I wholeheartedly agreed with his decision and now I can't stop thinking about the absolute BEST Turkey Trot I have ever heard of in my whole entre life.
Each Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Fuller Middle School in Framingham has a half day. This isn't your ordinary half day, however. It's Turkey Trot Day! Each grade has an hour for their very own 1 mile race, and while students, teachers and administrators are NOT required to run, they only have 2 choices for the day. They can either run or stand outside with their homemade signs and cheer for the teachers and students who are running. There is no other option. At the end of the day, the 3 grades gather together in the gym for a giant pep rally.
Fuller Middle School is diverse and filled with a lot of different backgrounds and perspectives on the world. The fact that this school has created such a special, unique and healthy way to bring students together is beyond admirable and I applaud the Physical Education teachers who started this tradition almost a decade ago. I love thinking of how the kids are given the opportunity to inspire each other and wonder how many kids go from cheering one year, to running the next. The kids may not even realize it, but just like the Turkey Trot in my town, this special tradition is setting the tone for the holiday ahead and reminding them what the day is all about. Whether you are cheering on your friends, or you are the one getting cheered for, the positive energy that is being created triggers those warm and cozy feelings of gratitude. Well done, Fuller Middle School.