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Roundtable: What we’re thankful for this Thanksgiving

It’s been a rough year, but Northwestern football has sustained us since its return.

Wisconsin v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It’s Turkey Day! As we do annually, we here at Inside NU thought we’d reflect on the current state of Northwestern sports, this blog and the world as a whole, reminiscing on what this tumultuous year has brought us.

Check out what our staff is thankful for, and then tell us what you’re thankful for in the comments section below before you head off to watch some pretty bad NFL games and stuff yourselves to the gills with food.

Eli Karp: Everyone who’s made this season possible

I could choose from any multitude of things (there are many good answers below), but I’ll save the sappiness for when Lia and I write our farewell in ::checks notes:: four months. I am thankful to those who have made this football season and our experience covering it possible. This ranges from the doctors advising the Big Ten to all the players and coaches making sacrifices to the media relations departments accommodating our publication to our entire staff (especially the editors) to you, our readers. We don’t need football right now, but we sure as hell are glad it’s back. Please sign up for our weekly NUsletter.

Lia Assimakopoulos: The chance to cover football this season

It’s impossible to put into words how grateful I am for Inside NU, our staff, Northwestern football, the Northwestern Athletic Department and the incredible opportunities I’ve had this fall. 2020 has not been the year anyone would have hoped for, especially us college students, but these past five weeks of football have made it all worth it. I am so lucky to be able to travel the country watching this team make history and work alongside a staff of such hardworking and talented people. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Noah Coffman: The newfound Northwestern swagger

The winning has obviously been great, but a revelation over the first five games of this so far charmed football season has been the atmosphere it has cultivated around the program. From Greg Newsome II leading the rest of the secondary in on-field mean-mugging to Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman becoming only the most recent player to display brazen confidence in weekly press conference, this team’s attitude is infectious and incredibly fun to both observe and, occasionally, join in on.

Colin Kruse: My fellow Inside NU editors

I'm truly blessed to have the opportunity to work alongside some of the most brilliant, creative, insightful and funny journalistic minds on Northwestern’s campus. We've had quite an odd tenure in the midst of a global pandemic, but I'm thankful it's all paying off with a phenomenal football season. Maybe we’ll spend New Year’s Day in Pasadena.

Mac Stone: This staff, this football team and what’s to come

I think we can all agree that 2020 has been one heck of a year. I’m extremely grateful for the Inside NU staff, the opportunities Inside NU has given me and, of course, this football team. When Big Ten football returned, I was just excited to have something to look forward to every Saturday. The way the ‘Cats have been playing is nothing short of a dream come true and is a bright spot in what has otherwise been a terrible year. I can’t wait to see what comes next.

Avery Zimmerman: Mike Hankwitz

I mean, the job that this guy is doing thus far is on another planet. I am incredibly thankful to root for this Northwestern team, and one of the reasons it is so enjoyable is the wizard that runs the defense. Every time Northwestern’s defensive group takes the field, I have the utmost confidence that they’ll come away with a stop, and without Hankwitz that wouldn’t be possible. Thanks, Mike!

Jacob Brown: Northwestern Football

Any normalcy is appreciated right now. Waking up in a Saturday and having something to be excited about would’ve been almost unthinkable in August. NU has also avoided any Covid scares this year and gotten to play some good games. Win or lose, nothing makes my heart quite as full as seeing a wave of purple crush a quarterback.

Gavin Dorsey: Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman

RCB’s emergence as Peyton Ramsey’s favorite target over the last few weeks is one of the primary reasons if not THE primary reason that the offense is able to move the ball downfield. With likely four games to go, he has already set career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns, while leading the team in those categories. There’s a lot to be thankful for on this team, but I’m going to go with the senior offensive weapon as my No. 1.

William Karmin: Pat Fitzgerald

How can one not be thankful for Fitz? He has been one of the few bright spots in 2020 with no individual representing NU with his pride and charisma. He has poured his heart into this program and now has the ‘Cats on the verge of its second Big Ten Championship appearance in three years. I am thankful for all that Fitz brings to the school and hope NU has him for the entirety of his coaching career.

Liam Warin: Eku Leota

Leota has had a phenomenal season, constantly pressuring opposing quarterbacks, as best exemplified by his performances against Graham Mertz and Aidan O’Connell. I am incredibly thankful Northwestern has an edge presence that helps the secondary do its job by limiting QBs’ time to throw and creating inaccurate passes that J.R. Pace, Brandon Joseph, and Greg Newsome Jr. feast upon to create the lockdown Wildcat defense we’ve seen this year.

Sydney Supple: The Inside NU Family

This is my first year being a part of Inside NU, and I have felt so welcomed from day one by the entire staff, especially Lia. Being an athlete at Northwestern, I have only ever known what life is like between the lines. This year, I am most thankful for the opportunity to be involved with sports when I’m outside the lines. As a writer for Inside NU, it has shown me the beauty of sports from the reporter’s view.

Claire Kuwana: The Pound the Talk Crew

Being thrown into hosting a weekly podcast — in the middle of quarantine, might I add — has been quite the rollercoaster, but Will and Matt have made the whole experience so much better by being the most kind, hard-working and adaptable people to work with. Especially now that we have actual football games to talk about, each episode is so fun to record, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to challenge myself on a new platform.

Josh Miller: Resilience

Big Ten leadership made the tough decision to not play football at the beginning of the season, feeling a need to prioritize health and safety of student-athletes and coaches. I’m thankful that the Big Ten’s Council of Presidents and Chancellors, chaired by Northwestern’s own Morton Schapiro, reversed course and decided that the Big Ten could safely return to football once they had more stable plans in place. The season hasn’t been without its disruptions, which is just par for the course in 2020, but I’m thankful that they tried to make the season work with the expectation it may not be perfect.

Sarah Effress: The Hilton Garden Inn Evanston

I had the privilege this year to write my first Inside NU article on the second floor of the Hilton Garden Inn, where I lived my first fall quarter. Other than the hotel’s walking distance from game-day favorite Buffalo Joe’s, the HGI hosts the Northwestern football team each Friday before home games. Despite having no game-day experiences yet, seeing the team bus outside the hotel each week was a reminder of how proud and thankful I am to be a part of the Wildcat family.

Michael Barthelemy: Peyton Ramsey

Ramsey’s competence as a passer is all a Northwestern fan could ask for after last year’s offensive fiasco. Ramsey consistently makes the big throws for this offense and is able to put points on the board. He stays composed in big moments and doesn’t make too many mistakes. Even if Northwestern isn’t lighting up the scoreboard, putting up over 16 points a game consistently is something all fans should be thankful for.

Didi Jin: The Inside NU Faithful

I’m a Northwestern freshman who loves college sports but has never been to a college sporting event, so the derailment of this football season because of COVID-19 was fairly upsetting. But while not being able to cheer on the ‘Cats in-person at Ryan Field is tough, reading comments on articles and gamethreads has been such a positive reminder of why I decided to start writing for Inside NU. Chasmo, J Wood, bweinbe2, everyone else: if you’re reading this, I appreciate you.