During this time of Thanksgiving, we’re thankful for…

Here in the United States, yesterday was Thanksgiving. A time to reflect on what we’re thankful for in our lives. A time for pause and thinking about things that we may be too busy to think of on an everyday basis. Our friends. Our families. Our military men and women who selflessly sacrifice much more than their lives to fight for our freedoms and interests all over the world.

So while everyone has their own personal laundry list of thanks, as an entity, these are the top five things we’re thankful for…

5. THE LISTENERS OF THE 303:30. With this last episode, we passed the millenium mark in unique listeners. We are thankful for every one of the 1,000 different people who have listened, subscribed or just heard portions of the show that we love doing so much. From Helene Elliott of the LA Times to comedian Mike Birbiglia to John Ondrasik of Five for Fighting to Nashville Predators prospect Taylor Beck, we’ve been blessed with great guests that have helped our show be way more entertaining than Codey and I ever could have been alone. We want to thank all of the media relations contacts, all of the publicists and all of the guests themselves for being so accommodating and accessible.

And speaking of media relations contacts…

4. TIM DARLING and KEVIN WILSON. Without these two guys, section303.com would never have been able to consider themselves “media.” Over the summer, Tim Darling and Kevin Wilson of the Predators Media Relations Department formally invited section303.com to cover development camp, training camp and the pre-season games. We were given media access to the locker room after practices and games, we were put on the e-mail list alerting media of transactions and team news and, most of all, we were given an opportunity to have a legit voice among other highly esteemed journalists and bloggers. Joining the likes of John Glennon of the Tennessean, Brandon Felder of hockeybuzz.com and Buddy Oakes of the Columbia Daily Herald and predsontheglass.com, we took in practices and games, vented frustrations and just learned from them by example. And while we’re extremely thankful for those friendships, without Darling and Wilson extending an invite, we’d just be two fans with a website. Instead, we’re two fans with a website, a podcast and a little bit of clout.

3. DAVID FREEMAN, ET AL. On a sunny summer afternoon in a non-traditional market, the Arena was overrun by 7,000+ passionate fans who wanted to keep their hockey team in Nashville, Tennessee.

Nashville Predators fan Jeremy K. Gover holds up a sign at a rally on July 19, 2007, in Nashville, Tenn., held by a local group trying to sell enough season tickets to keep the Predators' lease in effect after the 2007-08 season. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Nashville Predators fan Jeremy K. Gover holds up a sign at a rally on July 19, 2007, in Nashville, Tenn., held by a local group trying to sell enough season tickets to keep the Predators' lease in effect after the 2007-08 season. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The folks over at 104.5 the Zone and the group of fans over at savethepredators.com banded together and staged a rally. One in which First Lady Andrea Conte noticed a certain sign in the crowd, brought it on stage and held it up with her husband Governor Phil Bredesen for all the hockey world to see. The image of the Governor and the First Lady holding up the sign was thereby etched in Predators fans’ minds forever. It was shown on the jumbotron during almost every home game of the 2007-08 season and even occasionally during the 08-09 campaign. The sign appeared in newspapers across North America, as far away as Anchorage, Alaska and became an iconic rallying cry for non-traditional hockey markets everywhere.

All that being said, David Freeman and the ownership group stepped up and saved the Predators from the hands of Jim Balsille and his band of mischievous misfits with the hopes of relocating the team to Hamilton, Ontario. He might have actually pulled it off too but, in today’s technological society, word got out that Balsille had already started taking deposits on season tickets. And, if there was any one thing that upset the fanbase and the city of Nashville more – even people who didn’t care about hockey – it was the arrogance and over-confidence of an outsider. Freeman and the other investors stepped in and made sure that Balsille was forced to move on and pick on someone else.

2. MARK HOLLINGSWORTH. Without him, the Cell Block would never be. Once upon a time (actually on October 10, 1998), drawing on his experience traveling the country as a writer for a defunct hockey magazine, Hollingsworth stood up and introduced himself to his soon-to-be-followers. “We’re going to be loud and crazy and do some chants. If you want to join in, we’d love that. If not, that’s cool too.” At that moment, the Cell Block was born. The team soon supplied the section with it’s own banner to be proudly displayed behind the top row every game. The cellmates quickly became the identity of an expansion franchise without an identity. And after just one season, players throughout the league recognized Nashville as a tough place to play. All because Hollingsworth – even before the puck dropped for Nashville’s first professional sports team – stood up and said “we’re going to be loud and crazy.”

1. THE FANS. Without you, our section’s name wouldn’t be mentioned in video games, we wouldn’t have the ability to single-handedly motivate our boys (or get in the heads of theirs) and we wouldn’t have the loudest building in the NHL. 

Without you, we wouldn’t have our own online presence, we wouldn’t be contributing articles to game programs in Guelph and Cincinnati and we wouldn’t have a bi-weekly podcast.

Without you, we’d just be two guys annoying the heck out of the conservative, reserved and newbie fans up by the perch.

But with you, we annoy them together.