Thanksgiving Football in the Poconos: A Family Tradition

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STROUDSBURG - Thanksgiving meant playing some pigskin in the Poconos.

High School football moved from Friday night to Thursday morning for the annual Stroudsburg-East Stroudsburg South game.

The holiday game kicked off at 10 a.m.

On this holiday, Wanda Courtright of Stroudsburg wouldn't be anywhere else.

"You get up early, you put your turkey in the oven," said Wanda.  "And, while it`s roasting, you're here at the game having a good time."

People call the annual Stroudsburg --East Stroudsburg South game a friendly rivalry and a great way to start Thanksgiving.

Wanda Courtright has been at almost every Thanksgiving day game since the late 1960s.

"Even in the worst of weather, we've been sitting here.  There's nothing better," said Wanda on a day where it was brisk and sunny.

A few things have changed since Wanda Courtright came here as a kid.  The players are bigger.  And, the field is now made of artificial turf.

But, the things that don't change also keep people coming.

For Wanda Courtright, it's the Stroudsburg High Band, which still plays rock and roll oldies, like "Vehicle" from the 1970s and "Come On Eileen" from the 80s.

The concession stand serves more coffee and less food than other games as fans save room for turkey.

Wanda Courtright keeps a special bond with her own past. She was a Stroudsburg High cheerleader in 1970. Her son played in the early 1990's. And her granddaughter, Makenzy, keeps the tradition alive. She's a Stroudsburg High cheerleader.

Wanda says that makes the event even more meaningful.

"Pride.  A lot of pride."

Pride, memories, and tradition. It's why morning football in the Poconos will always be a part of Wanda Courtright's Thanksgiving morning.