Thanksgiving football is a family tradition - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Thanksgiving football is a family tradition

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(11/22/12) - For 37 years, it's been Thanksgiving tradition for a Mid-Michigan family. Thursday morning, when they lined up to play football, someone special was in the audience.

In 1975, Guerra family members thought it would be fun to play a pickup game of football. It turned out they were right.

"And it's just kind of evolved into my family doing it every single year since then," said Lionel Guerra.

When the 14 siblings started raising their own families, the teams - and the game - got bigger.

"For me, it's great every year, but my kids look forward to it so much. It's hard the night before just getting them to go to bed. They can't wait. They're so excited to play football. It's fun," said Reuben Guerra.

Joining them this year for the first time is the matriarch of the family.

"I've never seen them play. I hear all about it but I've never been here in person," said Celia Guerra.

It seems that while the kids were having fun, Celia was slaving over a hot stove.

"I would be home, working on my turkey to get things ready for Thanksgiving," she said. 

As more and more people show up, they're invited to join the game. The rule of 11 on a team doesn't apply here.

"Sometimes people come home from out of town, you know, and haven't played in 10 years and they just show up and it's really neat," said Reuben Guerra.

There's plenty of trash talk.

"Reuben picks with his heart. I pick with my mind. So that's why we usually win," said John Guerra.

"It's tough for John to make a good decision. I feel bad for him," Reuben said with a laugh.

It's strictly touch football.

"We never have any injuries," Lionel said.

The younger generation plans to keep the tradition alive for years to come.

"I think that it's just the time for everybody to get together, play and have fun," said Max Guerra.

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