Happy Thanksgiving, readers! In a lot of ways, the Big Ten is like a big family. We’re a bunch of idiosyncratic weirdos who love each other, mostly because we’re stuck with each other. For those of you stuck with your family all day, here’s a column to make that feel a little more like Big Ten basketball. And for those of you lucky enough to get to watch basketball all day, here is a column to make you feel guilty about it.
The Big Ten as the Relatives at your Family’s Thanksgiving Dinner
-Purdue - Cousin Isaac
Cousin Isaac is in med school and it seems like he has been forever, but this is his last year, and he’s really hoping to get that prestigious residency in San Antonio. If he doesn’t get him it will just crush him. But he tells you that he just had a volunteering opportunity that went badly, and you suspect he won’t get it.
-Michigan State - Your significant other’s family
It’s a bunch of new people you haven’t interacted with altogether before, but you’ve heard good things about all of them individually and you’re hoping that you all mesh together.
-Minnesota - Quiet Cousin Ricky
“Where’s Uncle Rick? Did anyone invite him this year?”
“Didn’t you hear? He got divorced from your Aunt Louie.”
[Cousin Ricky munches turkey in silence]
-Wisconsin - Grandma and Grandpa
Your grandma and grandpa are always consistent, always among the first four people to arrive, and always eat really, really slowly.
-Maryland - Mark, the neighbor kid
A few years ago, feeling sorry about how George had been disowned from his previous family, you invited him over to your dinner. And you had a pretty good time! Now he comes every year, and he’s part of the family, I guess.
-Penn State - Your sister’s kids
They’re from Philadelphia and they’re young and they run around everywhere without knowing who anyone is or what they’re doing, but you still hope they grow up strong so that you can be proud of them.
-Northwestern - Cousin Christy
Cousin Christy finally got engaged! …last year. This year, well, all the family really cared about was marrying her off, so nobody’s really talking to her or about her. She’s building a new house, but it’s not ready yet, so she’s staying with her neighbor, Paul.
-Iowa - Your brother, Fredo
He’s smart, and he wants respect! But based on how things have gone so far, you’re pretty sure you’re going to kill him this year.
-Ohio State - Aunt Columba
Aunt Columba was married to Uncle Thaddeus for years and years and they had three great kids and bought a vacation house and were the envy of the family. Then he got sick and she divorced him.
-Michigan - Aunt Ann
Aunt Ann hates Aunt Columba, and vice versa. Nevertheless, they are inseparable. They always end up playing cards in the middle of the table. You aren’t sure what the rules are, and you can’t look them up, because they only ever call it “The Game”.
-Indiana - Great Grandpa Branch
A man of extreme dignity and incredible accomplishments… 60 years ago. Now he can’t stop crapping the bed.
-Illinois - Great Aunt Urbana
For years and years she talked about how the family had Indian roots. Then she went on Ancestry.com and found out it wasn’t true. She hasn’t really been the same since.
-Rutgers - Great Uncle Henry
Great Uncle Henry was an alcoholic for years and years. Now, he’s finally gotten clean and he’s forcing everyone to listen about how sorry he is and how much better things are going to be. You hope he’s right, but you just smile and nod.
-Nebraska - The turkey
Just there for everyone else to feast on.