The Thanksgiving Guide To Watching Sports While Pretending You're Not

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Thanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday of the year.

It's not too cold out, but it's definitely sweater weather. You actually get time to spend with friends and family. And the food, well, I'm getting all warm, fuzzy and full just thinking about it.

In addition to all those great things, Thanksgiving is also about watching sports, whether your family wants to admit it or not.

But here's the conundrum sports fans have been trying to solve for ages: How do I watch all the games I want while still engaging with my family?

You're not alone. And this year, there's relief.

I'm going to teach you how to fly as close to the sun as possible without your wings burning up in a turkey, stuffing and angry family disaster.

From the minute you step foot in Mom and Dad's house to the moment you hug them goodbye, here's the Thanksgiving guide to watching the sports you want while looking like that's the last thing on your mind.

Under no circumstances should you even mention sports on the day you arrive home.

For those of us who are heading to our parents' place on Thanksgiving eve, this is a cardinal rule I cannot stress the importance of enough.

When you walk in the door and greet Mom and Dad after barely having any radio contact with them since August, your first conversation shouldn't be about what time dinner starts tomorrow because the Panthers-Cowboys game is on at 4:30 pm and then it's Bears-Packers right after.

Thanks to the Internet, you know what time these games are. The name of the game is never to address your desire to watch sports, but always to be scheming the best ways to do so.

Your parents already think/know you put sports above almost everything in your life, no reason to reinforce that fact.

Thanksgiving eve can be your best friend when it comes to setting yourself up for a holiday win.

There are no NFL games taking place the night before Thanksgiving. There are no FBS college football games, either. And while there is a slew of NHL and NBA games on, there aren't any particular games that I would categorize as a must-see.

You get my drift?

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is ideal because it will afford you a solid window of quality family and friends time before the madness that is Thanksgiving.

You'll be doing the "right thing," knowing you're not missing much in the way of sports, and all your family will see is a fine, young individual who's clearly progressing and maturing far beyond their expectations.

"Isn't there a game on you want to watch?"

"No, Mom. I just want to know what's going on in your life."

I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. In spending all this quality, tv-free time with the fam, you'll already be in their good graces for the rest of Thanksgiving.

That way, when you sneak off to catch Cam Newton dancing all over Dallas, there's less of a chance your mom wonders where you are. She probably thinks you're taking a walk with Uncle Morty or something because that's what good people do.

Plus, you can catch the West Coast games after your rents go to sleep if you really need that sports fix.

Be the first one up on Thursday, and you'll be the last one they look for when shi*t hits the fan later.

It's go-time, baby. Set your alarm reasonably early on the morning of Thanksgiving and make sure your family knows you're down to help with whatever they need.

Someone has to go pick up last-minute food items? You got this. Someone needs to pick up Grandma and Grandpa later? Yup, no worries. Someone needs to set the table before the first guests arrive? You're already on it.

Jumping on these little things early will not only put you in familial good graces early on in what can be a pretty hectic holiday, it'll mean it's someone else's turn to step up once all the good sporting events are on later in the day.

Your relatives are like an impenetrable sports shield, use them wisely.

I know you're looking forward to spending time with your cousins about as much as having a root canal, but this can be a major advantage for sports fans on Thanksgiving.

What you should do is isolate one or two relatives and casually bring the conversation into a room with a television. Now, you'll be able to talk to your aunt and uncle -- which will make your parents very happy -- while watching DeMarco Murray give death stares to Mark Sanchez.

This rule of thumb goes for any point in the day, really. A sure-fire way to catch the three NFL Thanksgiving games, as well as the evening's two FBS college football games, is to rotate relatives and always make sure you're in a room with a TV.

Just remember, you can't be so obvious about putting the game on or else your cover stands a good chance of being blown.

Either put the television/game channel on before bringing family into the room or make sure you position yourself as close to the remote control as possible.

One false move and suddenly word is spreading like wildfire that you should be disowned because you're prioritizing watching sports over hanging with your family on Thanksgiving.

Congratulations, you made it out of Thanksgiving 2015 in better shape than you came in... kind of.

Your gut may be busting by the time it's ready to pack up and head back to your hole-in-the-wall apartment, but you're leaving knowing you did Thanksgiving right.

You watched all there was to watch, and your family has the best impression possible of the kid who they were worried about there for a while.

Maybe you're even heading home with leftovers!

Follow these few simple rules and you'll dominate for years to come. Here's to family, food and, most importantly, sports.