Gratitude Games

By Glenn A. Hascall


A televised broadcast of the Gratitude Games pits contestants against each other as they vie for top spot in the overall demonstration of gratitude. When a grandma and her granddaughter stumble onto the field by accident - everyone learns something about being thankful.




(Sports theme music up and underneath the first few seconds of sketch)
ANDY: Welcome to the 49th annual Gratitude Games. I'm Andy Johnson.
DAVE: And I'm Dave Sherlock. You know Andy, this looks to be another great year for gratitude. Our field of competitors have gathered from around the world to compete in this years games.
ANDY: That's right, Andy. Competitors will be given a ruling by our panel of judges based on their ability to express genuine gratitude under a variety of situations.
DAVE: And as we've seen in previous competitions these games can bring out the best and worst in our competitors. I remember last year when..
(Mom & Daughter walk out on stage in normal clothing)
ANDY: Sorry to interrupt you Dave, but our first team has taken the field. The judges have chosen a domestic setting with common mother daughter struggles to make this first challenge a tough one.
DAVE: It looks like they're ready. Let's listen in.
MOM: Did you have a good day at school today, Jesse?
JESSE: (Friendly) Yeah, we're learning about world history and stuff. It's alright (Pause and then disgruntled) for school I guess.
ANDY: Oh, Dave, that's got to hurt this team's overall standings
DAVE: That's right, Andy. She went from positive gratitude to negative sarcasm in only one sentence.
MOM: Your dad and I are so proud of you, Jesse. You're a wonderful daughter. (Pause) I'm certain things will get better in school.
JESSE: Thanks Mom.
(They exit the stage)
ANDY: You can tell this is a novice team here at the Gratitude Games.
DAVE: That's right Andy. In fact it's the first appearance for Jesse and her mom in these games.
ANDY: They started slow but ended on a pretty good note. Let's see what the judges had to say about their overall performance.
(Signs are raised from behind a partition of some sort. Ratings should vary, but there should be one in each group that is only 2.7 the rest can alter)
DAVE: Awww, not a benchmark score, but at least this mother/daughter team has something to build on.
ANDY: That's the only good news here, Dave.  That slip of sarcasm had to hurt. Let's hope Jesse learns from her mistake.
(Clare & Rudy walk on stage)
DAVE: Clare and Rudy are making their way onto the field now.
ANDY: These two women have been friends for more than ten years and Clare just helped Rudy move into a new apartment.
DAVE: Let's check in on the action.
CLARE: Your new place looks so nice.
RUDY: Thanks Clare, I couldn't have done it without you.
CLARE: You're welcome.
RUDY: Although I do wish you could have been a little more careful with my things.
CLARE: (Defensive) What's there to be careful about? Your things look like garage sale rejects.
RUDY: Look, I was just making a comment about how little respect you seem to have for things that do not belong to you.
CLARE: I didn't see anyone else willing to help you move. Believe me I've had more fun watching the froth on a latte. (Walks off stage)
RUDY: Where are you going? (Follows her)
DAVE: These competitors might well be victims of the 'familiarity breeds contempt' malady that affects many competitors who work closely with someone for a long period of time.
ANDY: In any event, the judges are making their thoughts known, Dave.
(Cards are raised with lower scores - one will still have the 2.7 card)
DAVE: They started strong and ended weak. The scores reflect the negative tone of the overall performance.
(Kyle & Sam walk onto the stage)
ANDY: Dave, this is the first all male team in today's competition.
DAVE: This team has been working hard all year to demonstrate their own unique brand of gratitude. Let's listen in.
KYLE: Hello, Sam. How are you?
SAM: Couldn't be better, thanks for asking.
KYLE: No problem, I've just learned that - No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks.
SAM: I've felt the same way for a long time - The very fact that a man is thankful implies Someone to be thankful to.
KYLE: You got that right - I mean, Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies.
SAM: Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action.
KYLE: You know, it's not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving.
ANDY: These guys are shameless. We've seen a multitude of gratitude expressed in our years of covering these games.
DAVE: But these guys are relying exclusively on quotes about gratitude instead of expressing personal thankfulness.
ANDY: It's a shame, but that violates the rules of the gratitude games.
DAVE: Simply put, this team has been disqualified.
(Shaylee and Grandma come onto stage)
ANDY: Wait, it looks like we have a new team taking the field.
SHAYLEE: I'm so glad you brought me to these games, grandma.
GRANDMA: I'm glad you could come.
SHAYLEE: I just like being with you.
GRANDMA: Well, thank you, Shaylee. I like being with you too.
SHAYLEE: There sure are a lot of people.
GRANDMA: That's true. They just want to see what gratitude really looks like.
SHAYLEE: You mean thankfulness?
GRANDMA: That's right.
SHAYLEE: That's easy - thankfulness is a feeling that starts somewhere down around your toes and bubbles up until it spills over your lips. It fills your brain and you just can't help letting people know that what they do makes your day.
GRANDMA: Why, that's about the best description of thankfulness I've ever heard, Shaylee. But you want to know something?
SHAYLEE: What Grandma?
GRANDMA: Thankfulness is also a choice.
SHAYLEE: What do you mean?
GRANDMA: Well, even when you're not happy you can still choose to be thankful.
SHAYLEE: Even when I don't feel like it?
GRANDMA: Especially if you don't feel like it.
SHAYLEE: Sometimes I just get so full of thanks it just leaks out all over the place.
GRANDMA: It's a privilege to have some spill over on me.
SHAYLEE: I love you grandma.
GRANDMA: I love you too, Shaylee. (Hug) Let's go see if we can find you some ice cream.
SHAYLEE: (Excited) ICE CREAM!!! Wow, thanks, grandma. (They both walk off stage).
DAVE: (EXCITED) This is amazing. I don't think I have ever seen such a perfect gratitude routine in all my years covering these games.
ANDY: You know, you're right Dave. It seemed the interaction was so natural, wholesome and heartfelt. It was almost as if they didn't even know we were here.
DAVE: Let's see what the judges think.
(All cards say 10.0 except for the card that says 2.7 - this card is flashed for a few seconds then pulled - the 2.7 is cross out and a 10.0 is placed on the card).
ANDY: The lady and her granddaughter had such a natural way about them. They almost seemed to have a heart of gratitude well before they took the field.
DAVE: I can safely say, this is the best gratitude exhibition I have ever witnessed. Let's see if we can't talk to the winners of this year's games.
(Someone timidly leads the girl and her grandma toward the two announcers).
ANDY: Congratulations. You're the overwhelming winner of this year's Gratitude Games. How did you prepare for the competition?
DAVE: You must have had some strategy.
GRANDMA: Strategy?
SHAYLEE: (Pulls on grandma's hand and grins) They think we were in the games.
(Andy and Dave look confused)
ANDY: You were part of the games.
DAVE: Weren't you?
GRANDMA: I was just trying to find the ice cream stand and must have gotten lost.
SHAYLEE: (Grinning) No wonder everyone was looking at us so funny.
ANDY: You mean to say you weren't contestants in today's games?
GRANDMA: My goodness, NO! The thought never entered my mind.
DAVE: Yet our judges gave you a perfect score. How do you explain it?
SHAYLEE: Oh that's easy. When you're really thankful you don't have to pretend, it just .
GRANDMA: Spills out on other people. (They hug and walk off stage holding hands)
ANDY: An unexpected turn of events here at the Gratitude Games.
DAVE: You know, Andy, I think Shaylee summed it up best when she said, "Thankfulness is a feeling that starts somewhere down around your toes and bubbles up until it spills over your lips. It fills your brain and you just
can't help letting people know that what they do makes your day."
ANDY: That's all the time we have for this years broadcast, remember to keep showing others how grateful you are.
DAVE: You'll both be glad you did.
ANDY & DAVE: Thank you and good-bye.
(Music up)
Copyright 2003 by Glenn A. Hascall
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