How did you spend your Thanksgiving holiday?

How did you spend your Thanksgiving holiday?

I ate my weight in turkey and dressing, spent a wonderful evening at home with my family and ate some more turkey, cranberry relish and my wife’s famous orange rolls.

While most of us were visiting relatives, welcoming family members to our homes or finding new and creative ways to expand our belts, Jordan Whitworth was helping a friend.

Four years ago, Jordan and his brothers – Justin, Luke and his twin, Clayton – called a few friends together to play some Thanksgiving holiday flag football.

The Whitworths – who all played football at Blue Springs High School – met at Peve Stadium and were joined by enough guys to fill four teams.

This year, Jordan got the word out among the Blue Springs, Blue Springs South and Grain Valley football communities that the game would be a charitable event for Jake Cavanaugh, a former Wildcat football player and 2007 graduate who is battling cancer in Houston, Texas.

“We didn’t have any idea what the response would be,” said Whitworth, who now attends Northwest Missouri State University.

“We had 21 teams sign up and 19 played this past Saturday at Peve Stadium. It was pretty amazing.”

Jordan can hardly wait to present the Cavanaugh family a check for $500 to help with medical and travel expenses.

When Jordan and Clayton were in sixth and seventh grade, they served as the ball boys for Justin and Luke’s Wildcat teams.

Saturday, they played alongside the former Wildcats who brought home a state championship.

“Josh Barge and those guys were our heroes when we were kids,” Jordan said, “and there we were Saturday, playing with them. It was so cool – and all four of us were on the same team. And our dad (Matt Whitworth) came down and watched. It was the best part of Thanksgiving for our family.”

As I walked the sidelines at Peve Stadium, I felt like I was at a prep football fantasy camp.

There were 30 or 40 former Examiner All-Area players, Simone Award nominees – including winner Blaine Dalton from Blue Springs South – and enough former Division I players to fill a roster.

“It’s always a great time playing every year in this tournament!” said Barge, a former all-state football and track standout who played football at Wyoming and is now the head football coach at Wentworth Military Academy, “the problem is my mind still thinks I’m 18 but my body tends to disagree with me!”

Bubby Williams, an all-state football and baseball player at Blue Springs, who now plays professional baseball in the Houston Astros organization, was having as much fun as anyone.

“When you get out and play, you want to win and you want to do well,” Williams said, “but it’s just so great to be back in Blue Springs and see all the guys from our high school and all the other schools.”

Andrew Tuggle, a former state champion Wildcat football player and Examiner Player of the Year, said, “The guys are getting after it out there. I’m too old and out of shape to really do much for my team, but I’m having a lot of fun.”

There were no officials and no arguments.

“We talked to the teams before we started and told them this was for Jake,” Jordan said, “and that they better not ruin it by arguing over calls and stuff like that. And everyone was great.”

When he wasn’t playing, Jordan was walking between the main field at Peve Stadium and the northwest practice field, which also served as a site for games.

“We want this to get bigger and better every year,” Jordan said, after answering a couple of questions for one of the teams. “I never in a million years thought we would go for four teams to 19 teams in just four years.

“And now that people know it’s going to be for charity or for someone in need, the sky’s the limit.”

Just like Jordan’s humanitarian side.

There’s no limit to what this young man can accomplish when he puts his mind to it, and gets his friends involved.