THE REILLY THANKSGIVING INVITATIONAL STORY: As Told by Those Born of the Greatest Generation
How a Dallas touch football game became a national symbol for tradition and friendship.
For more than a half-century, a group of Dallas friends assembled to play touch football each Thanksgiving Day morning on the front lawn of their old elementary school in White Rock. As the men aged, their determination and love of the game stayed strong.
After the final game in 2009, Dallas reporter John Anders noted:
“They arrived on walkers and in iron lungs…Grandchildren would drop them off and perhaps stay behind to serve as stretcher-bearers following the conflict.”
Now, six decades later, team captains Brent Parrott and Bryan Renfro are sharing this beautiful story of friendship and Texas football in their new book, The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story, which released in November.
About the Book
In 1960, on the front lawn of an elementary school in North East Dallas, a tradition was born. A group of seventh-grade boys captured the free time before Thanksgiving dinner to engage in a game of touch football. It was a good day to play. So good, in fact, that the game would resume each year at the same time in the same place.
Through the ebb and flow of lives, loves, and responsibilities, the Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational continued for five decades. The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story offers a first-hand glimpse into an era long past and captures the essence of tradition, friendship, life lessons, history, culture, the ups and downs, happiness, and sadness for those lost, over decades.
Today, Alzheimer’s has touched most of the 22 members and a portion of the book proceeds will be donated to Alzheimer’s research.
About the Authors
Dallas natives, Brent Parrott and Bryan Renfro are life-long friends and the co-authors of The Reilly Thanksgiving Invitational Story. Brent Parrott is a writer, former technology executive, and teacher, and currently serves as Board Chairman for the charter schools of Pioneer Technology & Arts Academy. Bryan Renfro graduated in 1970 from the University of Texas at Arlington and was drafted into the Army the following year during the Viet Nam war. He was the editor and sports writer for Sound Off, the base’s newspaper in Fort Meade, Maryland. For five decades, he served as the organizer and “Commissioner” of the annual Thanksgiving touch football game known locally as the Turkey Bowl that is chronicled in the book.