It’s 7:30 on Thanksgiving morning. Michigan women’s basketball coach Kim Barnes Arico is at Bruegger’s Bagels and runs into two first grade teachers. They think she’s there to pick up bagels for a nice Thanksgiving breakfast. But Barnes Arico is headed to practice. The teachers are astonished.

“You have practice on Thanksgiving?”

The Wolverines still had practice on Thanksgiving, and have few off days throughout the season. Barnes Arico said practice was great and ran as usual, but the team still participated in a few special Thanksgiving-related activities afterwards. The team went around and shared things each individual was thankful for. That exercise was taken a step further when everyone wrote a letter to someone, whether it be a family member, friend or coach that they wanted to say thank you to.

After practice, the team parted ways in the afternoon and chowed down.

Sophomore guard Katelynn Flaherty spent her Thanksgiving with the team, though her family came into Ann Arbor on Friday. Most of the meal was catered, but two teammates made macaroni and cheese and another made fried chicken.

“It was nice, it was great to have a family feel during the holidays,” Flaherty said. “I’m surrounded by my coaches who are like second parents to me, and my teammates who are like sisters.”

Freshman center Hallie Thome spent the holiday with freshman guard Boogie Brozoski. Brozoski’s great aunt and other relatives live nearby, and Thome appreciated the time she was able to spend with them. After spending the night, while Barnes Arico was at Bruegger’s, Thome enjoyed waffles for breakfast.

Barnes Arico’s mother was in town, so she went home and enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal prepared by her mother and husband. She loved to be able to spend quality time with her family, which she said they don’t frequently get the opportunity to do.

Her favorite dish is her mother’s stuffing.

“You always want your mom’s stuff,” Barnes Arico said. “Everywhere you go, you have somebody else’s stuff, and it’s good, but it’s never like your mom’s. So having my mom in town, she made a couple things that I only get when she’s in town, so I completely took advantage of that.”

As for Friday morning, Barnes Arico wasn’t at Bruegger’s again. Like everyone else, she enjoyed the glorious Thanksgiving leftovers and ate stuffing and turkey on hot-out-of-the-oven Zingerman’s rye bread.

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy family, friends and food. But for Barnes Arico and her team, it was just another day at the office.

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