When we were younger, my cousins and I made a tradition of observing Thanksgiving together. First, we stuffed ourselves at grandma's house, and then we bundled up to play the Turkey Bowl. What was the Turkey Bowl? Our (mostly) friendly game of backyard football. Some of my happiest family memories come from those games.
If you'd like to organize your own Turkey Bowl this Thanksgiving, check out the following list of parks in the Columbus, Ohio, metropolitan area where you can access fields on Turkey Day:
Goodale Park, conveniently located near downtown Columbus, probably wouldn't work well for the most serious Turkey Bowl competitors. The open spaces aren't perfectly flat, and you might struggle to find enough space for a full-length field. But have you tried sprinting 100 yards lately? If not, 50 yards might suit you better. If your friendly game is more "friendly" than "game," then head to 120 West Goodale Street near Victorian Village for your after-turkey experience.
Park of Roses
The Park of Roses, accessible off of North High Street south of Henderson or via Whetstone High School's parking lot (on Henderson west of High), has plenty of open fields. None of the fields are marked for football, but you can easily mark the boundaries yourself or just convert one of the park's soccer fields for your game. Spectators who tire of your Turkey Bowl can tour the grounds. Even in winter, the scenery is beautiful (and kid friendly!).
Another beautiful park with plenty to do for non-competitors (including nature trails and playgrounds), Sharon Woods features a number of open fields that work well for football. In fact, when I used to coach high school wrestling, my team played tag-football at Sharon Woods each fall during our kick-off (no pun intended) picnic. Don't be surprised if some deer or other wildlife observe your game from the park's outskirts. Sharon Woods is located at 6911 Cleveland Avenue in Westerville.
For suburban families looking for a nearby field, Upper Arlington's Northam Park is perfect for football. The south side of the park has plenty of open space and is used in the fall for little league football games. I live nearby and often see teens playing pick-up games of tag football. If another family or group beats you to the space on the park's south side, check out the soccer fields on the park's north side (behind Tremont Elementary school). Northam Park is located off of Tremont Road in the center of Upper Arlington.