Here’s something to be thankful for, Washington sports fans: You get to watch Alex Ovechkin, one of the best hockey players in the world, play for the Capitals. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

Thanksgiving is a wonderful hol­i­day. I like it because you don’t have to be part of any particular religion or special group to celebrate. You just have to be thankful, grateful for the things you have and the people you know.

The holiday is also a great excuse to eat turkey, stuffing and my favorite, pecan pie.

It’s good for people — including kids — to practice being grateful. Too many people spend so much time complaining. Sports are no exception. It seems anytime you turn on a television or radio sports show, someone is mad about something. Fans are screaming to fire Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan or to bench the quarterback, Robert Griffin III. Or maybe they’re angry that the referees missed a call.

It happens in kids’ sports, too. Players get upset when their team loses. Parents and coaches shout at the referees. I thought games were supposed to be fun, not someplace to yell and scream and get upset when things don’t go your way.

So, maybe we should practice being grateful, even in sports. For example, maybe we should be grateful for:

●RGIII, Alex Ovechkin, Bryce Harper and John Wall. So many fans complain about Washington’s biggest sports stars. They focus on any bad game, strikeout or missed shot as proof that these guys are not as good as everyone thinks.

Washington fans should be grateful that we have so many terrific young players to root for. They work hard and are fun to watch. What more could we want?

●Sports on television. Instead of yelling at the TV because of some referee’s call, maybe we should sit back and think about what a miracle it is that we can watch so many kinds of sports on television: football, basketball, baseball, soccer games from around the world. Sometimes I think we watch too much sports on TV, but isn’t it nice that we can?

●Sports for kids. When you sit down with your family this holiday, ask your parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles what sports they played when they were kids.

Chances are, most of them will say baseball, basketball or football. Years ago, there were not as many sports for kids. Now kids play soccer, lacrosse, hockey, volleyball, field hockey and golf. They ski, wrestle and row crew. I’m missing some sports, but you get the idea. There are lots of sports for kids these days.

●Girls in sports. When you talk to your mother, grandmothers and aunts, you may learn that they didn’t have many chances to play sports. Now girls can play sports as much as boys. That’s a change to be thankful for.

So practice being thankful this holiday season. After all, it’s Thanksgiving.

And pass the pecan pie.

Bowen writes the sports opinion column for KidsPost. He is also the author of 19 sports books for kids. His latest book is “Perfect Game.”