Forget Easter.Celebrate the Real Season

By John Nagle Hoya Staff Writer

I have heard that Georgetown is some thing of a political campus. When I leave my hole to walk across campus, I see fliers everywhere promoting some cause or another – campaign for GUSA, against the death penalty, against sweatshops, against abortion, for abortion – you name it, someone supports it. Every once in a while, even In the Scrum gets in the act.

Last time I got political, it did not work out so well. Some of you may remember my ill-fated endorsement of Bill Bradley for president. At least Michael Jordan was with me on that one, not that his decisions these days are the height of intelligence.

Now it is different though. Politics is about issues, not individuals, and I should have realized that. I had hoped that Bradley in the Oval Office would be able to implement the as-yet-undetermined In the Scrum sports agenda, but that was thinking too grand. I need to start with a grassroots movement and build from there. That is why I am announcing the kickoff of my campaign for the creation of a new national holiday: baseball’s opening day. I can’t believe this is not an issue of major national importance already.

Look at the other holidays we have already. Nobody disputes the importance of Veterans Day or Memorial Day. Martin Luther King Day is not supported by everyone, but I’m not about to touch that one. Labor Day is a little more suspect, but it puts a nice cap on the summer, so I will keep it. Independence Day is always a good time. But what about Columbus Day and Presidents Day? I enjoy the day off just like everybody else, but these days serve no real celebratory or strategic function.

Columbus was a murderer who did not actually “discover” anything, and I don’t think anyone holds that much reverence for the president these days either. Why not take away one of those two holidays and give it to Opening Day? (While we are at it I would like to give the other one to St. Patrick’s Day, but that is another story for another time.)

Opening Day would then be held the first Monday of every April, and every Major League Baseball team would be required to play their first game of the regular season that afternoon. No phony openers at 5 a.m. in Japan. No waiting till Tuesday so that ESPN gets to show Pedro in primetime. Everyone plays in the daylight, and everyone gets to stay home from school and work to watch it. Then the NCAA Men’s Basketball Finals are on that night, ideally followed by “One Shining Moment” then Baseball Tonight on ESPN.

Look at the calendar. Far and away the longest gap between national holidays is from Presidents Day to Memorial Day (considerations of Easter and spring break aside). April fairly begs for a three-day weekend. Up in Boston, the Hub of the Universe, they are smart enough to give the people a holiday in April, Patriots Day, which coincides with the Boston Marathon. Opening Day would be even cooler.

As it is, thousands of people play hooky on opening day to attend the ballgames, causing unnecessary lying and forged doctor’s notes, not to mention jealousy amongst your colleagues. I had no chance of attending class or getting my work done with the first day of meaningful baseball on television, and my Red Sox were not even playing.

It is a day of celebration and ceremony. Newspapers devote special sections to it. Every ballpark in America looks amazing after a winter of paint jobs and repair. It is the only regular season game where players actually line up on the basepaths for introductions – that does not happen again until the All Star Game and then the playoffs. It has its songs and its rituals. It beats the crap out of a lousy barbecue.

It is also patriotic. The Star-Spangled Banner is sung by someone really important. There are flags and red, white and blue bunting everywhere. And it is America’s game (no opening day games should take place in Canada until they face facts and join the Union).

Opening Day is a time of hope, when not even the Brewers are mathematically eliminated. It is symbolic of the end of winter and the passage into spring. It is the day we anticipate for five long months, and it rarely disappoints. It smells like hot dogs and popcorn and beer in paper cups, and what could be better than that?

So write your Congressman, start a petition, send me your money. You deserve better, America. You deserve a holiday to celebrate what baseball means to you and your country. Together we can make this happen.

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