Burns: My top five Holy Days of the Sports year
I hope you treated the day with the proper reverence and respect. Paid tribute to Jimmy V and Phi Slamma Jamma. Laughed at the memory of a timeout that didn’t exist. Messed up your grandpa’s perfect coifed white hair.
I hope your pencils were sharpened, your pens filled with ink and your brackets at the ready.
Sunday was a Holy Day of sports.
You could watch all of 30 minutes of college basketball all year yet still be entranced by Selection Sunday. The big reveal of the brackets. The pundits. The debate. The snubs. Straight chalk. The mystique of the 5-12 matchups. The sleepers.
It’s the one day out of the year I gladly allow Dick Vitale into my home.
Sunday was no different. Oh sure, the Burns family had plans. No domesticated male wakes up on a weekend morning without some sort of a plan for the day blissfully foisted on them. These are the days we stand up as one and say….not today. These are the days the honey-do list becomes the honey-not-now list. Quality time with the kids? Tell little Billy we’ll play catch tomorrow and if he doesn’t like it he can write a tell-all book about his awful childhood. These are the days I don’t fold laundry, I don’t walk dogs, and I certainly don’t entertain the in-laws.
These are the Holy Days of Sports.
My top five Holy Days of the Sports year (in no particular order):
Selection Sunday — NCAA Tournament
Not as holy as it once was. My general lack of interest in college hoops as a whole has tarnished some of the luster of the day. The egregious expansion of the tournament to 68 teams has tainted the quality of the bracket. Watching the ESPN guys spend 35 minutes bag on VCU and UAB wore me out. But then there’s that moment when I look at a bracket with all the teams filled in and the winners just jump off the page like I’m Russell Crowe from A Beautiful Mind.
Conference Championship Sunday — NFL
Far superior to the Super Bowl in every way except for the food that usually accompanies a Super Bowl party. Nobody cares about the commercials (the last Super Bowl party I went to the conversation swelled during the game and fell deathly silent during the ads — ridiculous) Nobody is scrambling to get their prop bets in. Nobody is pestering you about what it means when it’s 3rd and short. It’s 100% pure football.
Opening Day — Major League Baseball
I’m not talking about Opening Day for your specific team, though if you can squeeze that in then you’re living like a King. I’m talking about the whole day. The first game starts at, what, 10:00 am? The last game ends at what, 11:00 pm? Throw in the bunting, a hot dog and a beer or two and I’m in a state of Nirvana. Besides, any day where Tuffy Rhodes is on pace to hit 486 home runs for the season can’t be bad.
I know I said no particular order, but this particular Holy Day is precariously close to losing its status. Holding the first round of the draft on a Thursday night, then a couple of rounds on Friday and the rest on the weekend has really put a strain on the relationship. More is not always more; adding that third day sucked a lot of the fun right out of the event. There was a certain thrill to waking up on that Saturday morning, putting on a pot of coffee, whipping up some French toast and bacon all while perched atop that heap of football geekdom. A bunch of suits standing around talking on the phone, strangely enough, makes for great television. For now it remains on the list due to its “body of work”.
The First Round — NCAA Tournament
Not the “new” first round, which is what they’re calling the four play-in games. Thursday and Friday will always be the first round. Wall to wall games. Upsets galore. Maximum Gus Johnson. I’ve found that this Holy Day is best spent at a Sports Book in Las Vegas. But, should you ever find yourself in need of minor surgical procedure that requires you to be off your feet for a couple of days (V-day if you know what I mean)…..schedule it during the first round of the tourney. I had mine done a couple of years back. Once you get past the mild discomfort and the frozen peas, for 72 hours straight it’s pretty much you, your couch, your family waiting on you like a bunch of starving waiters and college hoops.
Just missed the top five:
The final day of the Ryder Cup, Masters or U-S Open. Super Bowl Sunday. The Rose Bowl. Football on Thanksgiving Day. Whenever the Colts and Patriots play.