The Best Holidays for Sports and the Sports Days that Should Be Holidays


Tomorrow, people will gather with friends and family, stuff their faces until their pants don't fit ... and watch football all day long. Thanksgiving is upon us, and it is the one holiday that I get more excited for every year the older I get. Food, football, friends and family; it just doesn't get any better than that.

And the NFL games we're blessed with tomorrow are filled with potential. The Packers and Lions kick off at 12:30 Eastern Time for one of the most anticipated match-ups of the entire season. Then, the suddenly hot Miami Dolphins take on the suddenly first-place Dallas Cowboys at 4:15, a game that brings back memories of snow, an improbable comeback and Leon Lett. And for the nightcap, as we're all struggling to keep our eyes open after a day of overindulgence, the Harbaugh brothers go head to head, as the 9-1 49ers take their undefeated road record across the country to Baltimore to take on the 7-3 Ravens and their undefeated home record. The storylines are plentiful from afternoon to night.

So on this Thanksgiving Eve, here is my take on three of the best holidays for sports, and three sporting days that should be holidays.


Best Holidays for Sports

Thanksgiving - See above. If you don't like Thanksgiving, you shouldn't be allowed in this country.

New Year's Day - The best thing about college athletics, in my opinion, are the unrivaled traditions, and there is no tradition more synonymous with college football than a glut of bowl games on January 1st. At this point, I think everyone would like to see some form of a college football playoff, or at least a plus-one championship game, but the NCAA must find a way to keep the tradition of a multitude of bowl games on the first of the year. There's no better way to overcome a hangover than to lounge on the couch and watch players go all-out in their final college football game of the season.

Christmas Day - Christmas is already the most anticipated, commercialized and publicized holiday in the United States, and in many areas of the world. The lights, the trees, the presents, the food, the family ... it's all great. And the added bonus that makes every Christmas complete is the slate of high-profile NBA action that usually takes place. The games are typically exciting enough and have enough marquee names/teams to keep you enticed; yet, since it's still so early in the NBA season, it's not a crime to take time away from the action to enjoy the Christmas atmosphere. All-around, it’s an awesome day. Sadly, it looks like the Stern Who Stole Christmas won't have this whole lockout thing settled, giving all NBA fans a big lump of coal. Santa does not approve.

Sports Days that Should Be Holidays

The First Thursday and Friday of the NCAA Tournament - I have made it my life's mission to make the first two full days of the NCAA Tournament national holidays. There is reasonable rationale behind this, beyond my selfish wish to sit on my sofa all day and watch every exciting game that takes place. Office pools are prevalent. Damn near everyone fills out a bracket (or brackets.) And everybody wants to know what's going on. In this day and age of the all-access internet, people are spending far more of their work day stealthily watching or following the NCAA tournament action on those first two days, tracking the upsets and seeing whose pools get screwed up than they are anything else. No one is doing much work. So why not just give us all a nice four-day weekend to enjoy the most exciting four days of sports there is instead of forcing the masses to work two incredibly unproductive days? Get it done, America. Get it done.

MLB Opening Day - No, not opening night, but Opening Day, the day every team takes the diamond for the first time. There is simply nothing quite like playing hooky and going to the ballpark on opening day to take in your favorite team's first pitch of the season. With all due respect to The Masters, opening day is the real tradition like no other. So why not just do us all a favor and close the office so we don't have to play hooky? A brisk spring day is meant to play ball, not play office.

The Monday after the Super Bowl - OK, so technically this is not a sports day ... it's a sports recovery day. The Super Bowl is the most watched event in the world. Everyone has huge parties (unless they are at the game or their favorite team is actually in the game.) Many people go all out with the libations, and the game takes a long time and tires everyone out. We need a day to recover. The Monday after Super Bowl Sunday is the perfect time for that. People will be much more productive Tuesday-Friday with that extra day of recovery than they are right now for the full week of fighting exhaustion, I promise.

*Here are some photos from SI's Vault of players getting ready for the get down on Turkey Day, Happy Thanksgiving everybody!*

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7 Replies to “The Best Holidays for Sports and the Sports Days that Should Be Holidays”

  1. Great article-I agree with each and every one of your recommendations. I particularly love the first Thursday and Friday of the NCAA basketball tournament-so much so, that I have scheduled leave from my job for each of the last five years. Wouldn't miss those days for nothing.

  2. It's too bad that New Year's Day has dwindled down to two big games and the rest minor bowls. Since the BCS Bowls won't compete with each other, there are always two BCS bowl games and the National Championship game taking place after the 1st. You can't put the toothpaste back in the tube and I understand that TV contracts set the schedule. But it would be nice to have the traditional major Bowls on New Year's and then have a plus one Championship game the following weekend. But that won't make as much money so, that's that.

    I'm certain that your propsition to have two additional National Holidays for a sports event is delivered tongue in cheek. The cost of a National Holiday easily runs into the hundreds of millions of dollars as the government and employers must pony up for additional paid days off while simultaneously losing production.

    But I will concede that those two days and the Monday after the Super Bowl are probably the least productive on the calendar, particularly in businesses populated by males in the 18-48 age range.

  3. I know this much, I'll continue to take off at least one of the first two of days of the tournament as I have since I started working, especially since it's right around (sometimes on) my birthday. My butt has no business being anywhere but planted in front of at least 2 televisions as the tournament gets underway.

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