I call them “sports holidays.”
You know the days I’m talking about – those moments on the sports calendar when you at least briefly consider faking an illness and forging a doctor’s note so you can stay home from work or school and glue yourself to the couch and TV.
We just had a few big ones. The Thursday-Friday opening rounds of the NCAA Tournament are probably on the Mt. Rushmore of sports holidays.
Some others are the early rounds of the Masters, anytime the World Cup is on during the day – especially if team USA is playing – and the day after the Super Bowl (which really should be a national holiday).
But Monday, for me, was the biggest one of them all.
Opening Day. You just can’t beat it.
For the record, I did not call the office and fake a cough, but not watching the Red Sox nearly made me sick on its own. There’s nothing quite like the first game of the season, the signal that for the next six-plus months there will be something to watch almost every night of the week.
Opening Day means that baseball is back, and all that comes along with it. It’s not so much about whether or not your team wins – something tells me the Red Sox won’t go 0-162 – rather it’s about seeing the new faces in action for the first time, analyzing at-bats and pitches and managerial choices with your friends, listening to sports radio and hearing the hosts engage in good old-fashioned baseball conversation.
It’s about baseball being on in the living room for the first time in months, a perfect break from the sometimes-overwhelming intensity of football or basketball or hockey.
But that’s not all. Opening day is about spring being on the horizon, and cold weather ending (hopefully). It’s about getting out of work or school when the sun is still out and will be out for the next four hours, then eventually coming home, eating dinner and turning on the television to watch a 7 p.m. game.
Opening Day means that from now until October, bars and restaurants and barber shops across the country will be tuned into baseball every night.
If you have that occasional late night at work or somewhere else, there’s the sound of baseball – that old-fashioned, traditional, relaxing sound – on the radio, waiting for you in the car. Nowhere near Fenway, you can almost smell baseball.
There’s ESPN’s Baseball Tonight, there’s weekend doubleheaders and there’s 10 o’clock phone calls with my dad about why Jon Lester decided to throw a fastball on 0-2 with a runner on third and one out in the bottom of the fourth inning.
I’m sure that not everyone shares my excitement for the baseball season. I hear the common criticism – it’s too slow, it’s boring, there’s too many games. I’d make an argument for the exact opposite. For all of those reasons, baseball season is perfect. And now it’s here.
Opening Day may just seem like one out of 162 games, but it means so much more. It’s the beginning of a new season, and all that comes along with it.
Kevin Pomeroy is the assistant sports editor at the Warwick Beacon. He can be reached at 732-3100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.