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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Just how big is the big game?

I heard on last night's PTI that the city of New Orleans is planning to cancel schools and postpone activities of the courts on the Monday following the Super Bowl. Fair or foul?

I actually surprise even myself that I went back and forth on this. I've been saying for years that the Monday after Super Bowl (and a couple other sports distinctions, including the BCS national championship game and the NCAA basketball championships) should be a national holiday. And yet, when a locality--one whose team is playing in the Super Bowl--chooses to do so, my knee-jerk reaction is "Education! Important! Don't cancel school for a sporting event!" even though I've often advocated that they do exactly that. So after checking myself, I decided that yes, it was a good thing that they chose to make a holiday of the date, particularly since in the case of school, it gets "snow day" treatment, so students will still get a full complement of instruction.

Similarly, I found myself of two minds on the fact that the University of Alabama saw fit to cancel classes for days surrounding the BCS National Championship Game. I can see the rationale for it: Unlike in the case of the Super Bowl, a significant amount of the residents of the community (in this case, students, faculty, staff, and alumni) can realistically attend the game itself. My thought is this: If the rationale behind canceling classes was that logistically, they wanted for the sizable contingent traveling to the game to do so unfettered, then their logic is sound. If it was merely a day to honor the team for making it to the national championship game, I wonder if they did the same when other teams made their respective national championships, most recently the women's gymnastics team, 2002 national champions. And yes, I fully realize that football is king in Alabama, but if the rationale was simply honor, why not the gymnastics team?

Let's go back to the Super Bowl for a moment. The only reason it even needs to impede upon the work week at all is because it takes place on a Sunday night. The PTI guys postulated on something I had never even considered: Why not hold the Super Bowl on a Saturday night? While the Powers that Be have us conditioned to think that NFL football = Sunday (or Monday night), they use Saturdays for late season and playoff games, once college football is out of the way. For that matter, college football, which owns fall Saturdays, plays its national championship game on a Thursday night, so clearly it's been done. Beyond the tradition, I honestly can't think of a reason not to reschedule it. Not that I don't have respect for that tradition, but I wouldn't be against "Super Bowl Saturday" entering the lexicon.
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