Sunday, February 05, 2006

Time Begins on Super Bowl Sunday (with apologies to Thomas Boswell)

There was a time when baseball was The National Pastime. So firmly ensconced was baseball that it inspired romantic poetry and popular song. The vocabulary of baseball insinuated itself into business ("ballpark estimate"), law ("Three Strikes and You're Out" legislation), and even the sweet and tender act of conjugal love ("I got to third base").

Baseball had its moment in the spotlight, its day in the sun. Franklin Roosevelt took pains to make sure that baseball continued through WWII, such was its importance to morale on the home front.

Sure, there were dark spots. The Black Sox scandal. Segregation. George Will. But for the most part, baseball was part of the triumvirate of American Values, right alongside Motherhood and Apple Pie.

'Twas beauty killed the beast, and just as surely, 'twas television killed baseball. Left its bloated corpse to fester on AM radio, it's timeless rhythms syncopated by the off-beat of distant static.

Football was made for television, even before television was invented. The shape of the field, the exaggerated size of the padded and helmeted participants, the antediluvian themes of conquest and territoriality. (George Carlin has covered this ground far more elequently than I can pretend to do.)

But baseball has never spawned a holiday, and an industry devoted to servicing that holiday. If you were to rank our holidays in order of importance, you'd probably have to put Xmas at the top of the list. (Take that, O'Reilly!) Thanksgiving next, I suppose. And then you have to start thinking about Super Bowl Sunday. It's right there in Fourth of July territory. Maybe tied for third place. Certainly ahead of Memorial Day and Labor Day, despite their enviable positions at the beginning and the end of salubrious summertime. Halloween might be a contender, but nobody ever re-named their town after a trick-or-treat costume.

Nope, it's all about Super Bowl Sunday. Why, I know of a guy whose dog produced black and gold puppies just for the occasion:

And positioned as it is in the depths of Winter, the Super Bowl serves as a harbringer of Spring. You can almost see it from here. Just a couple of weeks until the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and the Daytona 500. Then, just a week or so until March....magical March, when sunny, 70 degree weather is a real possibility on any given day. March Madness! That carries you through to April and the venerable Masters. Even if the weather isn't cooperating in your neck of the woods, the emerald green of Augusta, splattered with azaleas in bloom is like money in the bank. You can write a check on the Masters, confident that Spring will arrive in time to cover it.

And it all is set into motion by the Super Bowl. Which the Steelers will win by a score of 24-17.


  • Even thought I played high school football in PA, it'll be Seahawks 27-20.

    By Blogger Sluggo, at 6:27 PM  

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