4th and 10: Sports Holidays by Sam Pouncey

Holiday season is upon us, and if you are like me two thoughts are dominating your mind.  One is the pure excitement of the upcoming football postseason and basketball season getting into full-swing.  The other is the worry of how you are going to scrape up the cash to get your loved ones a decent gift.  Anyway, here are my ten favorite sports holiday.

10. First Day of Deer Hunting Season

If you’re from the Big Apple or L.A. you may not understand this one, but there’s nothing quite like that first hunt of the year.  You’re sweating your butt off in a tree stand and wondering why you haven’t seen any sign of wildlife, but your motto is “Drivin’ trucks and huntin’ bucks” so you are going to go sit there anyway.

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9. The Opening Day of the Major League Baseball Season

Spring Training is finally over and the games matter.  This is the first step in a 162-game rollercoaster and if you live anywhere between North Carolina and Mississippi you get to ask yourself two very important questions: 1.) “Is this the Braves year?” and 2.) “Can the chop be stopped?”

8. Halloween/Start of Basketball Season

Halloween is a day that little kids enjoy because they get to dress up as their hero and engorge themselves on various and sundry sweets.  As you get older though, Halloween becomes just an excuse to wear something ridiculous and have a party, but aside from that it usually is right around the opening of the NBA and NCAA basketball seasons and one of the few holidays a year where football, basketball, and baseball could all be played on the same day.

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7. July 4th/Memorial Day Baseball

I know these aren’t the same holiday, but let’s face it the celebrations are pretty much the same.  There’s nothing quite like firing up the grill, putting a few cold one’s on ice and watching some afternoon baseball on a week day.  There’s nothing as ‘Murican as that, except for that massive firework show you’re about to go to later on while some crazy guy sings, “God Bless the U.S.A.”

6. Masters Weekend/NCAA Mens’ Final Four

This is potentially the most underrated sports weekend of the year.  I’m not sure why it doesn’t get more credit.  Maybe it’s the fact that everyone is depressed that all of their sabermetric analysis and research still led to a crappy bracket and a lost $20?  Maybe it’s the fact that the pollen has stirred up your allergies and your wife/mom is making you do yard work during the third round of the Masters?  I’m not sure.  But, it really is a “Tradition Unlike Any Other”, and the only time you get to hear Verne Lundquist say, “Oh My!” about a golf shot all year.

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5. Christmas Day NBA Basketball

Every family has their own Christmas day traditions.  Bing Crosby on the radio, stockings over the fireplace, and 10 hours of NBA Basketball.  Now there is a new tradition…gaudy Christmas day uniforms.

4. Labor Day Weekend/Start of Football Season

Labor Day Weekend has some downsides.  If you’re a kid, you are depressed because you just started back school.  If you’re a girl, you can’t wear white anymore, so hopefully those family beach pics have already been taken.  However, one thing trumps all of that.  Football is back.  The first weekend of college football corresponds with Labor Day Weekend, and guys are scrambling to finish up their fantasy football drafts before the Thursday NFL opener.

3. Thanksgiving Day Football

One of the most famous sports traditions of all is Thanksgiving Day NFL football.  After significantly overeating turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and whatever else you can fit in your mouth, there is nothing better than sitting around with your extended family and watching a little football.  That is until you fall asleep at halftime, because it is physically impossible to stay awake after consuming that much turkey.

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2. Opening Weekend of March Madness

The opening weekend of March Madness provides one of the biggest mood swings of the sports’ calendar.  There is the excitement of believing that this is the year of the “perfect bracket” after you win your first four games, quickly followed by the bitter disappointment of watching one of your final 4 picks lose to a 14-seed in the first round.

1. New Year’s Day Bowl Games

The best sports’ holiday though has to be New Year’s Day.  The Mecca of the College Football season.  This day is all about college football, that and recovering from staying up to see the ball drop last night.  You may not get to see the National Championship on New Year’s anymore, but it’s still hard to beat two BCS bowls plus four more, especially with one being “The Grandaddy of ‘em All”.  I would also like to take this moment to announce that 4 Down Territory will be live-tweeting the New Year’s Day bowl games.

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