Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Ranty McRantersons: Baseball Edition

So there's a petition going around (I've seen several friends post about it on Facebook) to make the MLB's Opening Day a national holiday. Anheuser Busch has even endorsed it (hello, publicity stunt!). There's something about this stunt that I find beyond ridiculous, even offensive. "But Leonard, it's just a day off of work! Who doesn't want that?" I don't, not when it costs this much.

While I would never begrudge someone his or her enjoyable pastime, it is just that: a pastime. And while it is a colloquialism to say that baseball is the U.S.'s national pastime, it's just a fun thing to say; there is no official pastime. More than that, what about other pastimes? I'm sure the fans of football, soccer, hockey, basketball, etc. would like the openings of their seasons recognized nationally. Hell, perhaps I think National Knit in Public Day should be recognized officially so I can participate. Like many sports, knitting too requires skill, talent, dexterity, practice, eye-hand coordination, spatial recognition, and (gasp!) math.

And what about the myriad of different art openings? There are many, many of us who do not enjoy any sport at all. Surely those seasons and offerings should be recognized as a part of our culture, too.

But here's the part I really, REALLY dislike: I am tired of the inflated status sports continue to have, not just in this city, but in this country -- especially when budgets for arts programs continue to be slashed across the country, at both local and federal levels. Combine that inflation with the god-like status many players receive (or take upon themselves), add in the culture of hypermasculinity that pervades both college and professional sports, and we get things like accused rapists, murderers, animal abusers, and homophobes.
And I find nothing in that that I want to celebrate. That "free" day off of work isn't so free after all.

So, by all means, please enjoy your "sportsball" and your pastimes and your hobbies, but also please stop trying to foist them on the rest of us.

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