Where does it boil down? The national past time on the Nation's Birthday, football at the Dawn of the Holiday season or basketball at it's Pinnacle? Some people would say this is a no contest, but I think there may be some people that disagree, I am one of them and it goes deeper than just sports.
Let's begin with football. Traditionally for me Thanksgiving has always been the holiday spent with a lot of relatives I only see once a year only to stuff our faces and listen to people promise to catch up more often then just annually in late November. Thanksgiving has always been that holiday I just never really cared for to much. Maybe it is because I don't care for turkey, or maybe I just don't like being forced to spend one day of the year with people I don't see again for another 12 months. Frankly the whole idea of the holiday irritates me, and that stupid parade only makes it worse. But let's move onto the sport of football and i can sum it up rather easily in 3 points.
- The Patriots have up until now only participated in 3 Thanksgiving Day games, and one of them I was too young to to enjoy, another they lost, but they did win in 2002 following that miraculous Superbowl.
- The Detroit Lions are pretty much a mainstay of Turkey Day and that is a guaranteed win for the opponent for the most part, even when Barry was playing they pretty much smelled still, atleast he was a pleasure to watch for 30 carries a game. The other common team while I was in my "developing sports years" was the Dallas Cowboys and they were a guaranteed win during their dynasty years of the 90s. For that sport that prides itself on the "Any Given Sunday" mantra, they sure don't carry well onto Thursdays.
- High School football, it is the one day of the year that you can go into a gas station or convenience store to grab that last minute items and people are also looking to scoop those updates on the local high school game. Now I am sure in Texas this is a common occurrence because they love their football regardless of how it is served, not so much here in Massachusetts.
This is the one day that local sports matters when they are not contending for a state title, at least around where I am from. And not to mention that school day prior when you wear that HS football jersey to school and around town that evening you are actually treated like a sports hero regardless if you are the star running back or the 3rd wide-out in the depth chart. I fell into the later, but I mattered for one game a year.
Until recently the NFL hosted 2 games usually Detroit in one game and many other times Dallas hosting the other. About four years ago it was expanded to 4 games, but honestly it has done little to get the Patriots into the game even following their dominance of the early part of the decade. But this is not about the Pats being snubbed. Football for many is a sport that usually can be watched regardless of who is on each side of the ball. For me unless it is New England I usually have absolutely no interest, NCAA is a bit of a different story.
Too sum it up, the NFL fumbles on the Day of Thanks.
We can briefly look at MLB and how they approach 4th of July, they don't. If it doesn't fall on a travel day everyone plays like usual. They really embrace the opportunity to do something special, which is why I watch the hot dog eating contest.
Christmas is a different story all together. No matter how bad your year has gone there is nothing like white snow and Christmas cheer to put a smile on your face. I know some people feel the holiday is watered down, but I personally love everything about the Christmas season.
The day starts bright and early with presents, you are never to old to enjoy a gift no matter how small and insignificant it happens to be, unless you are Ebenezer Scrooge a gift makes your heart warm. Even the gathering of guests is manageable, as it is usually much shorter than Thanksgiving because people usually have other places to go. Top it off that Christmas Dinner is held to a more intimate familiar group of people that you usually you see regularly, because unless you are loaded buying gifts for those "Thanksgiving-type" family members it would get awfully expensive. But this is not about presents and house guests, this is about the gift of basketball.
The NBA has it down, they plan Christmas Day like the NFL plans Monday Night Football. They put their biggest teams, with the biggest stars and they line them up nicely to entertain the Country from noon to midnight, if you are EST if you are PST it is more like sun up to sun down. While the NFL seems to have a pool of teams for Thanksgiving no matter how good or bad that play on Thanksgiving when their rotation comes up. The NBA takes it season by season and focuses their biggest draws and puts forth the best match ups possible.
- I love the Celtics(obviously), and watching them face Orlando in a playoff rematch will be nothing short of brutal with the elbows and swats from Dwight Howard and deeks and dimes from Rajon Rondo.
- Besides just Boston, who won't watch the Heat try to prove themselves against LA, I think even Boston will have Kobe's back on Christmas, I know I will.
- How about Carmelo battle Durant down in the post?
- The opening is a bit weak with the Bull likely slaughtering the Knicks, but let's see how this new NYK lineup meshes before we write them off.
- And the night cap of Portland v Golden State could look weak but you are pitting a top offense of run and gun against one of the best defenses. I personally look forward to seeing how that pans out.
- But look at the line up of stars from these four games: Rondo, Pierce, KG, Howard, Kobe, LBJ, Wade, Boozer, Amar'e, Carmelo, Rose, Durant, and maybe Oden just to name a few. The pulled out their biggest stars and made the most of their marquee time for a National Day of Hoops.
Now the Celtics don't always make it, nor do the Lakers and Knicks, the NBA's biggest markets. Instead the NBA intelligently selects games we crave, not just blindly selecting teams because historically they have played on a certain day. I mean really, who wants to watch teams in a rebuilding faze take a beating on national television with no option to find another game. On that "any given Sunday" at least you can swap to the other network or if you spring for the NFL package a cornucopia of choices. But on their second most popular day to the Superbowl the NFL just gives you Detroit. Way to go.
You may or may not agree, 87% of the US will probably shun me for my opinion, but in my eyes the fire of the Christmas Spirit burns much brighter for the NBA than does that of the wilting feathers of Tom Turkey and the NFL, and we won't even consider what MLB is wasting in their midsts of marketing genius.
When this holiday season arrives you may find yourself agreeing with this post even if you don't today.
Follow Jamie Canu @ObiWanCanubi