Oscars, Super Bowl and MLB Opening Day: Make Every Big Event a National Holiday

Dan Levy@danlevythinksNational Lead WriterMarch 3, 2014

It was no Moneyball...
It was no Moneyball...John Shearer/Associated Press

The Oscars went long on Sunday night, as award shows tend to do, starting around 8:30 p.m. and finishing just past the break of Monday in the east. Many of you are bleary-eyed today, grabbing an extra cup (read: pot) of coffee while you make your way through a rough work day, spending more than a few hours of your day perusing all the fancy dress and white-jacket tuxedo slideshows, wishing you were still in your pajamas.

We get it. The Oscars are like the Super Bowl for people who don’t care about football. (Note: That’s not to suggest the Oscars are not interesting to people who do like football. It’s just that, well, the actual Super Bowl is our Super Bowl.)

The Oscars are traditionally one of the most watched television events of the year. Last year, according to Lori Rackl of the Chicago Sun-Times, more than 40 million people watched the Oscars, with nearly 62 percent of that audience consisting of women. By comparison, more than 110 million people watched last year's Super Bowl, with women making up somewhere around 45 percent of those viewers.

Uncredited/Associated Press

And Ozzie Smith wants baseball’s Opening Day to be a national holiday?!?

You may have seen that last week Smith was making the media rounds pushing for Major League Baseball’s Opening Day to be declared a national holiday. There is a petition you can sign and everything. It’s totally legit, right down to the Budweiser sponsorship pushing for it to pass.

Only, a week later, the campaign is proving to be a bit of a bust. At the time of this publication, the official petition has just 55,737 signatures on the White House website, needing more than 44,000 more by March 26 to even reach their own goal. By comparison, a petition to have Justin Bieber’s green card revoked has 265,038 signatures.

Yes, nearly five times more people want Bieber sent back to Canada than a day off to start the baseball season.

Do this same gimmick for Super Bowl Monday, and the NFL—or whatever beer sponsor took the initiative on its behalf—would get more signatures in an hour.

Have Ellen DeGeneres tweet out a link to the petition with Bradley Cooper, Brad Pitt and a host of Hollywood elite during the Oscars, and 2.5 million people would probably sign it. Or at least retweet it.

There are a solemn few events in our sports and entertainment calendars that truly warrant the national-holiday treatment. The Oscars are probably one of them. The Super Bowl certainly is, at least according to all those people on Twitter.

Now, before this gets too far into the ridiculous (oh, it's about to get really ridiculous, by the way), please understand that we’re not actually suggesting people take off work the day after an awards show. A half day would certainly suffice.

But there really is no reason why the NFL can’t strong-arm the federal government into making Super Bowl Monday an official holiday. If you don’t think the NFL has that much power, you aren’t giving Roger Goodell enough credit.

Did you know there are just 10 official federal holidays on the government’s calendar? New Year’s Day, the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., George Washington’s birthday (which we now celebrate as Presidents’ Day), Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

That’s it. That’s the list.

There are another 10 days the government officially recognizes as “observed celebrations” but not big enough to warrant a day off. (Personally, I think September 11, which is apparently called Patriot Day, should be a federal holiday in perpetuity, but I’m not in charge of the country…yet.)

Honestly, with only 10 official federal holidays, what’s the harm in adding one or two (or three) more?

Give us Super Bowl Monday off so we can party on Sunday. Give us the Monday after the Oscars off so we can get gussied up in our finest evening wear to stay up late, have a few cocktails and watch the show with our best friends...and Ellen's 26 million Twitter followers.

Let us have Opening Day off, America. It’s our nation’s pastime, after all.

Isn’t it? That’s what we still call baseball in this country, right? So why not give kids the day off from school for Opening Day? They’ve had two weeks off for snow this year (including another day off Monday), so who’s really even counting at this point?

I don't know about you, but as a kid if you told me I could have off the day after the Super Bowl, the Oscars and Opening Day, I'd take that over spring break any year.

Or, you know, maybe we could plan things better as a country. Why can't people plan these awards shows and big sporting events to coincide with already existing holidays. Has anyone thought of that?!?

The Oscars were on March 2 because some television (or movie) executive decided it was the best day to do it. Just move the darn show to Presidents' Day weekend.

The Super Bowl is the first or even second week of February every year, so why not just push that game back another week or so to make Super Bowl Sunday coincide with Presidents' Day?

The NFL wants to add more games and more playoff teams anyway, so really how hard would it be to figure out a schedule that would end the season two weeks later?

Problem solved on that one, eh? Wait...I just scheduled the Oscars and the Super Bowl on the same day. Can we put Opening Day that day too? What about Selection Sunday for the NCAA?

Wait, we could make the Super Bowl two weeks earlier, as Martin Luther King Day was January 20 this year, just 13 days before this year's big game. That’s doable too, NFL.

(Or, you know, just play the damn Super Bowl on Saturday so everyone has a day off to recover, but that feels like another column for another day.)

"You...deserve tomorrow off, America."
"You...deserve tomorrow off, America."Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

But if we don't want to move our trophy presentations to a more amenable day for the viewers at home, maybe we could just move our holidays.

Let's petition the federal government to move Labor Day.

This should be a realistic option, truly. Labor Day is one of the only federal holidays that is not tethered to a date near its observance.

Washington’s birthday was February 22, 1732 (or February 11, 1731, depending on which calendar you recognize), while Dr. King’s birthday was January 15, 1929, making both of those dates hard to move too much.

Independence Day commemorates July 4, 1776. We're not moving that.

Columbus sailed the ocean blue “in 14 hundred and 92,” landing on October 12, according to historical legend.

We’re not changing Christmas, no matter when Jesus was really born. Thanksgiving is not changing either. Memorial Day has become a de facto start of summer, so don’t expect that to change. But Labor Day? There really is no reason why it’s in September other than the fact that in 1882 someone decided to hold a parade to honor America’s workers.

In 1887, Oregon decided to grant the day a state holiday, and in 1894, the federal government added it to the official list of observed holidays.

"One more day this weekend? Alright, alright, alright...."
"One more day this weekend? Alright, alright, alright...."Matt Sayles/Associated Press

Labor Day has since signified the end of summer and the start of the school year, so moving it would certainly be more difficult than I’m making it sound, but if we think about it practically, giving workers another day off after a summer of vacations and early Fridays before a long fall and winter with little break doesn't really make much sense.

If Labor Day is to honor the workers with a day off, give them that day off when it’s most needed: after the Super Bowl and/or after the Oscars. And...or...on Opening Day.

Truth be told, we work too much in this country. We do. I’m working right now. You’re likely at work while reading this. Either that or you are reading this instead of shoveling out from another snowstorm that’s crippling most of this country. That’s work. Hell, I bet some of you would rather be at work than at home shoveling and hanging out with a bunch of stir-crazy kids who should be at school.

Think about just how much we work. There are 24 hours in a day, which makes 168 hours in a calendar week. Factor in a 50-hour work week—who only works 40 hours anymore?—and there are just 118 hours left to ourselves.

Take 49 hours away for a very generous seven hours of sleep per night, and we are at 69 hours of free time per week. That’s if you don’t have a commute or need to spend time preparing for life in front of other human beings.

If we take a 90-minute block per day to get ready for work and commute to and from the office, we are just north of 60 free hours per week.

That’s it. At best, our lives are 37 percent ours, and that’s on a good week.

This year's Oscar telecast felt like it took up at least half of that! We deserve a few extra hours in bed on Monday. Or whenever. We, as an American work force, could stand to have another day off that coincides with our biggest communal events.

Now, granted, I’m not one who actually thinks we should have off for the day after the Oscars, nor should Opening Day be a national holiday, but I do think the day after the Super Bowl should be a day off from work, whether it coincides with Presidents' Day, MLK Day, moving a holiday like Labor Day or adding another off day to the calendar altogether.

Call it Super Monday, where we have a day off to enjoy how Super things are that we get to watch football every week from September through February.

Then, for companies that employ people who do not care about football, allow workers to go in on Super Monday to accrue time off to be used for another observable day, like Oscar Monday or Opening Day or Deport Justin Bieber Day or whatever day you, hardworking American, might want your off day to be.

You've worked hard this year. If Oscar Sunday was your Super Bowl, you should get a little extra time to enjoy it. Do something fun. Hey, maybe Ozzie Smith is available to spend a few hours going door to door with a petition.


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