Celebrate with some good ol' US dirt
By Marcus Fitzsimmons | (email@example.com)
Happy Fourth of July!
Or is that Merry Fourth of July?
No, it’s definitely Happy. Merry has that English lilt to it and this isn’t a holiday they recognize much less celebrate on the little island that birthed an empire.
A younger version of self once put that theory to test with some friends as we moved between pubs in London on a long past Independence Day shouting “We won! We won!” and waiving little U.S. flags that we’d made from some unfortunate tavern’s napkins. We gathered looks of curiosity and annoyance, but nothing that could be deemed recognition of what we referred to by our antics.
In retrospect of the decades, it was probably too much Caledonian Deuchars or maybe it wasn’t quite enough.
Regardless, it is a day to celebrate here in the U.S. of A. and a holiday to celebrate properly.
If not for that Founding Generation, we might well be referring to a game with a black and white ball when football entered the conversation and be looking forward to the next cricket match against those merry ole blokes from Cornwallisville.
Instead we can celebrate in truly U.S. fashion with sports that don’t involve a break for high tea and can be just as brutish and undignified and neobarbaric as we please.
It’s an interesting fact that England’s former settled colonies — the ones they settled rather than the ones they simply took over — seem to produce the most unique views of a national sport. While the U.S. has baseball, basketball and football the Australians have taken their own versions of things where they usually try to do us one better — such as football without pads. Given their own way, a few decades and a lack of any international governing sports authorities, it’s quite likely the Aussies would figure a way to combine the finer points of golf and fencing into a sword fight before each shot and a Aussie-Rules Badmitton league where black belts in judo would be required skills for participants.
But I digress.
Today is about our independence and the best options involve plenty of U.S. soil.
With basketball just concluded and football yet to begin, there’s still plenty of baseball to enjoy. Take a moment from watching “The Patriot” one more time and take in one inning on the tube or better yet, avoid the hazards of the backyard fireworks — which are officially illegal in some areas and despite the little showers the last two days probably still inadvisable in other dry grass spots — and let the Smokies homestand provide your Independence dinner and fireworks show as the Kodak boys tear up the base paths.
Or take in the most patriotic and southern of the options and find your way over to Smoky Mountain or 411 Saturday night and watch the dirt fly enjoying the roots of what evolved into NASCAR. They may race slim little cars in Europe but it takes our unique touch to create the motorsport where “if you ain’t cheatin’, you ain’t tryin’.” rubbin’ is racin’ and there’s a one in four chance someone is going to have a few choice words or actions for someone else in front of the crowd and cameras.
And that said, keep it a good holiday — we may be free but your pursuit of happiness isn’t supposed to hurt anyone.
Designate someone to do the driving — be it car or boat.
Watch out on the water, the lakes are lower than most July 4th holiday weeks.
Make the first one to say, “hey guys, watch this” sit down and don’t let he or she do whatever it is — most especially if the words YouTube are mentioned.
And find a way to celebrate. It took a lot of heroes, known and not, to buy that freedom and keep it.
Marcus Fitzsimmons is sports editor at The Daily Times, who enjoys reading comments posted to this column at http://thedailytimes.com