Help choose two 'high holy days' of American sports

My (Anglo-Catholic, non-sporty) flatmate and her (atheist, sports-loving) boyfriend have reached an agreement: he’ll attend her church for Christmas and Easter if she’ll watch two televised sporting events during the year, of equal ‘importance’ in the annual sports calendar. They’ve enlisted me in my capacity as sporty Presbyterian to act as mediator and advisor.

We settled quite quickly on Super Bowl Sunday for one of them, but are having trouble coming up with the second. The two I think are the next-biggest deals are the MLB World Series and the NCAA Final Four, but they last longer than a single day.

Other suggestions?

College football National champ game? Its one day, and set in advance.

It would be the Kentucky Derby at my house.

NFL Opening Day/Weekend?

Baseball Opening Day?
First day of the March Madness tourney is better than the last, IMHO. That’s practically a holiday now, with people taking the day off to go watch games from noon-midnight.
I would say Sunday at The Masters, but I know golf isn’t everyone’s thing.

For me it would be the Jan. 1 bowl games, although I suppose that’s technically more than one game. If limited to one, it would be the Rose Bowl Game.

I’d have to agree about the first Thursday of March Madness.

I would also include the Indianapolis 500 which has lost some luster over the years, but seems to be rebounding

As the Super Bowl’s a lock, either World Series Game 7 or the Daytona 500.

There isn’t always a Game 7, and your team (well, my team) is never in it.

Around here, it’s Opening Day, when the season stretches before us, full of possibilities and the Yankees and Red Sox are only nasty rumors.

For baseball it would have to be Opening Day. The All-star game means nothing and the playoffs aren’t a single game.

Sunday at the Masters.

It usually falls during Lent, anyway! So, it’s perfect.

The Granddaddy of them all! The Rose Bowl, but since you said *“holy day”, *you have to watch all the games that day!

Also, they are roughly the same distance apart as Thanksgiving and Christmas (give or take) and make a nice substitution.

Turkey for the Roses, Ham for Super Sunday.

This is easy.

Day 1: The Super Bowl

Day 2: The Opening Round of March Madness

The Super Bowl is a no-brainer. The coverage lasts all day long and involves a ton of parties. You get to indulge in all the eating and drinking you desire and it’s a national water-cooler event. This is the Christmas of Sporting events, even non-sports fans and non-Christians all like the Super Bowl and Christmas.

A little analysis makes the choice of the opening rounds of March Madness a obvious choice, follow along with the other options.
[ul][li]World Series, Game 7 - You aren’t always assured of a Game 7 and when your team isn’t playing it’s a completely uninteresting event. Would you really need to spend 4 hours watching a possible Angels-Brewers World Series (assuming you live in another city)? Sure the Cubs, Red Sox and Yankees warrant everyone’s notice, and a Rays or Phillies surprise would have people talking this year as would a Windy City Classic, but there have been a lot of uninteresting World Series. [/li][li]NBA Finals, Game 7 - See World Series, plus thugs and prima donnas.[/li][li]Stanley Cup, Game 7 - See NBA, except with foreigners and 1-0 final scores.[/li][li]Kentucky Derby - Please, it’s fucking horses and lasts 2 minutes. [/li][li]Daytona 500 - Chevy Malibus turning left, unless you are loaded on the infield staring at topless chicks, take a pass.[/li][li]Indy 500 - See Daytona.[/li][li]The Masters Final Round - Golf on TV is a snooze. Tiger won’t be around forever and without him the event is next to meaningless outside of golf circles. Ditto the US Open, British Open and the PGA. Really, do you want to play your card for a solitary viewing event that most people sleep on the couch through? [/li][li]Any Individual Sport - Say what you will about team sports, the fact that you are cheering for laundry allows for a certain degree of surety. It doesn’t matter who’s wearing Cubbie blue, Steelers black, Yankee pinstripes or Tar Heel powder blues you’ll be interested in rooting for or against them. Golf, Boxing, MMA, Tennis, Bowling, Poker or Underwater Basket Weaving all ebb and flow based on how interesting it’s current stars are. Someone as transcendent as Tiger Woods or Muhammad Ali are just too rare to think that you’ll always be hooked on each annual event. [/li][/ul]

That basically leaves 2 choices. College Football or College Basketball.

The best event in College Football was the New Years Day Bowl games. 20 years ago that would have easily gotten the vote, but the BCS and the over-hyping of the SEC has really taken the shine off of that day. Nonsense preseason rankings and media bias mixed with coaches politicking has led to a never ending cycle of LSU, USC, OSU, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma match-ups. Also, you already get New Years Day off work and rarely have anything planned, you’ll probably get to watch the New Years games without having to specify them since there’s nothing else on TV or to do. The fact that the BCS Championship game now happens on some random weeknight (workday!) all by itself makes it much less of an event than the Super Bowl or New Years Day games.

College Basketball is the choice, and I argue that the Opening Round is the most valuable and exciting of it’s games. Certainly the Final Four is fun, but those games are generally less dramatic and compelling than the numerous Cinderella stories of the opening days. Also, the NCAA Championship game happens on a Monday! We all hate Mondays. I realize that the Opening Round lasts 2 days and falls on a Thursday and Friday, but many people have begun taking those days off of work or at least sneaking out early to catch the afternoon games at the bar. The odds of your local team or your Alma Mater playing on Thursday or Friday is pretty high since there are 64 teams going and everyone’s brackets all still hold the dream of success. The gambling benefits of the Opening Round cannot be underestimated. Lastly, St Pats Day frequently falls on one of those days so there’s a chance you’ll get a two-for-one deal out of it.

Now, to deal with the whole 2 days thing, let’s look at Easter. It usually consists of 2 church visits, one on Good Friday and one on Easter Sunday. By conceding to go to both you are well within your rights to ask for 2 related days on the same weekend in return. You can even take this a step further and give up Ash Wednesday in exchange for either Final Four Saturday or Championship Monday!

Case Closed.

The Super Bowl is the easy one.

Choosing the second is harder, but I’d have to go with Opening Day in baseball. The history and symbolism are hard to beat.

The problem with opening Thursday of March Madness is that there are very few, if any compelling games, and because of regional coverage, you never get to see any game in its entirety. If I were to suggest one day to watch the tournament, it would be the Saturday of the Final Four - 2 complete games with (usually) great teams involved.
My second suggestion would be Super Saturday of the US Open Tennis - the 2 men’s semis sandwiched around the women’s final - as much as 8 hours of coverage.

Same here, and an easy choice. Spend the morning together with the Daily Racing Form, discussing the pros’ selections and handicapping the past performances. Then, in the afternoon, watch the pre-race show, with the recaps of the preps, the interviews with the owners and trainers, and the race itself.

A day at the races is worth a day at church, IMHO.

Says the former church choir member who’d take off after Sunday services to catch the 1:30 post time at the local track. :smiley:

The day Madden is released?

I assume you’ve reserved a day every four years for the World Cup final?

At my house it is probably the Indy 500 with the Charlotte race that night. You can sometimes get a Formula I race as a morning wake up. But I realize racing is not everybody’s gig.

I will second, therefore, the idea that it is the NCAA Final Four semifinal day that has better action than the final game. People remember NC State at the buzzer, but the Houston-Louisville game that Saturday was a barnburner.

And you don’t have to wait every four years for a soccer World Cup. Each year the FA Cup or the UEFA Champions League final can be great TV. Additional advantage: being across the pond they come on in the daytime so you can still enjoy the evening with a little cookout or party. (The late start for the NCAA basketball finals is a downside, especially as it is on Monday.)