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Time to launch campaign for Great Americans Day

  • Blog Post by: Patrick Reusse
  • January 28, 2014 - 2:04 PM

Kenny Mayne, known both as an ESPN broadcaster and a Dancing With the Stars participant, launched a campaign this week to move the Super Bowl to Saturday. He did this with the sponsorship of CafePress.com and through the Website, MovetheBigGame.com.

I was excited to hear this, because Mayne’s theories on why the Super Bowl should be moved also played into a proposal that I’ve been pushing for a couple of years to friends and a small yet resilient radio audience:

A true national holiday for February called “Great Americans Day.’’

First, to Mayne, who I fear might be in this campaign more due to a sponsorship than an actual commitment to creating a situation where the vast majority of Americans do not have to go to work on the day after the Super Bowl.

We had Mayne on “Sports Talk’’ on 1500ESPN on Monday for a quick interview, and Kenny could not recall immediately the name for the Website.

That made me skeptical of Mayne’s true motives as the spokesman for MovetheBigGame.com, but the socio-economic argument was sound. Making the day after the Super Bowl a Sunday and thus a non-work day would do the following:

Increase retail sales, because parties would become grander and hosts would buy more food and beverages if there was a 5:30 p.m. kickoff on a Saturday. And, increase workplace productivity, because people would have Sunday to recover from their drinking and gluttony and not show up late in such high numbers on Monday.

Mayne did seem taken back when I came at him with the better idea: The Super Bowl still would be played on Sunday, but the Monday that followed would be a full-blown national holiday called Great Americans Day.

We have the summer handled with Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day when it comes to holidays that provide those beautiful extra breaks in the work schedule for the vast majority of Americans.

We have the beautiful cluster of holidays in the late fall and early winter: Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s that trigger spending to fuel the economy and put most everyone in a good mood.

We start to smile again in March, with St. Patrick’s Day, optimistic reports from sunny spring-training locales, brackets for the NCAA basketball tournament and the sight of melting snow.

April is fine, with Easter bonnets, and the Masters as the official start of spring, and then it’s May … and Memorial Day and summer await.

That leaves us with February. T.S. Eliot got it wrong with the observation, “April is the cruelest month.’’ It is February, and by a landslide.

There are numerous days that are marked as holidays in this portion of the calendar, from mid-January to mid-February, but even the largest of those – Martin Luther King Day – really doesn’t help a majority of us.

Government workers and people who work at schools or in financial institutions get the day off, but how about the rest of us? To me, it’s not really a holiday until it’s a three-day weekend for everybody … like Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Also, it’s not a holiday if all we get are ceremonies marked by solemn speeches, and a couple of NBA games played in the daytime. MLK was the inspiration for eventual victory in the battle for Civil Rights. We should let him in on the celebration of a real holiday, where everyone has a day off to tip a cold one in his direction, rather than marking his day with ongoing angst.

There is also George Washington’s Birthday as a holiday for government workers in February. Most people call it Presidents Day and tie it in with Abe Lincoln’s Birthday, but the government holiday actually commemorates Washington.

Again, what the heck good does it do most of us? We’re at work.

Here’s my proposal: Great Americans Day is a full holiday – a wintertime Independence Day – that falls on the Monday after the Super Bowl. Preferably, that will come closer to Feb. 10 than at the start of the month in the future.

And the Big Four of Great Americans would be MLK (actual birthday on Jan. 15), Lincoln (Feb. 12), Washington (Feb. 22) and Susan B. Anthony (Feb. 15), so the gals won't feel left out. We also could throw in Elvis Presley (Jan. 8), Henry Aaron (Feb. 5) and Ronald Reagan (Feb. 6) to take care of the arts, sports  and the right.

There's also Valentine's Day on Feb. 14, although I don't know how we slip in a 3rd Century Roman saint for Great Americans Day.

Anyway, what say you, America?

Workers rise. Great Americans Day, the Monday after the Super Bowl, and we all get the day off (or at least a compensatory day to be used at our discretion).

© 2014 Star Tribune