Sun Belt Needs to Make Easter a Holiday – From the Bird’s Nest
You remember the argument you had when you were a kid?
Who's smarter, girls or boys?
Well, hate to burst your bubble, but the answer is, the girls are.
Why, you ask?
Because, in the Sun Belt Conference, they've figured out Easter is a holiday.
Over the weekend, all of the Sun Belt softball teams were in action. They all played double-headers on Friday and single games on Saturday. The Saturday games were played early so everyone who was traveling got home at a decent time.
And, they all got the day off on Easter.
They get it.
Oh, it's been brought up before. And, each time, we've heard billions of reasons why we still play on Easter Sunday. And none of the excuses stand up.
Let's first of all examine why Easter should be a day off.
First, it's the most important religious holiday in the Christian world. The difference between the Christian faith and all others is the Resurrection. And, last time I checked, this was still a (predominantly) Christian country, founded on Christian principles.
Second, it's one of the great family holidays of the year. If religion isn't your thing, maybe the Easter Bunny is. Either way, the afternoon Easter Egg hunt and a great meal are reason enough for the family to get together. And, while the ballplayers probably don't do the hunt, they might have little brothers and sisters who do. Or, nieces and nephews. No matter how you slice it, it's a great family day.
Third, no one shows up to see the teams play. The crowd, even at Tigue Moore Field where Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns lead the league in attendance every year, drops off substantially for those 1pm Easter Sunday games. The Cajuns, who were averaging about 2,100 per game, saw just over 1,200 come through the gate for the Sunday contest against Western Kentucky. It was 1,000 fewer than Saturday's crowd.
There are two solutions: Play a doubleheader on Saturday, or start the series on Thursday.
Baseball coaches hate doubleheaders. I'm not fond of them either. The home team gets one less gate (and, let's face it, a small Sunday crowd is better than no crowd at all.) I get that. And, it really makes for a long day, especially if one of the games goes extra innings.
Thursday is much better. Most schools are off on Good Friday and many of them are off Thursday as well. Some of them might even be off all week. Now, the coaches and presidents are going to talk about missing a day of class on Wednesday for travel, and talk about the STUDENT-athlete. And, that's so hypocritical, it's laughable. Why do I say that? If ESPN did for the Sun Belt what they did for the SEC--offer to put a Thursday game on television, the schools would jump at the opportunity. The student-athlete would suddenly be not so important. TV exposure? Sure, we'll play on Thursday. God? Eh, not so much.
And, some coach will bring up how tough it is to play a mid-week game when you turn around and play conference on Thursday. Big whoop. Either put on your big boy pants or go buy some Depends.
It should be noted that several conferences and even more individual schools are getting away from playing baseball on Easter Sunday. They seem to have it figured out despite the fact it has the same effect on their teams and schools as it does in the Sun Belt.
This isn't on the Commissioner or the conference office. This is on the coaches. They are the ones who need to get this done.
They are the ones who need to get their priorities in order.
But until they do, the answer to the age-0ld question is clear.
Girls are smarter than boys.