Friday, April 10, 2009

Make It A Good One, Strap

A priest and a rabbi walk into a bar .. ah, never mind.

You're not supposed to talk about religion and politics, especially in a secular blog like this one. Today's subject, though, is in fact religion. Politics will have to wait for another day.

Specifically, let's talk about the Ivy League baseball and softball schedule, which sees Easter Sunday doubleheaders for all eight teams. Is this right?

The answer is a simple "yes." What else is the league to do? For starters, the Ivy League is another secular institution. For another, the league can't get into the business of scheduling around religious holidays, because the potential to offend one religion over another skyrockets. To ask the league to decide which holidays - and by extension which religions - are more worthy of respect would be a disaster.

Now, if it's possible to schedule around major holidays, ones that fall during the week, so be it. Rearranging the whole league schedule on the weekends is not practical. In fact, the Ivy League tried to do this years ago by playing baseball and softball on the Friday/Saturday of Easter weekend but gave up on that.

TigerBlog remembers Easter weekend of 2000. Bill Tierney scheduled Cornell on Saturday and Syracuse on Sunday for the weekend of April 22 and 23, not realizing that the 23rd was Easter (which has to fall between March 22 and April 25, by the way). So what happened? Princeton lost 17-4 for the worst loss Tierney has ever had as Princeton head coach, but at the same time, a crowd of 4,743 (at the time the largest crowd in Class of 1952 Stadium history; now the fifth-largest) attended the game.

Former Princeton basketball player (and numerous others) Ahmed El-Nokali often played during Ramadan after fasting all day. There was also the Yom Kippur Saturday when TigerBlog attended services across the street from Brown Stadium with one of the members of the Brown team in his uniform pregame.

The point is that religion and Ivy League sports exist independently, which is how it should be. About the only religious holiday that TigerBlog cannot remember an Ivy sporting event on is Christmas (which is also a federal holiday). And TB feels that if ESPN wanted to do an Ivy basketball or hockey game on Dec. 25, it would happen.

As Norman Dale said: "God wants you on the court."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was the best of both worlds for religion and sports this past Sunday. My family and I were able to observe Easter on campus at the Princeton Chapel service followed by a short walk over to the softball field just in time for the start of the first game. We appreciated that the game start was 12:30!