Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Second Of July

If John Adams had his way, then today would be Independence Day.

The United States would be celebrating the Second of July with barbeques and fireworks. The Fourth of July? That would be a footnote in history.

More than any other day on the calendar, July 2nd has really been cheated. Maybe Dec. 26. Had Mary been overdue by a day, Dec. 26 would have really hit it big. And it's not like one of those holidays like Thanksgiving or Memorial Day, where a bunch of different dates get to take turns being the holiday host.

Jan. 1? Now there's a big winner. New Year's Day.

Why not Sept. 1? Doesn't that feel more like the start of a new year?

Really, though, no date can match July 2nd. Nobody gives July 2nd a thought. Everything is about the Fourth of July.

How many people out there know that decision to declare that the 13 colonies would from now on be known as the United States of America was actually approved unanimously by the Continental Congress on July 2?

The actual document known as the Declaration of Independence was approved two days later and then read publicly. Had 2015 technology existed then, it would have been posted on a website and then linked to in a tweet.

Instead, back then, it was printed and distributed and read in public. TigerBlog, a history major in college, never knew that the Continental Congress printed 200 versions of the document - one of them is now apparently in the Firestone Library.

At least that's what it says on Wikipedia. So it must be true.

TigerBlog did learn a long time ago that the actual day that the U.S. declared independence from Great Britain was July 2, 1776. Not July 4th.

Had TB been around with the Continental Congress - you know, like Bugs Bunny was - he would have sided with John Adams, who advocated for July 2nd as the day American independence was celebrated. He lost that battle, obviously.

The U.S. and Great Britain fought a war for independence, followed by another war - the War of 1812 - which was sort of a second war of independence. Then the two countries put aside their differences and have been best buddies ever since.

It's sort of like Rocky and Apollo Creed, no? Fought twice and then teamed up.

Of course, the two remain major rivals to this day in one area - athletics.

They came close to having a huge matchup in the sports realm until the English women dropped a heartbreaking 2-1 game to Japan in the Women's World Cup semifinal. The deciding goal came in the final minute of stoppage time on an own goal.

TigerBlog felt sort of bad for No. 6 on England, who knocked it into her own goal. That was brutal.

Instead, it'll be the U.S. and Japan, in a rematch of the 2011 final.

Meanwhile, back at U.S.-English sports, the movie "A Yank In Oxford" - and later a remake "Oxford Blues" - tracks the exploits of a cocky American at a stodgy British college, where he redeems himself as a rower. In the case of the remake, the cocky American is Rob Lowe.

There are a bunch of Yanks at Oxford, or Oxfordshire, the home of the Henley Royal Regatta.

The regatta dates to 1839, which was 25 years before Princeton played Williams in baseball in its first-ever intercollegiate event. It has been held every year since, with the exception of the years of World War I and World War II.

If you want to know everything you need to know about Henley and Princeton's history in the event, then you'll want to read the piece that TigerBlog's colleague Craig Sachson put together.

You can click HERE to read it. TB promises you it's more than worth it.

In case you missed that link, try this one.

And to what American event did Princeton's heavyweight men's coach compare Henley?

The Kentucky Derby. As Sachson said, it's "athletic event meets social function."

It's top-flight rowing, that's for sure. And, until he read Sachson's story, TB didn't realize that the format was one-on-one single elimination, like a tournament, rather than heats and finals.

In addition to the preview story, Sachson is all over the rowing, complete with video. Just keep going to for his updates.

The event began yesterday, and it continues through Sunday.

In other words, the racing in England continues on the anniversary of American independence.

Which, as we all know, was 239 years ago today, the Second of July.

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