Holy day of obligation: first day of March Madness

Scott Duncan
Staff Writer


Wilmington, Ohio –In the Roman Catholic church there exists a suggested guideline, followed by most active church members, that states that all church faithful must attend on Sundays and on all Holy Days of Obligation.


Holy Days of Obligation are special dates on the church calendar that include, but are not limited to, Christmas, All Saints Day and Good Friday.  Often times in our modern American society these occasions have become holidays at both offices and schools; regardless of what day of the week these special events land.   As long as there have been these suggested Holy Days, people have mocked that others should fall on this list of required reasons to miss work or school, many of which have nothing to do with the Catholic religion.  For years individuals have joked that they should all get their birthdays or anniversaries off work and class.


In America’s athletic-centered society, the proposed new Holy Days include the day after the Super Bowl and any time a championship parade rolls down the streets of your city.  One of the most infamous days suggested to be added sarcastically to the list is the first day of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, which begins March Madness.


In many places the first day of March Madness, which has now been going on for seventy-five years, has become a holiday, even without the consent of the church and bosses everywhere.  In many work places staffs take “sick days” or half days to head to the bar and watch the commencement of the greatest tournament in sports.  This, in many ways, has started to become socially acceptable in many workplaces, some of which embrace the movement.  Cincinnati-based RoundTower Technologies allows its employees to have the day off and even has an organized company party at a local bar that includes drink and food specials, along with giveaways and bracket challenges.


Dan Patrick, Emmy Award winning host of the Dan Patrick Show, which broadcasts on XM radio and The NBC Sports Network, has segments on his show in which he calls bosses and asks them on air to cancel work for employees on either the first or second day of the tournament.


At colleges around the States, young men and women ignore class and settle into the couch or go down to the college sports bar to eat and enjoy a day of roundball.  Many fraternities and sororities host parties that raise money for charities on this day.  But how has the NCAA Tournament affected Wilmington College?


One Junior Wilmington business student, who wished to remain anonymous, said, “On the first day of the tournament (Thursday) I skipped two classes to watch basketball and on the second day (Friday) I skipped one.  I woke up early to go to my first class but then decided I wanted to watch basketball more than I wanted to go to my second class.  This is the best time for college sports every year.”


In this world of technology, skipping class to watch basketball doesn’t always mean physically not being in class but may include mentally checking out to watch games on one’s laptop or cell phone.  ESPN and CBS offer both an online video stream of live games and also a mobile application that allows anyone with cell coverage to watch full games on their phones.


“I watched multiple games on my iPhone in several different classes.  I watched games on Thursday in my Agriculture Lab and then again on Friday in my senior global Issues class.  It is just too easy and enticing to watch games right there on your phone,” said senior student Matt McFadden.


Although the first days of play are now in the books, the NCAA Tournament continues through April and has two more full weekdays of basketball on March 28th and 29th offering students and workers two more opportunities to play hooky.

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