Well, it’s July, and as you, fine reader, have noticed there aren’t many (local) sports going on. But fear not! This is now the sports and recreation section so let’s discuss the good and bad (but mainly good) of the 4th of July.
With this especially festive holiday coming on the worst day of the week for a holiday to fall, let’s take a minute to appreciate the good and bad that occurs on the only holiday that we refer to as the date opposed to the actual holiday. (If someone says, 'oh yeah, what are you doing on the Fourth' you wouldn’t bat an eye. But what if, for a different holiday, they said, 'oh yeah what are you doing on the 25th?' Or what about the 31st? Plans on the 14th? I just don’t get it and googling Fourth of July history weirdly enough does not bring up the history of the words but rather, you know, some other history.) Anyway, let’s dive in.
There was a time when my Fourth of July always began with a road race. It was fun and exciting until you then realize that a Fourth of July 10K/5K/etc. is really just a fake Fourth of July parade. And not even a good one! Nothing even happens and no candy is given out. Save running for another day; this is a day of celebration. Go join a real parade or better yet, watch a parade from the comfort of a sidewalk.
The world loves to laud Christmas movies. The entire month of December leading up to the 25th is set aside for these movies as they burn them into our collective cultural consciousness. The Fourth of July certainly does not get the same treatment. But what we do get is Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum saving the day, the country and the world. And that might just be a little bit better.
A normal reaction to this would be to point out that there are no NBA games on the Fourth. But what that is missing is the beauty of free agency and players deciding on the Fourth where they are going. LaMarcus Aldridge to the Spurs in 2015, Kevin Durant to the Warriors in 2016 and Gordon Hayward to the Celtics in 2017 all happened on the 4th. Your move LeBron.
Fruits! Vegetables! Lemonade!
The star of the food portion of the day belongs to the barbeque. Hot dogs, burgers, ribs, the whole deal. But the rest of the plate – and often they don’t even make it to the plate – is equally as good as the main dish on this day. For starters, blueberries (the greatest food in the whole wide world) and strawberries are ready to go as is some corn on the cob. Throw some lemonade in a cup and you have a perfect meal on a nice Fourth afternoon.
Fireworks are…fine. They are certainly a necessity for the Fourth but I’m not clamoring to make sure we incorporate fireworks into all festivities. But I think for everyone you just have to find the proximity that best suits you. Whether lighting them off or better yet, sitting on a blanket and watching big beautiful displays from afar.
If someone asked you which holiday has the best music you would presumably rank them 1. Christmas (peak Mariah Carey, duh) 2. Halloween (the Monster Mash, duh) and that would be it. That’s your whole list.
But that would be forgetting Fourth of July music. Obviously, Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” is a must. And sure, Katy Perry’s “Firework” can fit in but after that things get a little dicey.
But if you squint hard enough, nearly any song can fit the playlist. Maybe, just mabye, Avril Lavigne’s eternal classic “Sk8r Boi” is really just a song that is questioning the concept of American exceptionalism (“she had a pretty face/but her head was up in space/she needed to come back down to earth” this feels like something). Or maybe Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” better fits the mood. And sure, both of those artists are Canadian but that is not the point.
The real winner of Fourth of July are the parades. They are big or small displays of excitement that feature people walking in a line while waving and giving out candy to people sitting in a line and waving. It is a thing of beauty.
So go enjoy the Fourth. Watch Will Smith, eat great food, be with good people and absolutely don’t go on a run.