“Cause it’s summer, Summer time is here, Yes, it’s summer, My time of year” (From the song Summer which was released in 1976 by the classic rock band War).
Yes, it is Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial beginning of summer. Pools and beaches open for the season, folks gather for barbecues and outdoor activities. Major League Baseball’s season is in full swing and the pennant races are starting to take shape. The fashion community is also telling us it is perfectly fine to wear white.
Today is the biggest day on the sports calendar in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 101st running of the Indianapolis 500 will get underway at noon eastern time.
As summer unofficially begins this weekend, old man winter still has a score to settle, two of them, in fact.
As a guy who grew up as a fan of the New York Islanders I was fully aware of what this past Wednesday meant to this franchise. May 24, 1980 marked the beginning of a dynasty on Long Island. Bob Nystrom’s overtime goal in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals brought the first of four titles to Nassau County on that amazing Saturday afternoon..
Montreal Canadiens win their second of four consecutive Stanley Cups, May 14, 1977, 40 years ago.
You may be asking what the winning of the Islanders first Stanley Cup championship has to do with Memorial Day weekend? It’ the fact that back in the day winter sports stretched into spring and was over and done with by the time summer came into view. The same goes for Major League Baseball. I can remember a time when the World Series ended in late October, before the real cold settled in.
As time has progressed the Stanley Cup Finals and the NBA Finals have stretched way beyond Memorial Day.
This past Thursday after the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Ottawa Senators in a double overtime Game 7 for the ages. The victory set up a Stanley Cup Finals match-up with the Nashville Predators, who finished off the Anaheim Ducks on Monday night.
Also on Thursday the Cleveland Cavaliers knocked off the Boston Celtics to set up an NBA Finals match-up with the Golden State Warriors. Golden State had finished off the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night. The Cavs and Warriors will meet in the Finals for the third straight year.
The Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors will compete in their third consecutive NBA Finals.
This brings me to the point of this article. When I woke up on Friday morning, I checked the schedules of both the Stanley Cup and NBA finals, and was taken aback. Here we are at a major holiday weekend, with two major championships about to be contested. In my opinion both should have been over-with by now since winter is over and summer has begun.
I look at the schedules to find out that we will go through the Memorial Day weekend with no hockey or basketball? Actually, that’s not true, the Stanley Cup Finals begins on Monday night, as the Memorial Day holiday winds down.
The NBA Finals doesn’t start until….um.. Thursday?? While I understand that the Warriors won the Western Conference Finals in four and the Cavs knocked off the Celtics in five, it gave rise to some down time. I understand that the execs at ESPN/ABC had this date planned for the grand opening of the NBA’s signature event. But this is a league that is known to begin a round as soon as the teams match-up. It isn’t uncommon for one round to wind down and a new round starting up on the same day, surely the NBA and ESPN/ABC could’ve arranged something.
Mr. Bettman, how, in the span of 30 odd years does the NHL go from hoisting the Stanley Cup in mid to late May to starting the Finals on Memorial Day night? The amount of teams qualifying for the playoffs hasn’t changed. Mr. Silver, how is it that there is no NBA playoffs on Memorial Day weekend? I also would like to add Major League Baseball to this question. Baseball shouldn’t stretch into November.
I also would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our service men and women who continually fight for our freedom. I also want to take this time to honor and thank those who paid the ultimate price.