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Archive for September 24, 2018

Sept. 24, 2018 — The exclusivity of Sunday

One of the first high-school sports assignments I received when I was working in the dailies 30 years ago this month was a Sunday afternoon football game featuring two teams in the Philadelphia Catholic League.

It really didn’t strike me until yesterday’s game between Mount Joy Donegal (Pa.) and Oley (Pa.) Valley just how rare Sunday contests are in high-school sports. This especially goes for field hockey.

I have attended some of these Sunday contests; New York will schedule its state semifinals and finals on a flexible schedule so that, if bad weather befalls the game site like it did in Syracuse in 2005, games could be shifted to Sunday if need be. New Jersey used to schedule its state finals for the Sunday before Thanksgiving before the Tournament of Champions was instituted. This year, the quintupleheader is being held on a Saturday.

So, why are there so few scholastic games — in any sport — held on Sundays? Part of the reason is the scheduling tradition dictated by football: high-school on Friday, college on Saturday, professional on Sunday.

In other athletic pursuits, being able to find qualified officials on a Sunday would be difficult because Sundays are when umpires and referees in many sports sometimes officiate in adult or youth leagues.

Now, in some states, it is actually illegal to hold a scholastic contest on a Sunday. I’m not sure whether these fall under some sort of “blue law,” but it is, to me, a bit silly to block out 14 percent of available days for young people to play a sport.

This goes especially in field hockey, where roughly half of all college games are played on Sundays.

Makes you wonder if it is time to open up the entire calendar?