IN OCTOBER 1993, I attended the wedding of a close friend.
The night of the wedding coincided with Game 6 of the World Series between the Phillies and the Blue Jays. Forced to miss much of the game during the ceremony, virtually all the males - myself included - repeatedly shuffled between the reception and a room that had a TV.
This Sunday evening, I must attend another wedding. Thankfully, this night falls between Games 1 and 2 of the Stanley Cup finals, so I won't be deprived of watching the hometown team battle for a long-awaited championship. But that's just dumb luck, and circumstance easily could have contrived another catastrophe for me and other Flyers fans.
I understand the need for marriage, and I suppose it still holds some social relevance, but I believe I speak for all sports fans in stating that scheduling weddings during sports seasons has got to stop.
Let's face it: Sports are undeniably more important to the American psyche than a wedding - if they weren't, then "Say Yes to the Dress" would have the billion-dollar TV contract instead of the NFL, NBA, and Major League Baseball. The hard truth is that sports - like the gladiatorial games of ancient Rome - are the glue that bonds society together.
America shrugs off divorce, annulment and infidelity, but it could never survive without the emotional decompression and financial gains of its major sports. Does anybody truly prefer wearing a stuffy outfit for three hours in an overheated hall, quietly bored out of their minds, when they could be rooting for their favorite team with beer in hand and T-shirt on shoulders?
Of course not.
Therefore, I propose - in the most non-matrimonial sense of the word - blackout dates in which weddings can no longer be held, thus enabling the viewing of sporting events to go unencumbered.
Considering that hockey and basketball seasons essentially overlap, October through June are out, which also protects the World Series. Also blacked out should be September, to include the first month of football season. That leaves July and August, which are, of course, the core of the baseball season. By August, the pennant races are quite serious, so forget that month. Which leaves July. Nobody really wants to attend a wedding during the Dog Days of July, but the pennant races are still up for grabs, so missing a game won't kill you.
This idea may ruffle the feathers of the betrothed, but we've all wished it from time to time - including the groom. Weddings that could only occur in this designated month would make everyone's life so much easier.
We wouldn't have to unexpectedly interrupt our lives, there'd be no traveling in winter, and everyone would be happier not having to sacrifice a game for mediocre chicken marsala and line dancing. As Spock said in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan": "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few."
Or the couple.