Nostalgia overtakes The Open Man as I write this entry. With conference tournament basketball on the TV and an empty duffel bag waiting to be packed, memories of spring break flood my mind.
Of course, circumstances in 2018 differ: I’ll pack my bag in anticipation of a 24-hour trek to Las Vegas, which is very much a business trip to cover the Championship Game of the Pac-12 Tournament. I leave Sin City roughly nine hours after the completion of Saturday’s game, returning home to return to the grind.
I, like most other adults, am so far removed from Spring Break that its existence feels almost mythical. The memories of euphoria as a kid, arriving home from school on Friday afternoon to shed my backpack and turn on college basketball seem like another lifetime.
Now all this point on the calendar marks is a little less than halfway between President’s Day and Memorial Day, the only time off from work I’ve ever had in this stretch during my adult lifetime.
Even in my childish, relishing in the week-long break from school, the very concept of Spring Break bore a mythic quality. I remember sneaking watches of MTV programming and promising myself that one day, I would do Spring Break B.I.G.
Realistically, though, my spring breaks were more of the Millhouse variety.
Of all the regrets I carried from college, taking Spring Break for granted ranks somewhere in the Top 10. I mean, I lived in Arizona and never once ventured to Lake Havasu City.
I shot 50 percent on my four Spring Breaks. The misses included spending my freshman year in my hometown, applying for a summer job I ended up passing on and watching TV; and staying in town as a junior to work.
The makes were dunks, though. One Spring Break was spent in Mexico with friends, having a blast for three days (and battling a stomach virus the fourth). My senior year, I covered my first NCAA Tournament.
I worked on the university newspaper for a few years in college. My tenure started rough and I genuinely considered a change in majors after a few less-than-glamorous months writing on synchronized swimming and being cussed out by a men’s volleyball coach. But thanks to some positive influences in my life at the time, I kept with it and made considerable strides.
The NCAA Tournament, however, marked a truly seminal moment in my life. I wrote the longest feature I had ever done to that point on the No. 14 seed in the regional, Niagara, as well as a piece on Texas Tech’s first Sweet 16 under Bob Knight.
From that week forward, my love for working in sports journalism was consummated.
That was my last Spring Break; a year later, I was working on the sports desk of a daily newspaper and had official begun the long trudge of adulthood. My last Spring Break was my best, and it wasn’t all “work.”
My girlfriend at the time, now my wife, took in a Spring Training game at Tucson Electric Park. I believe employers should recognize an Adult Spring Break, in part so more fans can experience Spring Training. You will never be as close to the action in a Major League game than at Spring Training, and the beer will never be as cheap.
Adult Spring Break makes sense as a bridge between President’s Day and Memorial’s Day. And, since employers already lose an estimated $1.7 billion in productivity as a result of the NCAA Tournament, might as well turn it into a vacation for everyone.