Scoreboard, England. Scoreboard forever.
It's been 231 years since America's first-ever championship and the trophies have been piling up ever since. We've designated July 4 as the most American holiday, which is strange - but quite deliberate.
It's strange because we don't celebrate the date for the Treaty of Paris - April 11, 1783 - when the US spiked the football and officially snatched away everything the Brits claimed east of Mississippi and south of Great Lakes (except parts of Florida, which we briefly let Spain believe they could keep - LOL gullible Spaniards).
We also don't celebrate our legal separation from Britain, which occurred 238 years ago yesterday when the Second Continental Congress approved the Lee Resolution. That remains the most popular and celebrated divorce in American history, and today only Kanye West has a shot of ever threatening it.
we celebrate our liberty, our freedom and our capacity to amaze both ourselves and the world.
No, July 4 was when Congress finished up the subsequent Declaration of Independence; basically the press release for the Lee Resolution it had just passed. Two of its signers - John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both later Presidents - both died on July 4 exactly 50 years later.
Cause of death: Freedom overdose. It happens on occasion to great Americans.
Tomorrow is when we celebrate our perpetual liberty, our indefinite freedom and our capacity to amaze both ourselves and the world with every move we make. July 4 is the deliberate choice for this party because it's summer everywhere in this great land of ours - even up in Alaska, which America purchased from the Russians in 1867 for a total of $119MM in 2014 dollars.
Today Alaska generates a billion a week in 2014 dollars. Scoreboard, Russia. Scoreboard forever.
Our July 4th celebration of America's indomitable strength also marks the Two Month Warning for college football season, our greatest invention that we refuse to export to the rest of the world - because it's simply too wonderful to share.
Some things should just be left for us. Let's get Situational.
THE FLAG-BEARER: URBAN FRANK MEYER
Back in mid-May when Ohio State had a meager two-man recruiting class, Urban Meyer said the following on the Dan Dakich radio program:
June’s awful. June is all camps and people non-stop coming on campus for recruiting. I mean, it’s not awful, but it’s every day, including Saturday and Sunday, you’re working, because kids come and visit your campus.
Two weeks later four-star QB Joey Burrow pledged to Ohio State. Then Maryland safety Tyler Green joined the class (he made a brief visit to Ann Arbor shortly thereafter).
The following day OT Grant Schmidt decided he would bring his 10-foot broad jump, 4.7 speed and 29-inch vertical to Columbus. The day after that LS Liam McCullough chose the Buckeyes over offers from Michigan State, Wisconsin and Kentucky.
Ohio state pulled in seven commitments over 11 days in June.
A week later two four-star prospects - OLB Nick Conner and DE Dre'Mont Jones - both chose Ohio State. Then Denzel Ward, the fastest player in Ohio, decided to join them.
Meyer closed out his least-favorite month by flipping behemoth OL Kevin Feder from Coral Gables to Columbus.
It's now July, and through yesterday the Buckeyes were already averaging one verbal commitment per day, carrying an average of five stars per recruit. Welcome, Justin Hilliard and Joshon Cornell. We already admire your zeal.
A lot of Buckeye fans were concerned about 2015 recruiting prior to Meyer making those comments to Dakich about disliking June. Well, June's over. If you were this productive during months you hated you'd find a way to hate the other months equally. You can relax now, Concernicus.
We're not saying you're silly to ever worry about Ohio State's football recruiting; we're just saying it's really cute when you worry about it under Meyer.
THE SQUAD: USMNT
There is some debate over soccer being the world's game since all 19 of the World Cup's champions - and runners-up - only come from one of two continents: Europe or South America. We'll use the word debate loosely; it's really just noise from people who find soccer uninteresting.
The latter opinion is well within their freedoms. The former one is just wrong.
First, the math: Europe and South America have well over 60 countries between them, whereas North America and Australia have four. Antarctica has yet to qualify, and if it ever did it would never get out of the knock-out round because the only Penguins with any athletic ability on our planet reside in Youngstown.
Canada, which understandably fares better with winter sports, failed to qualify once again and soccer-crazed Mexico only got in because the United States allowed it to. Regardless, the vast majority of World Cup participating countries were from Europe and South America up until the 1980s when the tournament expanded to 24 countries.
It's at 32 now. That sound you hear is the BCS dead-enders cringing. Asia and Africa are relative newcomers to the World Cup despite soccer being enormously popular on both continents. Think of their representatives as potential Boise States.
In 2006 the World Cup's cumulative television audience was well over 26 billion people.
All of the titles have been won by Brazil (5 - the only country to have played in every World Cup), Italy (4), West Germany (3), Argentina (2), Uruguay (2) and England/France/Spain with one apiece. Continents are, well, enormous. This isn't the SEC winning all those titles in a row.
That same tortured logic would be used to suggest college football is only popular in the American southeast, which it is not. The whole world is still watching, possibly even the penguins: In 2006 the World Cup's cumulative television audience was well over 26 billion (there were 6.5 billion of us on earth then) with 715 million tuning in to watch the title match.
The draw, which is the World Cup's version of Selection Sunday, drew 300 million people that year - despite only occurring in prime time on one sliver of earth. This year's actual Selection Sunday prior to March Madness had a little under 5 million viewers by comparison.
The World Cup is the most-watched and most popular sport and sporting event on earth and it's not even close. The Olympics wishes it had the World Cup's audience. The US Men's National Team advanced to what America affectionately refers to as the Sweet Sixteen before dropping that extra-time heartbreaker Tuesday to Belgium.
This isn't a plea for you to like soccer; around here - outside of Ohio State - no one really cares what you like. Just remember: If you're not actively rooting for America on the world's stage, you're rooting against America. There are no shades of gray. There are only shades of red, white and blue.
Fortunately our great country affords you the inalienable right to be a jerkface. The World Cup is awesome, and the USMNT played valiantly. The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia. Hopefully America will steal it just like Alaska.
THE BOURBON: LIBER-TEA
There is a bourbon for every situation. Sometimes the spirits and the events overlap, which means that where bourbon is concerned there can be more than one worthy choice.
Bourbon is a liquid metaphor for America itself: It broke off from its Anglican overlords in the 18th century, had some growing pains, perfected its craft over time, can only be produced here and today is the greatest spirit in the history of spirits, sharing its abundance with the rest of the world.
Bourbon is wonderful. But tea? Almost 241 years ago the Sons of Liberty decided an entire tea shipment from the East India company was better off at the bottom of Boston Harbor than in the cups of citizens being taxed and not represented. It's the most popular beverage in England - the Brits drink 165 million cups of it every day.
So if you mix bourbon and tea, you get a little Revolutionary War in a glass - or, as pictured to the right, in a mason jar. If you do it correctly you'll have the tastiest and most patriotic beverage at your neighborhood Independence Day celebration.
LIBER-TEA (one pitcher)
4 cups water
~½ cup sugar
8 black tea bags
~½ cup mint leaves
2 cups Bulleit bourbon
Your proportions should be 1:3 in favor of tea. Once again, America is outnumbered - but go ahead and guess which flavor is going to win your mouth. First you need to make tea, so boil water and then dump in and dissolve as much sugar as you like. Then add black tea bags.
Once the color looks tea-ish enough for you, add the same amount of cold water to what you just boiled. Take two lemons, cut them in half, squeeze them into the tea and then drop them into it. Add some fresh mint leaves and muddle them at the bottom to release their flavor. Either pick out the lemon seeds or prepare to spit them out like a defiant colonialist in between sips.
Now add your bourbon. If you're making tea for an entire militia, a
value bourbon like Bulleit pairs very well with tea and the added sweetness, as it is a relatively neutral bourbon and not terribly sweet by itself. [Ed: Use Buffalo Trace instead. Bulleit decided it was too good for Liber-Tea]
Basil Hayden would normally also be a suitable choice here too - if Basil weren't such a British-sounding name. Hell, you could mix
Bulleit Buffalo Trace with Basil and make a mini-battle of Yorktown right there in your pitcher. Scoreboard, England. Scoreboard forever.
Serve in tumbler glasses over ice. Now you've got Liber-Tea right in your hand. Don't squander it. Share it. Cherish it.
THE PLAY-OFF: FREEDOM
Here's your favorite marching band performing one of its many memorable halftime shows last season, The New Birth of Freedom. We're just two months from TBDBITL trying to somehow improve upon its 2013 performance. Don't bet against it unless you love to lose.
Arguably 2013 was the greatest year for any marching band going back to the season Cornell's band first performed Script Crest at halftime against Colgate, whose band famously features a tuba toothpaste. <--- just pretend everything in this paragraph is true
Soon we'll all again be witnesses to the ingenuity TBDBITL cooks up for its halftime shows: Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, video games and the Beatles are likely out of consideration due to having been used last season. You can safely cross off every 2013 theme from repeating during the upcoming season.
[now click on this, press play, crank the volume and then come back to read on]
Freedom doesn't grow old, dear citizens. The New Birth of Freedom is reborn every single day in the United States, and if the finest marching band in our great nation feels compelled to roll out another feast for the eyes, ears and imaginations of the entire world borne out of another celebration America's enduring liberty, it should do so without hesitation.
That's because Freedom isn't something you only celebrate once, or on July 2, or April 11, or when USMNT is valiantly representing us on the world stage, or when Urban Meyer starts swinging his recruiting stick, or when Alaska recoups its original acquisition cost before 3pm every single day, or when you gaze upon fireworks tomorrow night in your town, see a visiting Englishman standing nearby and empathetically say, "too soon?"
No, Freedom is all around you. It's coursing through your bloodstream along with hemoglobin, bad cholesterol and Liber-Tea, cascading through your veins majestically whether you're reading this in bed, on the toilet or at your desk while your employer is paying you more per hour than most people in the world make in a month.
That's Freedom, comrades - and it's never situational; not in the USA.
Enjoy your holiday. Go Bucks & Go America.