The Longest Day of the Year

According to the calendar, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere occurs on the summer solstice. This is day that the earth’s “circle of illumination” receives the longest amount of daylight. On this date the North Pole will receive 24 hours of daylight while the South Pole will receive 24 hours of darkness. The equator will be equally split into 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness. As a child I always thought Christmas Eve was the longest day of the year as it seemed like it lasted forever as we waited for night fall so that Santa Claus could come and visit our house. Come to think of it Christmas Eve was also the longest night of the year since it took forever to end and become Christmas morning so we could see what bounty the old elf had brought us during the night.


As I have gotten older I have come to realize that I was incorrect in my assessment that Christmas had anything to do with being the longest or shortest day of the year. I’ll also admit that I completely disagree with the scientists that claim that the longest day of the year is the summer solstice either. I think if you ask any baseball fan they will tell you that the longest day of the year is the day before Opening Day. This is the day just before all the hopes and dreams of a new baseball season come to fruition. Once Opening Day arrives and the season starts; the days seem to fly by. Although the baseball season lasts 162 games; each of those games goes by way too quickly. So why then does the day before the season last so long?

Too often there is a tendency for baseball fans to dwell on the fact that the season is 24 hours away. They are busy getting ready for the start of the season. There are seat cushions to retrieve from storage; peanuts and Cracker Jacks to pack; water bottles to refrigerate. Once the bags are packed you will need to find your scorebook and check to make sure that you not only have a pen but also a back-up writing device just in case your primary pen dies during the game. You’ll also need to find your game tickets and tear them out of your Season Tickets book and if you are lucky enough to have a parking pass it too needs to be packed. All of this packing and preparation focuses your mind squarely on baseball and as such builds up the anticipation which somehow makes time stand still. I am a firm believer that the key to time travel is somehow connected to the beginning of baseball season. Sure everyone thinks time travel is possible if you have a flux capacitor but as we saw in the three Back to the Future movies; time circuits get messed up and cause all kinds of problems especially around 1955.

So for the next 24 hours I’ll stand around staring at the clock swearing that time has somehow stopped dead in its tracks. I’ll call the Naval Observatory about a hundred times to make sure that the atomic clock has not somehow quit working. And I will wander aimlessly around the house wondering if I am the only one that is having a hard time functioning knowing that baseball is only a day away. Yeah this is definitely going to be the longest day of the year.


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