If James Naismith were alive today, he would be grilling Kielbasa

and cursing his brackets, just like the rest of us.

 

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University of Kansas Basketball Team ~ 1908

 

The History of St. James Day

 

In the spring of 2001, our founders were struck by a startling realization:  There was no national holiday celebrating James Naismith, the inventor of basketball. Shortly thereafter, they were struck by a second realization:  Neither expected to accomplish much else during the first two days of the 2001 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

With 16 games each day -- and roughly as many brackets predicting winners -- there would not be TIME to accomplish much on the work front. Today the founders suspect that the United States has always suffered a productivity slippage on those two days each year, but that the trend has escaped public notice because economists, too, have been preoccupied with their brackets, and failed to notice.

Armed with their twin realizations, the founders embarked upon a bold course:  Creation of a new national holiday honoring James Naismith. Without Congress on their side (at least, not officially) the founders faced an uphill battle. Two items were critical to success:  First, they would need a day off. Second, they would need the tacit approval of their spouses.

Their common employer was wise enough to recognize that no work was destined to be done during the first two rounds of the tournament anyway. He was pleased to finally be able to classify the day as official vacation, rather than unofficial screwing around. Each of the founders broached the topic gingerly with his spouse, and each was relieved to hear a response that has become a motto for us here at the website: "What the hell. Why not?"

Thus was born St. James Day.

   

page updated: 3/14/2006

Photos of James Naismith courtesy of The Naismith Foundation. Used with permission

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