Today is the Fourth of July which is a day set aside to celebrate America’s independence from the occupying British forces.
With a roaring declaration in 1776 proclaiming independence, the American forefathers set in motion many of the freedoms and truths that we hold self evident to this very day.
That independence from British rule established principles regarding life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Each year as part of that pursuit of happiness I try to take part in as many staples of American life as possible. One of those yearly patriotic pursuits is trying to spend part of my July Fourth in a Ballpark watching some baseball.
This year the baseball scheduling powers saw fit that both of my local teams, the Houston Astros and Sugar Land Skeeters, were playing away games today which meant for the first time in several years I would not be able to watch live baseball on America’s birthday.
But, when the baseball schedule taketh it also occasionally giveth.
This giving came in the form of televised Tampa Bay Rays action.
While the Rays are not exactly having a stellar season opportunities to see them on television do not come along often in Texas so I will be watching them tonight while also looking east to see the rockets red glare from the neighboring fireworks show on the bay.
Last year I was able to see the Rays play live against the Astros in Minute Maid Park during an afternoon game but this year my patriotic watching of the Rays will take place with the help of ESPN.
In addition to trying to catch baseball games on July Fourth another All American tradition I try to include on this day each year is eating a Nathan’s hot dog.
For about a century now Coney Island, New York has hosted the Nathan’s Famous July Fourth International Hot Dog Eating Championship.
And while competitors come from nations all over the world to take part, the item remains All-American in that it occurs on July 4th.
Last year, Joey “Jaws” Chestnut ate 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes to win another title on his path to establishing himself as one of the best competitive eaters of all time.
To honor this achievement of man concurring frankfurter I stage my own mini hot dog eating contest on the Fourth of July each year.
While I never eat anywhere near 69 hot dogs, I do venture to my local Sam’s Club to get an authentic Nathan’s hot dog each and every Fourth of July.
Nathan’s was one of the brands I grew up with on the east coast and they are hard to find here in Texas.
Don’t get me wrong there are some very nice hot dog choices here but to me a hot dog on July 4th has to either be a Nathan’s or an Esskay hot dog. I am sure there are people that feel the same way about whichever hot dog they grew up with as well.
A Fourth of July with a hot dog lunch and one of my favorite baseball teams playing on television is about as close to a perfect celebration as I could imagination.
Between those two events I will also catch a concert of patriotic music and a midway full of junk food so my day will be about as American as can be.
I doubt the founding fathers had hot dogs and baseball diamonds in mind when they decided to break away from the British but I am certainly glad that they did declare independence to allow such things to occur in the centuries that followed.
Otherwise activities today might be filled with watching cricket and shouting “pip, pip” while sipping Earl Grey tea, hot.
Not that there is anything wrong with cricket or Earl Grey tea mind you, but I definitely prefer the American customs that have developed over the past 238 years or so.
Now if you’ll excuse me, all of this talk about patriotism and American traditions has me craving some All-American apple pie.
Copyright 2014 R. Anderson