I think I speak for most kids that grew up in New York in the 1980s and 1990s when I say this:
Labor Day always made us sad.
Not the holiday itself; who could be against cookouts, playing Frisbee in the yard, or, in the case of my friends and I in high school, an annual mini-bonfire in my front yard? (don’t ask; it seemed like a good idea at the time the first year we did it, and then it kind of became a tradition.)
No, I didn’t like Labor Day because it signalled the end of summer and the return of school. When I was a kid school always started the Tuesday or Wednesday after Labor Day.
All summer I’d be going to camp with my friends, swimming and playing steal the bacon (Do kids still play steal the bacon? Man I loved that game! The strategy, the quickness involved, all of it. Maybe in today’s politically correct times, they can’t call it “bacon” in schools any more.
I don’t know, but “steal the egg-white omelette” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.)
Then when I got older, it was summer jobs and going to the beach, and telling yourself that this year you were going to ask out that cute girl. (Ah, Christina Leone. Only girl I ever fell for twice, four years apart. And she rejected me both times.)
Labor Day night is when it all seemed to hit me: The anxiety, the pressure of school, what that year’s biggest problems were going to be (usually it involved people pushing me against lockers and knocking my books down. Yep, I was in the cool group, all right).
Anyway, that’s why I used to dread Labor Day. Now? Not so much. One thing you learn about being a newspaper reporter: Holidays are for other people. We work Labor Day, July 4, New Year’s Eve, you name it. Some holidays fly by and I don’t even realize they’ve happened.
Not being in school anymore, Labor Day doesn’t bring the same agita. Which is nice. I still have to work tomorrow, but I’ll be able to work that around a great day of U.S. Open tennis (one of the beauties of my job? Sometimes I can do it from home).
Now, it just feels like another day. One of the perks of getting older, I guess.
Enjoy the day, and if you’re interested in tennis, here’s my latest U.S. Open blog on Sunday’s action.