The Melbourne Cup should be a proper national celebration

Scott Pryde Roar Guru

By , Scott Pryde is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    Melbourne Cup Day is a big deal. Let’s not deny that for a second, because it’s arguably Australia’s biggest yearly sporting event.

    It’s in the same class as the State of Origin, both the NRL and AFL grand finals and the first day of a Boxing Day Test match during an Ashes year.

    If your office doesn’t run a sweep, you’re in the minority. I don’t know many people that consider themselves betting people until the first Tuesday in November either.

    Love it or hate it, millions of people tune in each year, the Flemington racecourse sells out, and every office around Australia stops for five minutes to watch ‘the race that stops a nation.’

    Except those in Victoria. They don’t need to stop working for five minutes, because they get the whole day off.

    And while that’s all well and good for them, the rest of us are stuck at school, work, university or whatever it is that consumes our lives from Monday to Friday, with the exception of those five minutes.

    So, why not make it a national public holiday? Why not give everyone the day off to celebrate a horse race? I know just how crazy it seems, but it works in Victoria, so why not the rest of the country?

    Let’s face it, unless you’re working in emergency services or in the media, no work gets done from lunchtime on Cup Day.

    You’re thinking about the race because your co-workers are talking about it.

    Once the race happens, you’re emotional because your horse didn’t win the sweep, that bet you placed went down the toilet faster than the caller talks during the race the last thing you feel like doing for the afternoon is work.

    Or alternatively, you’re elated because you picked it and want everyone to know!

    With all that in mind, it’s important to realise exactly what a waste of a day Melbourne Cup Day is. Productivity reaches all time lows and all you want to do is be out with friends watching the thing.

    But, it got me thinking. Are there any other sporting events which could actually be big enough to force a public holiday?

    State of Origin was the one that sprung to mind. If Victoria can have a public holiday on Cup Day, then New South Wales and Queensland should automatically be granted half-day public holidays on Origin days.

    Let’s make it safer, easier and more efficient to travel to games, or get home and watch the thing by having everyone knock off work at lunchtime.

    All the other events you could think of at the top of Australia’s sporting tree fall on weekends, so the vast majority are already off anyway – NRL and AFL grand finals, the first day of the Boxing Day Test, the Bledisloe Cup, the Bathurst 1000, the Sydney to Hobart and even the Australian F1 Grand Prix.

    They all fall on weekends or public holidays already. So, let’s make Melbourne Cup Day a national public holiday and make State of Origin games a half day in New South Wales and Queensland a half day.

    Everyone’s a winner.

    Scott Pryde
    Scott Pryde

    One of the mainstays of The Roar, Scott Pryde has written over 1,100 articles covering everything from rugby league to basketball, from tennis to cricket. You can follow him on Twitter @sk_pryde.