In America, you have to rise above the baseline level of accepted social behavior to have your accomplishments immortalized with your own day. Martin Luther King, Jr, for instance led the civil rights movement and ultimately gave his life for it; he is rewarded with his own holiday. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were both US Presidents during war time and were born pretty close to each other; Congress split the difference (roughly) between their birthdays and called it Presidents' Day. Christ rose from the dead of his own volition; he gets Easter. And today, in Greenfield, OH, Dante Jackson Day was celebrated.
Here at XE, we've been pretty unabashed about our love for Dante. Whether it was breaking down his stats when he was struggling, sending him out with a tearful farewell post, or simply never tiring of the process, the influence of and affection for Dante Jackson has never been far from our hearts. Apparently his hometown of Greenfield also feels the same way about him. While attending Greenfield-McClain High School, Jackson labored to earn that affections and adulation of his peers, and did so to great affect.
As a basketball player, Dante was overtly outstanding. He was Second Team All-Ohio as a freshman, but atoned for that by making the first team his next three years. He was First Team All-Conference for four years, First Team All-District for four years, won the AP and coaches pick as District Player of the Year three times, and led his team to a 44-3 record over his final two seasons. He also won the State Championship in 110-meter hurdles as a junior, which made him the first state champ in school history. The next year, he became the second state champ in school history by winning the same event. It is presumably only out of the goodness of his heart that Dante left awards in other sports out there for other people to win.
His high school basketball coach, Rick VanMatre, said that Dante is "a winner who is at his best when the game is on the line" and "a tremendous athlete who works very hard." Those of us who watched Dante play at Xavier can certainly co-sign on Coach VanMatre's sentiments. So today, take some time out of your busy schedule to observe a few moments of respect for a great American. Fireworks and toasts to Dante at dusk are the traditional elements of the celebration, though abusive phone calls to UD fans are also acceptable. I personally went low-key this year and sent out 50 "Dante is the Reason for the Season" cards to my friends and family. However you choose to celebrate, make it worthwhile; Dante Jackson Day comes but once a year.