A Day To Celebrate Fields?
April 23, 2007 11:40 AM   Subscribe

What exactly IS a "field day"? (inspired by this comment)
posted by schleppo to Writing & Language (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Merriam Webster
posted by knave at 11:48 AM on April 23, 2007

Best answer: In grade school, it's when all the kids get out of class for the day, and play games and sports outside -- kinda like a little mini-Olympics. So you're running around a field all day. A field day. It happened once every spring in my grammar school.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:49 AM on April 23, 2007

A field day (in American terms) is a day dedicated to physical activities. We used to have a field day every year in elementry and middle school, spending the entire school day outside competing for awards. Fun stuff.
posted by Sufi at 11:51 AM on April 23, 2007

Kids all gettin' blue ribbons for winning, red ribbons for second place, me all gettin' greyish ribbons that say "Participant". Good times, good times.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:51 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]

I always hated field day. In my school the gym teachers profiled us into being able to participate in certain activities during field day. For instance, the bigger kids got to do tug-of-war. The fast kids got to do the races. And the un-athletic were only allowed to do the frisbee toss.

If you can't tell, I was always forced to do the frisbee toss.
posted by fallenposters at 12:12 PM on April 23, 2007

It is a phrase which indicates that there are multiple avenues of fun to be had and no matter which you chose, it will be fun. As others have stated "field days" are often looked forward to, for most of us, and involve more organized games and activities than we really had time for.

So in the phrase "South Park is going to have a field day with this", it implies that there several dozen ways they can approach this and they will probably have a lot of fun doing so. It also implicitly implies that it will be rather easy. So with this statement we garner the following facts:

(1) Parker and Stone will have a variety of story lines at their disposal, including many non-obvious plots,
(2) it is a relatively easy topic to approach,
(3) ergo it will be fun for them to do, both creatively and as satirists
posted by geoff. at 12:18 PM on April 23, 2007 [2 favorites]

The lyrics to the Wire tune 'Field Day For the Sundays' use the phrase in the context that most UK readers would recognise.
posted by punilux at 1:01 PM on April 23, 2007

I am a journalist and I lurve field days.

Why? Because everything journalists do on a field day is spot-on. What does that mean? That some putz in the governmment/private sector/religious world has messed up so royally there is no wrong way to cover the issue.

Sadly, adults still have to do their homework.

Gold stars and open bars for everybody!
posted by parmanparman at 1:07 PM on April 23, 2007

Hmm...I always thought a field day was a field trip - when the whole class gets to go someplace off-campus and pretend to pay attention to something educational. You wind up goofing off with your friends all day and it's typically the best time ever.

So, if you're going to have a field day w/ something, it's going to be awesome with no limits.
That's how I think of it.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 1:21 PM on April 23, 2007

Best answer: "A time of great pleasure, activity, or opportunity, as in 'The press had a field day with this sensational murder trial.' This colloquial expression, dating from the 1700s, originally referred to a day set aside for military maneuvers and exercises, and later was extended to a similar day for sports and games. Since the early 1800s it has been used more loosely." *
posted by ericb at 1:31 PM on April 23, 2007

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