When the radio-friendly members of The Fray strode to the microphone at center court before the opening tip of the national championship, expectations were low. That said, their shockingly awful performance fell well short of even the least expectant American. It’s not an exaggeration to say their unique rendition of the National Anthem was one of the all-time worst.
Perhaps more offensive than Roseanne Barr grabbing her crotch. Perhaps more tone-deaf than Carl Lewis’ laugh-inducing butchering. Christ, it was awful.
So, it’s the perfect time to revisit my long-held opinion that the tradition of trotting out “The Star-Spangled Banner” before each and every sporting event should be retired.
I know, I know. I must be an un-American bastard who hates freedom. Must be.
No, that’s not it. The pregame ritual has become so diluted, so meaningless that the continuation detracts from the meaning behind it.
Think about it. Does playing this song before each and every regular-season baseball game instill some sort of national pride in fans or is it something to wait through so the action can begin? For a couple years, I covered baseball, going to each and every game. From the writers, to the players, to the vendors, to the drunks in section 349, people who are asked daily to stand for the National Anthem completely tune it out.
They don’t do so out of disrespect. They do so because it’s human nature. Overdoing something makes it mundane, less special. Less would be more. I’m fine with the occasional American tribute. It’d be more meaningful if it wasn’t an everyday event.
But personally, I’m of the mindset that standing to pay civic tribute before a sporting event is just weird. Sports aren’t civic gatherings. They are recreation. They are business. Besides the fact the games are being played in the United States, what’s the connection?
Again, I don’t mean to offend anyone. I have the utmost respect for the people who fought to maintain our freedom. I love this country. But there’s something patriotic about assessing why you’re doing something patriotic.
And perhaps I am missing the point. Perhaps I should shut up, stand for 90 seconds and silence before games like the rest of people do.
Anytime I’ve brought my opinion up to people, they recoil in terror. But maybe, just maybe, there are some people out there that agree with me.