Kyle Dorau / Sports Editor
As my beloved Boston Bruins were in the process of ending the Montreal Canadiens’ hundredth anniversary season last week, Habs fans were loudly booing the American national anthem before game three.
Initially enraged, I realized that not only were they well within their rights to boo it, but why should they show respect for what has become merely a pointless sideshow?
“The Star-Spangled Banner” is a beautiful song that truly represents what the United States of America is all about.
When performed right, in can bring a tear to the eye of many. It can also be a coping mechanism, best evidenced in times of national tragedy or duress. We protect most other national treasures, why should the anthem of our country be any different?
So when we let disc jockeys and three-year-olds sing it, we’re actually doing a disservice to the anthem, as well as our country.
Playing the song at sporting events just doesn’t make sense anymore. Shirtless Vinny in the fifteenth row is double fisting beers and banging on a cowbell. Crowds chant out specific syllables or words that match their favorite team’s nickname. The starters for each team have their hats or helmets back on and are pacing around before the song is even close to finished. And let’s not forget my personal favorite, the moron who yells “WHOO!” right in the middle of it.
Obviously there are specific times in which playing the anthem would be appropriate: National holidays, international competitions involving true amateurs, and in times of extreme circumstance or tragedy. The mood has to fit.
Professionals making millions just doesn’t seem to inspire that type of mood. Conversely, based upon my experience working in sports, I don’t think most college athletes are ready for the responsibility of treating the anthem with respect.
Additionally, most fans prefer to keep their sports and politics quite separate. I’m quite sure some of the boo-birds in the crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal were booing simply from a politically motivated standpoint. While they certainly have the right to their free speech, there really is nothing more pathetic than that half-hearted kind of gesture.
Instead of booing the anthem at a sporting event, why not do something worthwhile instead of attend the game? Translate that hatred into some sort of positive activism and make a difference instead of getting your face painted the hometown team’s colors and cheering minutes later.
It also seems as if every anthem singer I see thinks they’re on “American Idol”, trying to put their own spin on it and drag it out to maximize their recognition. The end result is a performance far closer to those of Carl Lewis and Roseanne Barr than the classic Whitney Houston rendition from Super Bowl XXV.
I am well aware of the fact that people have gone to war and died for our right to attend such events. My brother is in the Air Force and my grandfather was a ball turret gunner in World War II. It’s not that the anthem isn’t good enough to be played at sporting events, in fact it’s quite the contrary.
The atmosphere at sporting events are not nearly respectful enough of the anthem itself. Until we as a society are ready for the privilege of hearing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events, it should be taken away.