Friday, 22 February 2008

Disrepecting a National Anthem? Puh-lease!

Some fans in arenas across North American like to have a little fun with the national anthems as they are being sung. Dallas Stars fans yell "STARS" during the American anthem, for example.

Well, apparently Washington Capitals' fans are having a little fun during the national anthem, and now the jingoistic prudes are getting all whiny about it.

Right here in our nation's capital, of all places, some people have a problem with the national anthem.

It's not with the melody and certainly not the meaning, but when the anthem singer at a local sports event gets to the line, "O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave." For years now, some fans have been yelling "O!" adding the original exclamation point as Francis Scott Key wrote it and shouting with gusto and fervor.

O, how this practice irks other fans.

"It's something that's been bugging me for a long time," said Mike Rucki, a longtime Washington Capitals fan and co-founder of, a hockey Web site that provides a forum for those of a similar mind. "Just because it's a tradition doesn't mean it's a good tradition."

Boo-frickin-hoo! I hope Mike Rucki gets his nose bitten by a bald eagle.

Tell me, again, why we North Americans bother with this national anthem nonsense before sporting events?

Do you sing the national anthem before office meetings, while standing at a bus stop, buying a latte from Starbucks, or waxing your carrot? NO! So, why is it normal practice to do national anthems before sporting events.

Hey, I'm there to watch men (or sometimes women) play sports. I'm not there to do a bad sing-a-long or pretend that I'm feeling all patriotic prior to a Canucks/Avalanche game. Really, if I want to listen to music, I'll buy tickets to a concert, or turn up my mp3 player. Get the game on already!

Riddle me this ... Do the Canucks really represent Canada? Are the Avs really American? Kinda hard to think of the Avs as representing the USoA when their stars are Slovak, Czech, and Canadian. Similarly, the Canucks are pretty hefty on the Swedes.

Disrespecting an anthem? It's a song! Anyone who ties a song closely with a country and their own personal feelings is just anal retentive. These are the same people who treat the flag as a symbol of holy worship, and think their whole identity is tied up in the country they happened to be born in. A song is an artistic expression, and open to individual interpretation. Travel back in time to the 1950's if you are interested in being a slave to the state.

Booing the anthem or swearing during the anthem ... those things are crass. Shouting "STARS!" en-masse is not. Tacky, maybe, but not crass.



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