Do We Have to Play the National Anthem Before Every Single Sporting Event?

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Here’s something that’s been bugging me in the far recesses of my mind, but which didn’t get to the front until an Aeros hockey game last week. It’s the National Anthem. Why do we play this before every sporting event? What does it add to anything? It strikes me as being as phony as those politicians who wear the flag pins in their lapels.

Now what brought this on was looking at the ice and seeing 12 players lined up and at attention for the anthem, but only one of the players was a U.S. citizen. The other 11 players were all Canadian citizens. Why do the Canadians have to stand at attention for our anthem before they can play a game? Why do I?

What good does it do?

And it’s not like it’s a good song, or anything. Most people who try it butcher it. And we get those divas who insist on doing the Whitney Houston version of the thing, or we get those rocker types who want to outdo Jimi Hendrix.

It’s not that I’m anti-American, or anything. I just don’t get it. Doesn’t singing the song before every meaningless event just devalue the song? And doesn’t destroying the song devalue it even further? I mean, we don’t want our national song becoming as cheap, hokey and clichéd as a Lee Greenwood song, do we?

So my proposal’s simple: Let’s save the National Anthem for truly important events, like a presidential inauguration, or the burial of a soldier, or Dick Cheney’s trial for treason, or the destruction of Minute Maid Park.

And if we want to celebrate America before every insignificant sporting event, let’s try a good song, a rocking song, a song that speaks of America.

I can hear it now: “Ladies and Gentlemen, please rise and remove your hats as John Cougar Mellencamp performs ‘Pink Houses.’”

I think even the Canadians would get into this anthem. – John Royal

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