Thursday, May 21, 2009
The Star Spangled Banner
In the United States, all professional and (I believe) university sporting events begin with a common occurrence.....the playing of our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner." It was written as a poem, and later put to music (to the tune of an English pub drinking song)....and awkwardly so, so the majority of folks in the US don't know how to sing it, and don't know the words even if they did. I tend to simply stand straight, remove my hat if I'm wearing one (covering your heart with your hand is not a requirement of etiquette), and look towards the flag.
The only time there is any deviation from this is when there is a game between American and Canadian ice hockey or baseball teams, and they play "O, Canada" as well (some teams play "God Bless America" instead, as per tradition).
This past Saturday night, at the home Atlanta Braves baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the "Star Spangled Banner" was sung by no less than the school chorus of the elementary school where Thing 1 goes. Thing 1 also happens to be a member of this chorus, so minutes before the game started, she and her classmates were on the perfectly manicured field, singing their best and most important performance of the year (they do a Braves game every year). Of course, as you can see by the picture, nobody was there yet, most of the crowd was still in the parking lot drinking (the chorus is the group of kids with the light pants and blue shirts near the first base dugout).
I've seen Thing 1 do some amazing thing....scoring the game winning goal in soccer, make some amazing saves at goalie, run a 10 minute mile when she was 6, but I have to say I have never been more proud. It's not an easy thing to perform in front of a large crowd, with people watching you, even if you are part of a group, but she did it, and did it well.
Enough about her though. This was the first Major League baseball game I've been to in almost 20 years, and my next entry will be about all that I saw, so stay tuned.