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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Sound Off: There’s more to patriotic pride than a song

    “The Star-Spangled Banner,” our nation’s anthem, has been a frequent and often welcome sound at sporting events for quite some time. There has, however, been been a challenge as to whether or not it belongs at a baseball game.

    Baseball is often referred to as our nation’s pastime, and that it’s “as American as apple pie.” With this in mind, it’s easy to conclude that our national anthem should sound before each and every game. This notion has been frequently ignored by Goshen College.

    The small Mennonite school in Indiana has had athletic teams since 1957, and has only played the national anthem at one game. In the spring of 2010, the anthem played through the stadium speakers without vocals. It caused mixed feelings, to say the least.

    Some might say that there is never an inappropriate moment to play the national anthem. That’s neither here nor there. What’s more important is does it really matter if we don’t play it?

    You might say that we sing the national anthem as a way of honoring those who fought for our freedoms and enabled us to be participating in something like a sport. But if we absolutely have to do it at a relatively meaningless thing like a sporting event, why don’t we do it at more vital and remarkable moments in life?

    Should we belt it out when we buy our first house? How about when our children are being born? What about when we wake up to greet another day?

    Perhaps the reality is that we’ve gone far beyond touchy when it comes to displays of national pride. We get sensitive and denounce anything out of the norm as non-patriotic and bash anyone who suggests we alter our social norms or practices in regards to patriotism. Ultimately, does it really matter that much if a sporting event between two U.S. colleges, or two U.S. teams passes by without the national anthem? Does it somehow make us less appreciative of our freedoms if we don’t half-heartedly sing along to a tune that many Americans mess up on the nightly SportsCenter highlight reels?

    We should certainly cherish the fact that we are able to enjoy such freedoms as a sporting event, but is mumbling a few words to a recording really what defines a patriot?

    —Storm Byrd is the Perspectives editor. He can be reached at

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