Americans, Antagonists, and An Anthem

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                          September 26, 2017


Like children sticking out their tongues at one another professional football players and our president keep spitting towards the other side with no saliva involved. The National Anthem has become like the battlefield of the sports world.

It has also caused millions of people to be conflicted! Countless people voted for our president, but they also worship NFL football players. Countless other people didn’t vote for him…and they won’t let us forget that!

History is the best clarifier of the present. The National Football League rakes in more money from its starry-eyed fans and television networks in one year than some nations’ gross national income. It includes owners who are deeply involved in their communities and other owners who are always looking for a better deal in another city. (Most recently St. Louis to LA Rams, San Diego to LA Chargers, and soon-to-be Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas Raiders! Some NFL owners are not adverse to ripping out the hearts of their team-jerseyed fans!)

It includes players like J.J. Watt whose heart went out to his city (Houston) in the midst of the recent flooding from a hurricane, and other players passionate about contributing. But it also includes players who are all about themselves with egos as massive as Mount Rushmore and a sense of entitlement simply because they are physically gifted and intimidating.

On the other side is our president who someone needs to man-up to and take his cell phone away from. I’m sure that there will be a book published someday entitled “Trump’s Tweets!” Our president is the same hard-nosed egotistical man who hosted The Apprentice for serval years. Empathy is not one of his strong suits, although it showed recently in how he responded to the Florida and Texas hurricane victims.

And the focus of this fight between a bunch of stubborn alpha males has settled on an anthem that is a tribute to the never-say-die attitude of our nation!

“The Star-Spangled Banner” was first sung at a sporting event back in 1918 during the World Series in Chicago. Believe it or not, the Cubs were playing the Red Sox. Babe Ruth pitched Game 1, a 1-0 Red Sox win. The game, played at Comiskey Park because it held 30,000, was quiet until the seventh inning stretch. At that point “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played. The third baseman for the Red Sox, a furloughed Navy sailor named Fred Thomas, snapped to attention. Other civilian players followed suit and placed their hands over their hearts. The United States had entered into World War 1 about a year and a half before that. The moment was a recognition of national pride and unity. The Cubs continued the playing of the song the next two games during the seven inning stretch, and when the Series moved to Boston the Red Sox also incorporated it, but moved it to part of the pre-game festivities. The next season other baseball clubs began singing it.

The National Anthem has been a part of the national pastime for almost a century. The National Football League was late arriving at that anthem-singing party.

Both sides of this fight have good points that neither side wants to hear. Instead of being a catalyst for unity the National Anthem has become the rock that is being thrown back and forth, seeking to embarrass, insult, and divide.

I wonder what Fred Thomas would think about it. The Red Sox went through multiple third basemen that 1918 season before asking the Navy if they could borrow Thomas for a couple of weeks. What if one of those other third basemen had been sufficient? If that had been the case Fred Thomas would not have come to his salute posture that September afternoon in Comiskey Park…and, it could very well be, the song we sing before almost every sporting event I attend would not be part of the program.

Interesting that a type of inadequacy paved the way for the National Anthem to arrive. Perhaps this time a realization by all parties involved in this recent dispute might once again pave the way for us to realize that we are inadequate without one another! In a time when our country and area of the world has endured devastating hurricanes and a terrible earthquake aren’t there more important things to deal with? Fred Thomas had that thought in 1918, because he knew the war was bigger than a baseball game, but a song had the potential for a few moments to focus a crowd of people on what was really important!

Explore posts in the same categories: children, Community, Freedom, love, Nation, Story, Teamwork, Uncategorized, Youth

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