By Perla Flores ’19 and Dania Herrera ’19
Have you ever wondered why we sing the National Anthem at football games only and not other sports?
The National Anthem was written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. The National Anthem consists of four verses, but it is common that only the first verse is said. According to www.music.army.mil, “[…] inspired by the sight of the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry after a night of heavy British bombardment.” The National Anthem did not become the anthem until 1931.
It is said that the National Anthem spread throughout the 19th century at celebrations, such as the fourth of July, and it kept spreading through sporting events. According to NBC news, ‘’The first documented example was in May 1862, when Brooklyn inaugurated its first professional baseball field.” This shows that after 1862, people began playing the song in other sporting events such as football and baseball.
There has been a recent uprising involving San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who refuses to stand up and sing the National Anthem in football games.
Football coach, freshmen Environmental science teacher, and sophomore advisor, Chris Duncan, explained why he thought the National Anthem is mostly sung in football games. “First, I think that a large stadium is a more comfortable venue to have the anthem presented. Second, I see football as a more ceremonial sport in high school than others, so it’s a fitting pre[-]game ritual.’’ Duncan believes that singing the National Anthem in a much bigger field is more appropriate.
Sophomore and football player, Victor Degante said that people sing the National Anthem to show that we are proud to play an American sport and to show that we are Americans. He also states that we sing this anthem so we won’t show disrespect to the flag and country. Duncan also believes that singing the national anthem isn’t important at all. He states that he respects the ritual but there are some parts of the anthem that he doesn’t agree with. “[…] I love and cherish the ideas and principles of the founding documents of our country and see the flag and anthem as symbolic representations of those ideas and principles. Do I need to hear the anthem? No. Do I enjoy it? Yes.” Duncan stated. Degante also stated that it is important to sing the National Anthem because it’s a natural thing to do once you’re used to it. He believes that there comes to a point where you want to stand up for your own culture like Kaepernick did.
At Pritzker, football is such a popular sport that everyone looks forward to. Duncan says, “ […] There’s no other American sport that provides the type of combative atmosphere that football does. It’s also a sport that you can’t just go out and play. I can pick up a tennis racket, baseball, or basketball and play with another person, or even by myself. But football is truly a team sport. “
Degante also stated that football is a popular sport here in America, and a lot of people enjoy watching it and this is why he believes football is such a popular sport here in the United States. Football is such a popular sport all over the world and because of its popularity, maybe that’s why the National Anthem is sung at this type of sporting event more often than in other sports.
Everyone has different point of views on what the National Anthem means to them personally. Duncan claimed, “The anthem reminds me to be grateful, to be motivated to live out the freedoms we enjoy, and to push the same ideas that made this whole thing possible: the endowment by our creator of the natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. “
He also provided his opinion regarding Kaepernick’s revolt in him not standing for the National Anthem during national football games. “I disagree with [his] views completely, but I don’t have any personal opinions about him. If, by happenstance, I meet him someday and get to know him on a personal level, that may change. I might offer up the thoughts of Frederick Douglass, a man who loved the anthem, and reference a speech he gave at Arlington National Cemetery in 1871[…]”. Duncan claimed. Degante had a different view on Kaepernick’s situation and he said, “ My personal opinion on Kaepernick actions is truly unforgettable. He himself as a football player stood up for what’s is going on in today’s society.
At the end of the day, every individual has a different personal opinion towards the situation concerning Kaepernick’s rebellion and what the national anthem actually means to them. It might be necessary or unnecessary. Its meaning varies by each person but the National Anthem will never change.
Football players stand to sing the National Anthem at the homecoming game.