I really enjoy basketball, and I enjoy supporting school sports too. My high school alma mater was playing at a nearby school while I was back in my home state for family matters last year. So I took the short drive to this rival school to take in the game. As was typical, the game was a boys/girls doubleheader.
Just like here, and most places in the United States, the national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" proceeded the athletic endeavors of the evening.
|Small town high school hoops.|
Except the tape/CD/record didn't work. And didn't work. The silence was painful. Players were ready to play, spectators ready to cheer, but we could not start until "The Star Spangled Banner" was played. Silence continued.
Until someone started: "Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light..." A capella No accompaniment. A little uncertain at first, then gaining confidence as other voices joined in. "What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight," The crowd gained momentum, carefully picking around the part of the song that had stumbled many talented singers. "O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
gave proof through the night that our flag was still there." And finishing with the last words, not drawn out, but sung at the same crisp tempo as the start of the song: "Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?" After the last note fell silent, we all looked around at each other, athletic friend and foe, two small towns that had more in common than different. Then we cheered, for the game was about to start.
Best. Rendition. Ever.