February 12, 2006
on being forced to listen to the national anthem
If you go to road races you probably know what it's like to stand tense at a starting line, part of a captive audience forced to listen to some rendition of the national anthem, be it a recording, an instrumental, or an a capella version courtesy of the RD's highschool daughter. It's not that great a song, and it's very hard to sing, and if you go to enough races you'll hear a variety of mangling. I really, really hate the singers who countrify or urban-contemporize the thing, because it sounds to me like they're just trying to fudge the really hard parts. Some of the national anthems that stand out in my mind:
- We stood facing what looked at first like an empty lot, but if you looked past the empty lot you noticed a community college half a block away, and sticking up behind a building was a flagpole with a flag on it. Behind us a large woman belted a soulless R & B version of the anthem, all trills and technique and sloppy phrasing, culminating with
oer the la-and of the brave
and the-uh ho-o-ome
- A Florida winter cold front was passing through, and we stood at the starting line in the dark with rain pouring down and a north wind whipping up. Since races never, ever start on time, we all stood like cattle waiting for the RD to get his shit together and someone started singing the national anthem, and then a lot of the crowd joined in. When the song was over, the RD appeared and said thanks for singing, but we have this person who came specially to sing to you at 7am so you're gonna have to let her sing. So we had to stand there for another round before we were allowed to start running off the shivers.
As it happened, this was the morning it was announced that US troops had captured Saddam Hussein. The RD thought the runners were singing out of some spontaneous show of patriotism, but I think people were just tired of waiting in the cold rain for the start of a half-marathon.
- (this was kind of cool): a guy played the national anthem on classical guitar, unamplified. You could only really hear him if you were near the front, which I was.
- coolest by far: at the Parkersburg Half-Marathon in West Virginia, they have a long-standing tradition of playing the national anthem from the rooftops surrounding the square where the race starts. On each of three buildings is a brass player (trombone, trumpet, and sax, if I remember right), and three people play alternating phrases of the anthem. The only way this could possibly be cooler would be to play it as a round, which I don't think is possible.
Posted by joe positive at February 12, 2006 5:34 PM
"It's not that great a song"
So I guess your some sort of communist empathyzer. Its easy to hate the militia when their out they're saving you're ass and your just typeing stupid crap on a keybored. Some American you are. Idiot
Posted by: FutureMaroon at February 12, 2006 10:02 PM