‘O Say Can You See’…. (Two more min of profitable commercials.)

National AnthemThe base inspiration behind this post is a bit dated, but the pieced-together idea just recently popped into my head, so what can you do. In many U.S. towns where there is maybe one or two ice skating rinks serving several communities, ice time is a precious commodity. At prices often topping $300/hour, rink organizers jam-pack their schedules from open (often as early as 5:00 AM) to close, which is sometimes midnight or even later. Managing every second counts to keep things running smoothly and on time so everyone gets their money’s worth. As it stands, when a scheduled allotted time expires, the game is called and winner declared – regardless of the game clock.

So it is when the PA Interscholastic Hockey League (which oversees all high school hockey in the state) proposed eliminating playing the national anthem before every game in the name of saving time, that a bit of a stir was created. Many die-hard patriotic traditionalists were upset. My take? It just makes sense. And much like I don’t think it’s the end of the world when a politician doesn’t wear an American flag pin, I don’t think this act should be deemed “unpatriotic,” so let’s please just move on. I offer two primary points to support my position.

I participated in several sports throughout middle and high school – mind you, none of which were played indoors – and not once in six years was the national anthem played before one of my games. It seems it’s not so much a required or slated part of high school sports in general, but more so a tradition of indoor arena events. For that reason, I think it ok to rescind on a tradition in lieu of valuable resources, especially when it comes to that of student-athletes.

Secondly – and more importantly – during intro of an NHL game I was watching, the announcers were wrapping up their pre-game analysis while you could see in the background everyone in the arena was preparing for the playing of the national anthem. What happened next I’ve experienced 1000 times, but for some reason this time a little light bulb went off. Just as the first notes of the ‘Star Spangled Banner’ could be heard over the sound system, the play-by-play announcer offered the following: “We’ll be back after these messages with the drop of the puck.” [Fade to commercial.] (For the record, same goes with MLB, NBA, and NFL games, save for the Super Bowl (where impressions are king and the rights to presenting the national anthem are cashed in for top dollar).

It got me to thinking- so many people upset about the anthem not playing before their teen’s game, and yet, the greater television media has decided that while the 25,000 or so attendees can partake in the national tradition, for the other millions of viewers at home it presents the perfect opportunity for an extra 2-3 minutes to makes some extra cash.

Then I say if the networks are going to set the tone that the value of the anthem is worth more as money in their pockets, than that of patriotism and tradition, then it’s ok for the PAIHL, and rest of us, to follow suit. And that doesn’t make any of us bad Americans.

%d bloggers like this: