National anthem gets new meaning

Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, the impact and message of the Star-Spangled Banner has grown to a new level. That day, which will live in infamy, as well as these current days, has renewed the meaning of the poem that became America’s national anthem.

It is a tradition that the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner precede the first pitch, jump ball, face-off, or kickoff of any American sporting event, and with each performance of the national anthem, spectators are reminded of the recent events that Americans have had to endure.

Because the poem is the national anthem and represents a country at the same time, recently, it has indirectly given some people the opportunity to voice their political opinion at sporting events (not that the sporting world has much importance with the other happening around the world right now).

Before her games, Toni Smith, a Division III women’s college hoops player for Manhattanville, turns her back to the American flag during the singing of the national anthem, while she holds hands with the teammates who stood next to her and faced the flag. On March 27, a Montreal crowd booed during the delivery of the Star-Spangled Banner before an NHL game between the Canadians and New York Islanders.

Events like these have sparked debate and even led some people to believe that maybe the traditional singing of the national anthem should be axed and the games should begin without anyone hearing the Star-Spangled Banner. The sports world is not a place for political outcry, people are saying.

I, for one, am not a fan of politics, but unfortunately, they manage to plague each and every game. Athletes are entertainers, and sports become a form of entertainment that is only marred by political activity.

However, sports serve as a stage for all who choose to take part in it. It’s a stage where your personality shows and your opinions and thoughts can come out. This stage is one that is suitable for you to voice an opinion.

Entertainers like Shaq constantly voice their thoughts about current events. Although his exact thinking differs from that of Smith or the opinions of the fans who booed in Montreal, all three parties are essentially doing the same thing — giving their opinion.

Baseball players write messages on their baseball caps and basketball players write them on their Nikes. There’s nothing wrong with that. Even the Oregon Ducks’ mascot wrote “”Support our troops”” on the bottom of his foot. There’s nothing wrong with that.

A student-athlete can make her statement and turn her back on a country, and fans can make theirs and boo a nation. Although their actions show a hint of idiocy, there’s nothing wrong with that.