There's one thing that I absolutely love at a sporting event, and that is the sound of the crowd singing along to the national anthem. It is one of those things that touches your soul when 15,000 or so people are singing proudly in honour of their country. Nothing even comes close to it for me. It is a sign of pride, and one we should revel in more. Canadians sing loudly with the national anthem, and some Americans do. Both are good songs. Why not belt the tune out and encourage others to do the same?
There have been many instances where the anthem has been played that have made me proud. However, there are some that have been inspirational beyond words for a variety of reasons.
Akina Shirt, 13 years of age, sings the Canadian national anthem in Cree, the first time the anthem has ever been sung in Cree before an NHL hockey game. Huge thumbs-up from this writer.
The Canadian national anthem sung before the start of Game Three of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Edmonton Oilers and Anaheim Mighty Ducks in 2006. If this doesn't give you goosebumps, you probably have no emotions whatsoever.
Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys gives an excellent performance of the Star Spangled Banner before the start of an AHL game, and adds a few of his own twists.
The incredible Chicago Stadium crowd cheers the entire time during the anthem signing at the 1991 NHL All-Star Game in Chicago. Chicago crowds were awesome during the early '90s! The anthem singer does a heck of a good job too.
Of course, there is the bad as well. Do NOT boo a national anthem ever. It is classless and in bad taste. The country has nothing to do with the team playing, and those representatives in the game, especially in hockey, are from around the world. I cannot say it enough: you DO NOT boo an anthem. Ever. No excuse for it. None.
Sing. That's all you have to do. Sing proudly. Sing for pride. Sing for your country. Sing for the people standing on the ice in front of you, waiting patiently to go to war. Sing for those men and women who have gone, and are currently in, wars around the world. Sing. Like the crowd in Edmonton, just sing. Even if you only know a few words, sing.
It is a point of pride for yourself, the players, the management, and the country. Be proud. Heck, sing both anthems if you can. They define who we are as a nation.
Until next time, keep your stick on the ice... and your voices singing loudly and proudly!