Why is the National Anthem sung before sporting events in the U.S.?

As an aside, the plod-plod-plod military band version of the Star Spangled Banner is not the way it was known before the 20th century. Earlier arrangements were far more pleasant and lilting and showed much more variety. However, due to the circumstances of war, we are left with the ugliest of all possible renderings as the “standard”.

In a sense, Hendrix was bringing the song back to its roots and doing it high honor.

That’s an interesting take on it, astorian. Sports and films were in jeopardy in the UK during WWII as well, but were retained as morale-boosters. I believe the tempo of the UK national anthem was slowed down to be played at a monarch’s funeral and the slow version stuck.

I don’t know why I didn’t mention Ireland in my previous post because it’s a better example than any of the places I did mention. For general sports like football (soccer) and rugby, you will see plenty of flags and hear the national anthem at international games (like everywhere else), but you’ll also hear patriotic songs sung by the crowd at domestic games. There is never any implication of right-wing politics attached to that, beacuse any political overtones in Irish patriotic songs are concerned with achieving independence from the British, not claims of supremacy.

However, the Gaelic Athletic Association organises specifically Irish sports such as Gaelic Football and Hurling as part of cultural festivals that include music, dancing, poetry etc. Although the sports are popular, the GAA itself is often thought of as being a reactionary and politically conservative organisation.

I think it’s used to get everybody in the mood to get


I think it’s used to get everybody in the mood to get all liquored up

SSB has the Name in it also, in the middle of stanza 4 (same part as “And the rockets’ red glare”):

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: “In G-d is our trust!”

(By way of cite, I searched Google for: lyrics “Star Spangled Banner” and used the InfoPlease.com link.)

In Australia, where i’m from, the anthem is only played before international sporting events. And then the anthems of both countries are played.

At least, this was the case when i was last in Australia three years ago. Things might have changed since, but i hope not.

The thing that i really noticed upon moving to the US is not just that the anthem is played at just about every sporting event, but that it seems to be sung only by the Famous Person[sup]TM[/sup] on the field, and not by the crowd.

While other countries may not sing the anthem as often at sporting events, when they do at least it is sung by everyone, and not simply delegated to someone with a great voice. Despite the fact that i have little time for “God Save the Queen” as a national anthem, there are few more rousing spectacles in sport than being in the stands at Twickenham or Wembley when 50-100,000 Brits are belting it out at the top of their lungs. Ditto for the Australian anthem at the Football Stadium or Olympic Stadium in Sydney.

Here in the US, the crowd generally just seems to stand and listen, many with their hands over their hearts (a posture i find vaguely pathetic, but that’s just me). Maybe this has something to do with the fact that The Star-Spangled Banner has a larger range between low and high notes than most other anthems, and thus is harder to sing for someone without a trained singing voice.

Pathetic? It’s a sign of respect plain and simple.

Placing your hand over your heart is called a “hand salute”. This is a way to show respect for the flag if not in unifrom. When in uniform, people would salute the flag with the traditional hand to the brow posture.


True, I had forgotten that. But how often does that verse get sung? It’s easier to simply omit one verse than deal with something common to all verses.

Or if you’re not drunk like the members of the Anacreontic Society. :smiley:

It’s also harder because it’s usually played in a higher key for the pro singer. It should be played in a lower key - B flat, at least.

I’m fully aware of the reasons. Doesn’t change my opinion.

But i won’t go any further with the point, because this is GQ, not GD or the Pit. Probably shouldn’t have made the observation in the first place.

In the UK, don’t they sing “God Save the Queen” before movies in theatres?

Not at any UK movie theatre that i’ve ever been to.

I thought I’d already covered that one. I’ve only been able to find references online to anecdotes about people who remember it being accompanied by a mass rush for the exits. But this guy, for instance, mentions God Save the Queen (not King) so it must have survived into the '50s. It certainly isn’t done any more, though, and probably not in my lifetime.

Also, it was played by an orchestra or from a recording of one; I don’t think it was ever sung.

Have you forgotten that every piece of U.S. currency today has “In God we trust” on it?

I’m not an American and I personally don’t think that national anthems should be played at sporting events, but I have to say that I think the US national anthem is the best one I’ve heard… I’m stunned to hear you say that…

No. It was added before the modern interpretation of the separation of church and state (which I mentioned above) was developed. If it weren’t on the money already, you wouldn’t be able to put it on now.

Asked and answered.