The singing of the Star Spangled Banner before an athletic event is a tradition that goes back to very beginning of sports. It’s something that we do to honor our country and also to put the game in perspective as just that – a game which pales in comparison to the real life problems the people who fight for our country everyday face. It’s a moment of reverence for players and fans alike – and a moment that was ruined before Friday night’s men’s ice hockey game.
It started like any other anthem. No. 1 Boston College and No. 9 UMaine were standing at their blue lines, and everyone in Alfond Arena was on their feet with caps removed. But as the singer reached, “O’er the land of the free,” someone in the student section decided it would be a good idea to holler out “George Bush sucks,” and was met with mixed applause as the anthem finished.
Whoever the mystery political activist is should be ashamed of himself. This is not a politically motivated piece. I voted for John Kerry last week, but unlike a lot of people, I’m willing to admit that President Bush won the election and in the minds of most Americans is the better man for the job. People who can’t stop Bush bashing like this could learn a lesson from athletics; it’s called sportsmanship. When you lose, you shake the other person’s hand and congratulate them on being better that night.
Sports are supposed to be entertainment. A game between two powerhouse college hockey programs should be an escape from the harsh realities of life; one that you enjoy as a Black Bear fan, not as a Democrat or Republican. To bring politics into it ruins the feel of the event.
Of course the argument in favor of the anti-Bush display is simply freedom of speech, but it doesn’t hold up here. There’s a thing called class, and it should be observed during the Star Spangled Banner. There’s a reason that people stand up during the anthem and that all military personnel salute throughout the entire song. It’s out of respect for our country.
The constant disrespect for the president is childish. It’s time for people who don’t support Bush to grow up, and stop using juvenile outbursts like this one to prove their point. Our country is more divided than it’s been since Vietnam, and these displays aren’t helping to unite us. All they do is alienate people who do support the president and drive moderates away from the liberal cause.
This particular incident puts a black eye not only on liberals but on the entire UMaine student population.