There’s something about hearing the national anthem before a match. Usually, at least here in Ghana, football is a huge deal and when the national team is playing, we all become super patriotic!
When the team makes it to a very important stage when the national anthem is played before the match and the camera zooms in on each player’s face as they mumble the words…we sometimes get emotional!!
But, have you ever wondered if there’s a specific reason why the national anthem is played before a match?
Well…it started from America and the tradition kick started during a game of baseball (we know GH can’t relate but, it’s part of history okay?)
According to Sporcle, the tradition of singing the national anthem at sporting events began during the 1918 World Series. During the seventh-inning stretch of the first baseball game between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs, the band began to play The Star-Spangled Banner (it was not even America’s official national anthem at that time). Players turned to face the centerfield flagpole, and fans, who were already on their feet, began to sing along.
By the end, nearly the entire stadium was singing, and the song ended to a chorus of thunderous applause.
At the time, World War I was nearing an end. Singing The Star-Spangled Banner that day was a well-timed display of comradery and patriotism. Harry Frazee, then owner of the Red Sox, subsequently began each other game of the series by having the band play the song.
The playing of The Star-Spangled Banner before games became such a hit, that after the war ended, the song continued to be played at baseball games. However, it was mainly reserved for notable occasions, like holidays, opening day, and the World Series.
During World War II, the song became even more popular, as it was a way for large crowds to show their patriotism.
Additionally, advances in technology meant that the song could be played over speaker systems instead of requiring a band, making it easier to incorporate into games. By the time the war had ended, The Star-Spangled Banner had shifted from an exclusive baseball tradition, and quickly spread to other sporting events and well, other countries too.
Soon, almost every country started singing their National anthem before a game.
So, there it is: why we sing the national anthem during sporting events.
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