AUSTIN PISTULKA: Why do we Play the National Anthem at Sporting Events?

I'm sure that this might shock you after reading the headline, but I love a good national anthem. A rousing rendition of the Star Spangled Banner at the right moment can quite literally bring a tear to my eye, but honestly that has never happened at a basketball game...or any regular season sporting event. So why do we play the national anthem prior to every sports game? It started back in 1918.

World War I was in full swing and the Red Sox and Cubs were in the World Series. It had been announced that over 100,000 soldiers lost their lives in the Great War and MLB players were going to be entering the military draft soon. During the seventh inning of the World Series game, the Navy band began to play the anthem. The whole crowd joined in and the New York Times reported that "it marked the highest point of the day's enthusiasm."

Then it started to be played on special occasions at the ball park and when the end of WWII rolled around the NFL commissioner at the time decided it would be played before every NFL game and other leagues followed suit. At one point, the anthem united a country that was all suffering from the World Wars.

It doesn't do that any more.

Mark Cuban made it official that the Dallas Mavericks will not be playing the anthem at home games this season and has not been so far. You can read The Athletic's story in the tweet below.

I'm going to be honest with you, I like this. I like that I could go to a sporting event and not get the parts of the US that I don't like thrown in my face. There will not be boos for players who kneel at a Mavericks game. There will not be the conversation that has become so common in sports. You know what will happen? A game where a young Luka Doncic could get another triple-double. The massive slam dunk in the second quarter isn't going to be overshadowed by the guy on Twitter complaining about a peaceful protest. It will just be a day at the game.

I like that.

I think there is still a place for the national anthem at some sporting events. Military nights, the Super Bowl, some holidays, I think all of those days could be made even more special by playing the national anthem, but much like a lot of things in this world, if you see something enough it loses significance and power.

Now hold on. I know you are about to tweet me about disrespecting our military. Allow me one thought on that. Do you know how we could better honor our military? Giving them the services they need while in and once they have retired from the military. Get our veterans out of homeless shelters and give them the help they deserve for defending our country. A song at a game they can't get into doesn't honor them.

Alright, off my soap box. What do you think?

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