Sunday, October 24, 2010

Just crazy enough

I wasn’t even supposed to be announcing the varsity game. 

I’m currently the voice of the Ukiah JV Football Wildcats (and Varsity Boys Hoopsters) and I ended up doing the varsity game between Rancho Cotate and Ukiah because the normal guy was down with the flu.  I didn’t realize that a technical error was going to make me a songbird. 

With about 1:30 left on the clock, I inserted the Star Spangled Banner cd into the machine and fast-fowarded to song #10, the instrumental of the National Anthem.  The 700 plus crowd and football players were all standing facing the south end of the field where the flag was slowly waving.  The noise that came out of the speakers was that horrid choppy sound of a skipping cd.  I quickly stopped the cd, took it out, and rubbed it on my shirt hoping to dislodge potential particles on the surface.  I glanced outside and saw hundreds of people looking at the announcers booth, waiting for the traditional song to be played.  While I prepped a second attempt, my colleagues in the booth were silent and the local radio announcer mentioned that the anthem had “technical difficulties”.  My mind started to whirl about alternatives to the cd not working.  Probably wouldn’t happen right?  The cd went in, forward to #10, and it started to skip again.  A silent stadium looked up at the announcers booth, this time with a slight annoyance.

I’ll be honest, the first thought was to turn on the mic and call a girl that I knew was at the game up to the announcers booth.  She had done the National Anthem last year a couple of times and was excellent.  But that could take five minutes or more, and hundreds of people kept looking at me for a song.  For some reason, I calmly sat down, pushed the mic button, and obliged. 

It’s interesting that I sang this week because we discussed the War of 1812 in APUSH, including the background about Francis Scott Key, the actual length of the song (we sing only the first stanza), and played them the music from the drinking song “Anacreon in Heaven”.   I really wasn’t nervous at all, just focused.  In my mind, everyone in the stadium knew the cd failed, so the sound of my voice isn’t going to be that big of a deal.  Only thing to make sure….

DON’T SCREW UP THE LYRICS!

Yeah, Government teacher can’t sing Star Spangled Banner.  I wasn’t about to let that happen.  So I calmly sang the song, making sure to drop my voice before “bombs bursting in air”, and pulled it off.  I got applause, tips of the cap from the fans, and plenty of “atta boys”.  It was actually a pretty cool feeling.  Somewhere in my mind I felt like the anthem needed to be played and I was crazy enough to just belt it out.  So yes, I can add to my list “sang National Anthem in front of large crowd”.  

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