They’re realizing that it’s just not a good song
Recently, Americans have become increasingly uncomfortable at football games. Unlike most of us, people who attend football games normally expect and want to see sports when they arrive at the stadium, so surprisingly, that is not the source of their discomfort. Instead, it is “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
Every game begins the same way. The sport-goers stand, hands on their hearts, and grit their teeth as the anthem echoes through the stadium. It’s usually covered by a guest singer who is traditionally asked to butcher the song with riffs, backup vocals, harmonies, and other useless attempts at making the song bearable.
Unfortunately, no one has ever managed to make the atrocity sound anything like music. Instead, most singers will use a combination of preset techniques to effectively confuse the audience into categorizing the cringe-worthy collection of notes as melodic.
“Yeah, I mean, there’s a science to it,” says a former pop singer who wishes to remain anonymous. She has covered the anthem multiple times at major football games. “It’s like, you’ve gotta play this song, right? And nobody wants to hear it? So just distract them. If you keep your vibrato going forever, or keep, uh, your riffs going up and down long enough, I mean, what do they know? They think it’s good as long as they can’t hear the actual song underneath. The original is shit and even I can’t fix it.”
The original she refers to was written by Francis Scott Key, lovingly referred to by many sport fans as Francis Off-Key. The song was written over 200 years ago, and many people believe it has more than overstayed its welcome on the football field.
“I just really wish they’d play something else,” says Massachusetts state resident Charles Elder. “I mean, what’s wrong with putting our hands over our hearts for ‘Ship It Up to Boston’ or ‘We Will Rock You’? Hell, I’d think by now they’d at least have us take our hats off when they play Carrie Underwood’s ‘Oh, Sunday Night’. That’s really our anthem, anyway.”
“It’s just not a good song,” adds New Hampshire resident Jackie Laurens. “I mean, they could’ve at least put a little more effort into the lyrics. I know it’s supposed to be poetic and all, but you can hardly tell it’s supposed to be about football. It sounds more like it was about war and independence or some shit.”
I would imagine, naturally, that it’s considered treasonous for a sport-watcher to refuse to take part in any part of the pregame rite, and no fan wants to appear lackadaisical about their love of God and Brady. Patriotism is, in fact, the most prominent religion in New England.
Many other religions have terrible songs too. And I don’t mean to single out those who worship football over, say, those who worship Christ, or Madonna. But there is something dreadfully awful about hearing the first few notes of what could just as easily be the opening theme to a mediocre, early 90s British soap opera, and knowing that you’re going to have to sit through, what, a minute and half of it? Two whole minutes? It’s just inhumane.
This year alone, there have been three dozen reports of in-stadium facepalm attacks on people who do not suffer from the disorder. The attacks are normally caused by extremely cringe-worthy stimuli. Normally, the human body is able to recover from a facepalm attack in matter of several seconds. But these attacks have become downright dangerous, causing prolonged states of cringing in the victims.
Further unsettling is that each of these attacks (yes, every single one) has taken place on the third beat of measure eight during the anthem. Although this is being widely disputed by anthem fanatics who are trying to cover the episodes up, the evidence has steadily increased to the point where it has become almost impossible to ignore the correlation. Like clockwork, the song attacks elders, small children, babies, influenza patients, people with good taste in music, people with heart murmurs: the list goes on. Those who are weakest suffer the most. Some people manage to wake up from their trance before the halftime show begins, but others are not so lucky. One man, John Lowman, was down, his face glued to his palm, utterly out of touch with the world, for the entire game.
“While I was out I remember dreaming that I was being chased by a train made of wooden flutes that spouted tangled red, white, and blue music notes from its smokestack,” the senior recalls. “When I woke up, I’d completely missed the whole game. What a waste.”
Religious reform has always come slowly, and fans should not expect immediate change. For now, people at risk for facepalm attacks should steer clear of the games, or consider purchasing earplugs, which are now being sold at the door.
Isabel Murray is a second-year writing major who can probably sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” better than Fergie. You can reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.