Whatever your stance is on the current political disagreement surrounding the “Star-Spangled Banner” at sporting events, the chances are that is has been played at the majority of events that you may have attended throughout your life. Whether you stood with your hand over your heart, waited in line at the snack bar, or sat on your sofa and watched, the familiar song probably played before the competition began. It’s just something we all expected.
Those moments, however you chose to spend them, are a reminder that we are all together, doing something that we love or watching something that we love. For many folks, sports, playing or watching, is an escape from our everyday struggles and stressors. Watching an event from the stands, surrounded by your fellow fans is something that we have the privilege to enjoy.
The folks in this video were attending a softball game between Clovis High and Buchanan at Fresno State University’s Margie Wright Diamond when some music began to play but quickly stopped. The crowd thought the anthem was about to play. When it didn’t, something unexpected happened — people picked up the slack, singing the entire song as a group.
Many thought that the moment was a political statement, but it turns out that the anthem is only played at the first game to mark the opening of the season. After that, it isn’t usually a part of the game. The event’s organizers were simply following the rules. However, the crowd decided to make their own rules that night.
Event coordinator Bob Kayajania took responsibility for the choice and explained it is protocol: “The national protocol is the first game of the session you have the national anthem. The games after that are just played. We got caught. They started to play some music, and the people took that as the national anthem, and they all started singing, which I think is obviously a wonderful thing to show off their patriotism.”
Tiffany Marquez was in the crowd that evening and shared the original video of the impromptu anthem on Facebook, which quickly went viral.
“Honestly, I was shocked (when) the announcer stated, ‘There will be no anthem, let’s just play softball. Within seconds, you could hear people in the crowd singing and the volume of their voices building. There I was, standing in the middle of a true testament to unity and patriotism,” said Tiffany.
Watch the crowd’s performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the video below.