Star Spangled Bummer

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Why the Star-Spangled Banner is Played At Sporting Events

(As it appeared in “H” HISTORY via Internet Sources)

“Since entering the Great War a year and a half ago, more than 100,000 U.S. soldiers had died. And just a day before the game, a bomb had exploded in Chicago, (the city in which the game was held), killing four people and injuring dozens more. In addition, the U.S. government had recently announced that it would begin drafting major league baseball players. All this sat heavy on the shoulders of both the players and the smaller-than-usual crowd of fans that day. But during the seventh-inning stretch, the U.S. Navy band began to play the Star-Spangled Banner; and something changed.

As the song began, Red Sox infielder Fred Thomas — who was in the Navy and had been granted furlough to play in the World Series -immediately turned toward the American flag and gave it a military salute, according to the Chicago Tribune. Other players turned to the flag with hands over hearts, and the already-standing crowd began to sing. At the song’s conclusion, the previously quiet fans erupted in thunderous applause. At the time, the New York Times reported that it “marked the highest point of the day’s enthusiasm.” The song would be played at each of the Series’ remaining games, to increasingly rapturous response. And patriotism played a part right from the start, as the Red Sox gave free tickets to wounded veterans and honored them during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner before the start of the decisive Game 6.

Other baseball parks began to play the song on holidays and special occasions, and Red Sox owner Harry Frazee made it a regular part of Boston home games. The Star-Spangled Banner officially became the U.S. national anthem in 1931 and by the end of World War II, NFL Commissioner Elmer Layden ordered that it be played at every football game. The tradition quickly spread to other sports, aided by the introduction of large sound systems and post-war patriotism.

The anthem’s adoption also gave way to a new American pastime, almost as beloved as sports itself: complaining about people’s behavior during the national anthem. By 1954, Baltimore Orioles general manager Arthur Ehlers was already bemoaning fans he thought disrespected the anthem by talking and laughing during the song. Ehlers briefly stopped playing the anthem altogether, before relenting to pressure and reinstating it a month later.”

BY BECKY LITTLE // SEPTEMBER 25, 2017

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“The act of kneeling might be an act of modest, minimalist description convenient to the otherwise less articulate. The flag, of course, is a statement of many things including inestimable expression for those who, silenced, can no longer pledge allegiance to it…”

-Julius D. Thomas

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Football As Religion

Organized sport is a luxury found with great prevalence in the history of wealthy nations. Whereas there has been some form of sporting event or another for the well to do through the ages.

It hasn’t been until the emergence of prosperous nations composed of engaged communities that, organized sport has come to be the measure that, more than anything else, seems to define: the availability of ‘free time’. Free time that is available to be expended by everyday people for the pleasures of Corinthian Pursuit.

Such luxuries have come to define entire generations, especially in the United States. Wherein, today, there is a great and overwhelming source of enjoyment derived from both the participation in and the avid witnessing of: the spectacle that is sport.

From locally sponsored, interscholastic, community endeavors, to the presentation of elite, professional world championship contests. In America and in most advanced communities of the world, sporting events, of one sort or another, are important and prominent threads. That, season after season, are regularly woven into the warp and woof of everyday existence of tens of millions of citizen-fans. Thus, creating a rich societal tapestry of both divergent and concurring loyalty interests.

Kaepernick the Christ:

Another Coming?

There have been many “christs” through the history of religion. To the ancients a “christ” was considered an “anointed one”.

The Christ Jesus was a semi-mystical character. Who was eventually adopted by what was a nondescript, splinter-sect, Jewish, religious group, as its figurehead. Then: as its God.

Jesus Christ became, by far, the most widely known and followed of that moniker. A once obscure, minor, monotheistic practice eventually became known to the world as a religion that is Christianity. In fact in the religious vernacular, to this day, to the exception of all others: Jesus is and has been the Christ. Until: Kaepernick.

Kaepernick: the ‘Anointed One’

AKA

The

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NFL

‘Kneeling Kaepernick’

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“You’re a goddamn quarterback! You know what that means? It’s the top spot, kid. It’s the guy who takes the fall. It’s the guy everybody’s looking at first — the leader of a team — who will support you when they understand you. Who will break their ribs and their noses and their necks for you, because they believe. ’Cause you make them believe. That’s a quarterback.”

– Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) Any Given Sunday

It would appear that Colin Kaepernick, a high-performing professional football athlete, by his example; almost, unwittingly created a sect of fellow-player acolytes. Not so much in the manner of ordinary leadership that has come to be expected on the part of an NFL quarterback.

Rather such that there are now those brethren sport professionals, who have dedicated themselves to blind observance, of a, minor, gridiron sideline gesture: a kneeling antic. An otherwise innocuous gesture was something performed by this single, recent, nearly discarded, formerly heralded, whiz kid, football wunderkind.

That captured the imagination of fellow NFL players. Who ordinarily were accustomed to and dependant upon, another form of leadership for guidance or their god-given athletic talents. From: a quarterback.

Kaepernick suddenly became a spiritual leader. For their handsome daily sustenance each of these, other many athlete-acolytes relied upon their agents and coaches and team owners. For their social-issue spirituality, in AD 2017, they relied upon: the NFL ‘Kneeling Kaepernick’.

Who had recent-suffered the indignities of being, himself, sacrificed to the evil, ever present and always threatening, injury demons of the National Football League. The sacrifice of the young Kaepernick took place at a time that was relatively early on. In what promised to be an otherwise stellar career as a professional football quarterback.

Somehow. The newly enlightened NFL practitioners of protest also assumed similar positions. Each seemingly inspired by the actions of the ‘Kneeling Kaepernick’.

Posed by the players there were presumably, inspired postures. During the playing of the traditional pre-game American anthem the posture-practice became eagerly mimicked throughout the league during the early stages of the AD 2017 NFL season.

An easy, non-verbal, ‘Kneeling Kaepernick’ expression became a convenient thing for many of these well-educated folks. Many of whom are not famously noted for ordinarily being accustomed to putting profound thoughts into readily understandable words. The fact is that in these later day, television-inspired days of the sport, aping, theatrical antics, and all manner of physical gesticulations are part of the repertoire of so many of these otherwise gifted college grads.

During the opening weeks of that National Football League season, the ruckus caused by Kaepernick and his pigskin apostles reverberated. It might reverberate yet.

So long as it doesn’t impair the ability of these wealthy, educated player-participants in America’s most popular sport. To fulfill their personal obligations to supremely generous, employment contract guaranties.

In close retrospect, having initially fallen from football grace through no fault of his own Kaepernick-the-injured was clearly an impressionable young man. Moreover, the ‘Kneeling Kaepernick’ seemed to have come under the spell of some Magdalene (or Rasputin)-type influence. Perhaps the transformation took place during an off-season interlude.

‘Kneeling Kaepernick: the Origins

In any event the formerly well-groomed gridiron hero proceeded to assume a scraggly, hirsute appearance. His newly espoused philosophy manifested itself physically in an altered demeanor and mien as well as in his sideline actions.

The ‘Kneeling Kaepernick’ did then go-forth into the sporting world. Where he did have opportunity to preach his personal, socially inspired, gospel. It became apparent that his, was a gospel specifically devised.

Devised to be preached against real and perceived social wrongs, as he seemed (lately) to have come to learn them. His chosen form of protest, kneeling during the playing of the American national anthem, became the stuff of wide social commentary.

Kaepernick’s Magdalene?

Nessa Diab might have been the vehicle for the emergence of what we now know to be: ‘Kneeling Kaepernick’. Was Nessa his Magdalene? Likely. Was Nessa his Rasputin? Perhaps.

The monomial “Nessa”, as she is known, seemed to appear on the scene at a nadir in the young athlete’s life. When he was mired in the fitful doldrums of injury and rejection from the sport of football. The young man’s sin qua non, and sole professional pursuit to the time was football.

The yet-nascent athlete-god was gifted in his pursuit by any account. His future as a major professional sports team quarterback, held infinite promise until: his fateful injuries and subsequent sacrifice before the injury demons of the National Football League.

Magically plying his football craft on winged heels. Became unnaturally burdensome to the injured athlete. He was sacrificed.

His was a fate felt by many other promising sons of the football gods for generations. With the injury, his potential became limited. With such limitation, quarterback Kaepernick became nothing more than another mere mortal. Much like the rest of we the great unwashed. Then it was and; from such chaos, the ‘Kneeling Kaepernick’ was born

Abruptly shorn of now foregone physical prowess. In AD 2017 his redemption came in no less a form of physical presence than his expression in another means of attention magnetism. The: kneeling, public protest.

NFL: ‘Any Given Sunday’

On ‘Any Given Sunday’ there might be near a thousand players who have ascended to the National Football League stratosphere who are at play or ready. Who perform in stadiums throughout America as some of the finest athletic talent in the world.

Armed with the best guidance and training; nearly each and every one of these professionals is college educated. They are not only folks who attended university but they are graduates of some of the most notable institutions of higher learning in America.

Compared to the likely composition of those in attendance at the events as well as those who view the much media-touted spectacles at home. The players in the National Football League are better educated than a great proportion of those who are their fans.

The Flag

“The ‘Stars and Stripes’ defeated the ‘Stars and Bars’. After all.’

-Timothy Brown

Perhaps, more so than most of their avid fans, professional football players have had exposure to an education that would enable each and every one of them to have familiarity with the following American, historical facts. That armed with such advantageous education these grads would know that the American flag was carried time and again into battle.

What all sentient persons, players and fans, might serially suspect but must be advised of again and again lest we all forget. As a symbol, the American flag has stood but never knelt in many situations. Including:

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Siege of Yorktown (American Revolutionary War)

Defense of Fort McHenry (War of 1812)

Battle of Gettysburg (American Civil War)

Battle of San Juan Hill (Spanish-American War)

Battle of St. Mihiel (WWI)

Battle of the Bulge/Battle of Guadalcanal (WWII)

Battle of the Chosin Reservoir (Korean War)

Tet Offensive (Vietnam War)

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The Pledge

“It’s TV, it changed everything, changed the way we think forever.”

-Tony D’Amato (Al Pacino) Any Given Sunday

America. Try: reciting the Pledge of Allegiance at the beginning of the game. Sing the song later: when and if you want.

Maybe sing: after a glorious victory. Maybe sing: after a painful defeat.

The Kneel

The U.S. Constitution provides that:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

It is a regularly reached conclusion of the less optimistic amongst us, that in some endeavors: we are each ‘damned if we do and damned if we don’t’. This might, or might not, be true.

Perhaps, at the risk of offending the intent of the founding fathers, each and every one of America’s citizens should kneel. Maybe: everyone should kneel when we look at the American flag out of a sense of justified, patriotic religiosity

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According to Internet sources this portion of the language of the first amendment to a notable Constitution provision was likely derived from the following language included in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson, which read as follows:

“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should ‘make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,’ thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.”

Jefferson, himself, was echoing the language of the founder of the first Baptist church in America, Roger Williams who had written in 1644: “[A] hedge or wall of separation between the garden of the church and the wilderness of the world.”

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To Kneel or Not To Kneel: That Is the Question

Were we obliged to simply kneel for the US flag as does the ‘Kneeling Kaepernick’, then: need we lie down for the Confederate standard; grovel for the ‘Hammer and Sickle’ gonfalon; dig-in and bury ourselves for the Nazi banderole???

“A flag could never kneel; but a flag could stand; and if a flag could weep… Ah. There’s the rub…”

-Timothy Brown

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Posted 2 minutes ago by DILULIUS, King of Troy