Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Do people not care we even have a national anthem in Canada?

One of the highlights of this year's Stanley Cup, even more than two months later, still has to be the crowd in Edmonton belting out both the American and Canadian national anthems. So powerful, even the broadcast team at NBC (which was showing the game in the States) was moved to tears.

Maybe it's an East-West thing, or more precisely East Coast and West vs central Canada, but I'm beginning to wonder if people in this neck of the woods care if we even have a national anthem. Case in point: Back on Sunday, the 20th, the local standardbred track -- Flamboro Downs -- held the annual Confederation Cup. Nowhere near as big in prestige as Charlottetown's Gold Cup and Saucer on the same weekend, but in terms of money it's probably ahead. (And unlike the Gold Cup, it is simulcast at off track facilities across North America -- hint, Pat Binns: You might want to tell the people at the Charlottetown track they made a big mistake not allowing out of province betting -- your government lost a TON of money on it by not doing so, and the replay we saw showed it was one of the best races this year.)

In addition to the Confed Cup, there were three Ontario Sires Stakes finals -- basically, provincial championships -- and several other undercard races. Pretty good turnout, maybe 13,000. One of the biggest sports events in Hamilton each year, if not THE biggest; and moving it to the afternoon this year instead of having it in the evening as it traditionally has been certainly brought the kids out, which is a good thing. (For the record: No, I didn't make any money, but I didn't lose a lot either.)

Here's my point, though: At the start of the event, they played O Canada. This was clearly announced on the loudspeakers throughout the grandstand, clubhouse and the betting area. Some people heard this and stood up, including me. Then they started playing it. Maybe fifteen seconds in, other people started realizing it was playing and stood at attention, some even taking off their hats. But two weird things. People in the betting area and the food court were still chattering like they didn't care. Moreover, the drivers on the track for the first race along with their horses couldn't be bothered to hold still, just for a minute, to stand at attention.

Is it just me, or were other people who were there on Sunday who saw the same thing I did? And have any of you been somewhere, where no one cared about our patriotic hymn? And why is it that movie theatres, although the law requires them to, doesn't play the national anthem anymore before they start rolling the trailers?

Maybe we should do what Michael (Let's Get Ready to Rumble) Buffer suggested: Forgo the national anthem all together. People don't care about it anyway, except during the Stanley Cup and the Olympics, so why bother?

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