Showing respect to the National Anthem has been a divisive issue for millionaire professional players in the NFL. Ask the sports fans at a high school softball game, and there is no debate at all.
When parents and fans at a high school softball game in California were told that the National Anthem would not be played before the game, they didn’t care who got offended or what rules would be broken, they stood and honored America.
On Friday night, at the start of the Memorial Day holiday, a sectional championship softball game was played in Fresno, California. Several games had already been played, so the announcer told the crowd “There will be no anthem, let’s just play softball.”
The crowd booed heavily, and then stood and sang the anthem anyway.
Organizers later apologized, claiming it was a mistake, as the anthem was played before the first game, and is traditionally not played before games that follow.
The fans didn’t care.
Before Clovis High played Buchanan Friday night for the Central Section softball championship, the announcer representing the section stated there wouldn’t be a national anthem prior to the game.
Those in attendance at Fresno State’s Margie Wright Diamond weren’t having any of that.
Following a loud chorus of boos, the patriotic crowd stood up and began singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” a cappella.
Many removed their hats and placed their hands over their hearts. Others simply stood tall with pride.
Players stopped their pregame warmups to turn around and face the American flag that waved beyond the center-field wall.
When the song was over, the crowd burst into a round of applause.
The teams went on to play ball.
Event coordinator Bob Kayajanian of the Central Section said it was a mistake on his part.
“The national protocol is the first game of the session you have the national anthem,” he said. “The games after that are just played. We got caught (off-guard). Both the teams turned to face the field and they all started singing the national anthem. 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.
“We try to follow with what normally gets done. It’s all a learning experience for everyone and (going forward) we’re playing the national anthem at every game.”
Here is video of the crowd singing. It does nto capture the announcement or the booing that followed.
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