March 1, 2013: Oh Say Can You See...

The crowd at the United Center...phenomenal
" the dawn's early light..."

We had an unexpected surprise tonight. I'm not referring to the exciting overtime win by the Blackhawks or the simple fact that they are actually playing (post-lock-out). It was the game opening singing and crowd participation of the National Anthem that took me aback.

I have never experienced anything like it. Not on Husker Saturdays with the best fly overs. Not at any sporting or national activity that I have attended. The energy of the singer and the emotion of the crowd was unexpected and hugely heartwarming. They were roaring and clapping with every word as though they had just won the Stanley Cup.

Cindy and I just turned to each other as it concluded, a bit teary-eyed and awe struck, and mouthed "wow". We looked over at the boys and saw that their reaction mirrored ours. This patriotic start to the game brought a unified joy to the 20,000 spectators in the United Center. The feeling was simply amazing.

It was so impressive that I Googled this show stopper performance and found out that this is a big deal to Chicago. "Fans of the Chicago Blackhawks have traditionally made their presence felt well before the puck is dropped for the opening faceoff of every home game. In the one minute, 38 seconds it takes Jim Cornelison to sing his rip-roaring rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner for the sellout crowd, one can only wonder if United Center becomes the loudest building on the face of the earth at that particular moment." No doubt about that.

I noted to myself that my grandmother would have been happy. On Valentine's Day I blogged on some of her love letters to my grandpa. in one entry she was disgusted with the lack of display of patriotism by her fellow movie-goers. They didn't stand up in the movie when the National Anthem was played. She was not pleased with this lethargy. Fast forward seventy years to tonight at the United; my  grandma would have been standing beside us, hand to heart, beaming with pride.


  1. I don't watch a lot of hockey, but I did watch the last 3 minutes of regulation and the OT. Good game.

    The Blackhawk National Anthem is awesome. Funny to read this, hearing the perspective of someone who was unaware it was going to happen. I'd like to do this at a high school game once, but I never do, because I figure I would get kicked out.
    Nice story!

    1. Thanks! It really was amazing. Glad I went in cold. Based on the expression on my teens faces, I think it would go over very well at a HS game...go for it!


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