I've posted this before, as part of a longer story, but it's ideal for the 4th of July, so I thought I'd repeat it.
In the mid-70s, the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team made a slight change in their pre-game ceremonies. Instead of playing the National Anthem, they would occasionally play a recording of Kate Smith singing "God Bless America." Eventually, someone with the team noticed that when they did that, the team did really well. In fact, they were 36-3 with one tie. It became their good luck charm.
So, when the team made the playoffs and then moved on to the Stanley Cup finals, they had an idea for something very special. And so, in Game 6 of the Best-of-Seven series, they invited Kate Smith herself to come to the game and, in person, sing "God Bless America."
When she was introduced and walked across the ice on the carpet...well, let's just say that the crowd went out-of-their-heads wild. In fact, the organist is clearly trying to time his introduction to when he expects her to start, but the crowd just goes cheering on and on that he has to vamp until she can finally jump in.
And she's wonderful, 36 years after she introduced the song in 1938. And this is how the song is supposed to be sung -- like an inspiring anthem, not an excruciatingly slow hymn that so many singers today try to stretch it out into.
By the way, I love two things that occur after she's finished. The first comes at the 3:15 mark. And then second is what the announcer says. Keep in mind with both -- especially the latter -- that this isn't just a a regular game, but it's Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, when the players especially and the fans have one thing in mind. Focus on winning the championship.
Here's that moment, from May 19, 1974.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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