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I want to clear the air over the national anthem issue at the game Friday night.
The Northside Jacksonville Junior ROTC unit was on the home sidelines in formation at the 50-yard line waiting to receive instructions to enter the field from the press box announcer. However, Northside Jax’s announcer failed to show up and didn’t bother to have the common decency to tell anyone he was not coming.
Nobody in the press box was familiar with the system they had and could not get the mic on. The coach in the press box yelled down to the sideline to have a coach tell the color guard to go onto the field — but by that time, the teams had run onto the field, so the referee waved the color guard off. No national anthem.
I am disappointed that the band director did not play it anyways from the stands since band members had already taken their seats. (I guess they play it from the stands.) It would have made everyone stop in the stadium — but they did not do that.
Now, for those of you in attendance — myself included — if any one of us had broken out in song, there would have been a massive ripple effect, the stadium would have come to a halt and we would have had the most off-key rendition of the national anthem ever sung by the entire stadium.
But none of us did that either, did we? I think I will do that if it ever happens again.
I was very disappointed not to hear the anthem played (or sung) — but it was not the school’s fault. Northside had its folks there ready to present the colors — except for the announcer, who apparently had something better to do than fulfill the commitments he made to the team and decided to take the night off.
I offered up our announcer — they didn’t seem to warm to the idea.
This wonderful absentee announcer also nearly ruined the band’s halftime show, which I always enjoy watching and include in the livestream for those who like to watch the bands perform. Part of the show — the opening part — relies on the microphone being available. The band director had to yell it from the press box.
Sometimes we take for granted how good we have it with Scott Collie and Chris Pace in the press box every week — or to have a band director in Matt Ray who I would bet a paycheck would have had his band play it from the stands anyway.
Firebird Nation is truly, truly blessed — I see that every time we travel.
Oh, and Northside — you need to fire that damn announcer. Your fans were plentiful and spirited. Surely one of them would do a much better — not to mention more reliable — job at it.
Mark Cone is owner and operator of SouthernNashNews.com.