Friday, December 14, 2007

A Special Guest Blogger for a Friday

Jeff K is off this week, so no Sights & Sounds today. You may now panic. However, do not panic - we've brought in a special guest blogger for your reading enjoyment. Longtime reader and commenter TH is making his inaugural splash on Sports As Life. Be nice to him and maybe we can get him to come back sometime.

A Sad, Sad State of Affairs

The buzz of the crowd, the tension in the air, the crack of the helmets, the smell of the ice, the fight songs sung by thousands of fans… the loudspeakers blaring out the latest hip-hop songs!?! I love sports, I love going to a game and the build-up around the whole experience. Sporting events are a day-long event, from the moment I wake up on the day of a big game to the final whistle/horn (and sometimes the stumbling home from the victory celebrations). If you are a sports fan then you know that there is a certain sound to sport – and I am not talking about the music from the mid-90’s that they play on the loudspeakers in the stadium. It is electric, and it is one of the many things that I absolutely love about sport. I love the camaraderie in the stands with fellow fans and the hated fans of the opponent, each trying to out cheer the other. But lately it is more about who can have the biggest speakers in their stadium, or the hated ‘thunder-sticks’ (is it just me or do your feel like grabbing those things away from the people around you and mashing them on their head until they break-out in tears and promise to stop?). I have gone to sporting events all around the world, and I hate to say that we in North America are pretty poor fans. We need to be constantly entertained by loud music that requires no fan interaction (we can just sit there and ‘enjoy’ it). What ever happened to just cheering my brains out? Or singing songs about my team… or the other team? The best we have these days are the random drunk fan questioning the sexual preference of the opposing team and their fans – nice, real nice, that will show them.

I was in Paris a few years back and decided to go to a Paris Saint-Germain football game (soccer) and the fans chanted and sang throughout – although I must say that my French is poor and I had no idea what they were saying, the singing was infectious and it was one of the most enjoyable sporting events that I have ever been too. Although the lighting of the road flares throughout the stadium probably helped.

Have you ever watched a Liverpool FC game? It is great watching the match on TV and seeing all those people singing… heck even in certain pubs filled with fans it is amazing to see. Can you imagine being surrounded by 40,000+ Liverpool fans in Anfield singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’:

When you walk through a storm, hold your head up high, and don't be afraid of the dark. At the end of a storm, there's a golden sky, and the sweet silver song of a lark. Walk on through the wind, walk on through the rain, though your dreams be tossed and blown. Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you'll never walk alone... You'll never walk alone. Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart, and you'll never walk alone... You'll never walk alone.

Want more - then check out the variety of the songs for this one team in the English Premiere League:
Just think, almost every professional football (soccer) team has a set of songs that they sing throughout the game… for the ENTIRE GAME!

Now don’t get me wrong here, I am not trying to say that European sports are superior, they aren’t (personal preference and all the PC stuff… blah, blah, blah). It just seems that they have held onto certain traditions that we have/are letting slip. But fear not, all is not lost; we can save some semblance of tradition. Recently the Sports As Life regular Sweet, Sweet Fantasy writer Trebor and I went to an NFL game in Washington (see the pics a few posts back if you want).

Now being surrounded by almost 90,000 fans is great, but even better is when they sing after a score. Heck they even had a marching band in one end zone. Here is the modern version of the song “Hail to the redskins” that they use… plus I also included the older version:

The Modern Version
Hail to the Redskins!
Hail to victory!
Braves on the warpath!
Fight for old D.C.!
Run or pass and score!
We want a lot more!
Beat em, Swamp em, Touchdown,
Let the points soar!
Fight on…Fight on…
Til you have won, Washington!

The Original Version
Hail to the Redskins!
Hail Victory!
Braves on the Warpath!
Fight for old Dixie!
Scalp 'em, swamp 'em,
We will take 'em big score!
Read 'em, weep 'em, touchdown,
We want heap more!
Fight on... Fight on...
'Till you have won,
Sons of Washington!

Jeez, I wonder why they stopped using the old version?

Even better than the pro’s are the College ranks. NCAA football is huge down in the ol’ U.S.A., one could even say that it is bigger than the NFL. Trebor and I went down to Dallas to watch a Cowboys game a few years back and it was during the Longhorns/O.U. game. Wow, you would have thought that it was the World Cup final!!! When we said we were down for the football game people thought of the college game. Insanity. But aside from rabid fans are the myriad of fight songs that each college has its bands play while at the stadium… and I am not talking about a few unemployed trombone players droning out roll-out the barrel in the end zone, I am talking about full bands with lots of school specific songs. Check this site out – it may first strike you as a sub-par site, but it has all the songs (I don’t know about all, but a lot):
(Note: check this out as well)

I would have figured that the Sports As Life college writer would have dealt with this awhile back, but from his posts lately I assume that he has been struck with some debilitating illness…lazy-itis perhaps? I have heard that there is a lot of that going around these days. Nah, Cooper is a good guy… I hope he can find a new job when the editor fires his ass and replaces him with a chimp. But I digress, back on topic.

Heck even baseball can be exciting if you aren’t inundated with popular music being shoved down your throat (or in your ears). I was in Japan awhile back and decided to go to a JBL game in Osaka (seeing that Mr. Baseball with Tom Selleck is one of my all time favourite movies…seriously, I’m not joking). The Hanshin Tigers are a fun team to watch - the people sing songs that I can’t understand, but like PSG it was the spirit of the event that mattered, not the words. Although the cute Japanese girls with beer kegs strapped to their backs helped the atmosphere a lot. Oh, here - I found the fight song for the Hanshin Tigers:

Hanshin Tigers no Uta (Rokko Oroshi, romaji)
Rokkō oroshi ni sassō to
Sōten kakeru nichirin no
Seishun no haki uruwashiku
Kagayaku wagana zo Hanshin Tigers
Ō-ō-ō-ō Hanshin Tigers

Tōshi hatsuratsu tatsu ya ima
Nekketsu sude ni teki o tsuku
Jūō no iki takaraka ni
Muteki no warera zo Hanshin Tigers
Ō-ō-ō-ō Hanshin Tigers

The Song of the Hanshin Tigers (The Wind of Mount Rokko)
(An official English version, not a direct translation)

Dashing swiftly through the wind blowin' from Rokko
Like the big sun soaring in the clear blue sky
Mighty spirit of the youth shows the victor's grace
The name that shines in glory "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!

Powerful hits and skillful pitch achieved a thousand times
Trained with every discipline here at Koshien
Crowned with constant victory glorious, matchless feat
Always proud, invincible "Hanshin Tigers"
Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! Hanshin Tigers
Hooray, Hooray, Hooray, Hooray!

Strange song. Trust me when I say that it sounds a lot better in Japanese.

But even better than the singing, flag waving and drum banging… the balloons. Check this out. Now you can’t tell me that those balloons don’t look like sperm. Do you think that they are trying to say something? Who needs a 7th inning stretch when you can blow up a giant sperm shaped balloon and let it go into the air? Oh then again I have the sense of humour of a 14 year old.

Even more than this I hear that baseball is a thinking-fans game (which may explain why I don’t follow it). Fans trying to figure out what the next pitch will be, what the batter is going to try and do, what the base runners will do, etc. Try doing that with the latest jock-jams blaring in your ears.

I love going to live sporting events, and I can even handle music being played from time to time, but I don’t need to be distracted during the entire game. What ever happened to talking to fellow fans about the last play? Can’t do that anymore, all my senses have to be occupied all the time with music, jumbo-trons and the like. We are rapidly losing an important part of sport, the sounds... and that folks is a sad state of affairs.


Luke said...


/shakes fist in air

cooper said...

Hey lazy tits is a very dibilitating illness, and that damn chimp you speak of went and made my "trial" of wordperfect expire. Bowl season is soon upon us so I will be back in the swing of things soon enough

Anonymous said...

I believe that I said that you had Lazy-itis...not Lazy-tits (which is rare in men but has known to happen from time to condolences).


Jeff K said...

lazy tits may have just become part of my regular vocabulary. Lazy tits...Ha.

Great post. Entertaining...and educational.