Jeremy Vreeken – Columnist
On Jan. 31, like a good Canadian, I went to the final Dordt Blades hockey game. We didn’t win, but the team played hard to finish out the season. When I arrived in the arena, it was good to see so many supportive fans in the crowd. It was also good to see so many of my fellow Canadian students enjoying our national sport in another country. All that was missing from that little taste of home was Tim Horton’s coffee in the hands of the spectators.
As we watched the teams warm up, I was sitting and chatting with some fellow fans about the season and the game we were about to watch. Then, over the speaker, someone said it was time to stand for the national anthems.
Now, before I go further, I should say that the fact that the Canadian anthem gets played at hockey games is a very good thing. Many of the players on our team, and on other teams I’m sure, are Canadian; it’s only proper to represent the players.
However, it is also important to represent them well.
The Canadian anthem was played first, and the American anthem second, which in itself I thought was very generous. The American anthem was, as can be expected, very loud, boisterous, patriotic and beautifully played; in comparison, the Canadian anthem sounded terrible. It was quiet, poor quality and the version that was played sounded like it was played by a conductor-less middle school band. (No disrespect to middle school bands. I was in one; we were terrible.)
As a Canadian, I am very proud of my country and when I hear my anthem played, I want it to be played well, and loudly. I want it to sound great, to be taken seriously and to give a proud representation of the country it comes from. The anthem played at this game did not make me feel proud of my Canadian citizenship. I was a little offended that our anthem should take such a back seat to the American anthem, especially when representing a team (and a school) with such a great percentage of Canadian players.
Now, some people may say that I am over thinking this or overreacting, and maybe that’s true, but I know for a fact that if the American anthem had been played in such a pathetic manner and the Canadian anthem sounded disproportionally awesome, you Americans would never stand for it. Many people would complain and change would be immediate. Why the double standard?
As Canadians living in this country, we are already the subjects of jokes and ignorance. I can take the igloo and polar bear jokes, the fact that hardly anyone could locate Saskatoon on a map, and even the jokes about our Thanksgiving holiday not having a point, but our national song? Is nothing sacred? At least afford our anthem the respect it deserves. It may seem like a small gesture, but it’s the thought that counts.
I am not here to point fingers at anyone, or play the blame game. I just know that my national pride came away from that game a bit bruised, and I wasn’t even playing. If we Canadians have to be deafened by the “Land of the free and the home of the brave,” at least let us be able to hear our own song as well.
“O Canada, True North Strong and Free!”