The National Anthem, DC-style

17 Dec

Get that smirk off your face Ovechkin, "O" doesn't really stand for you. © dbking

Recently I went to a Caps game with a friend who had just moved to DC. During the National Anthem we of course stood and faced the electronic American flag. So there we were, singing along like good patriots, when everyone shouted “… and the rockets’ RED glare” and then “O! say does that star-spangled banner yet wave…” she turned and looked at me like the people in the arena had all simultaneously lost their minds. Back story:

I grew up in Maryland, and for as long as I can remember everyone has shouted “O!” during the anthem—“O” as in Baltimore Orioles. You’ll hear it at all kinds of sporting events. Now shouting “red” is a different story. Some Caps fans didn’t feel that it was right for “O!” to be shouted during the anthem at hockey games since the Orioles are a Maryland team (and DC has the Nationals). So about a year ago people started shouting “red”—as in the team color of the Caps. Shouting “O!” never went away, BUT now to make themselves feel better, some fans say that it stands for Ovechkin (as in the star player for the Caps) and not the Orioles. Shouting “red” hasn’t yet permeated all sports games like “O” has, but it’s still a new tradition, so that could change.

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