The national anthem means different things to different people.
For a group of Mountain View High School football players, it’s more than just a song, and this became clear at a recent game against South Salem.
“Once we started warming up, we went back into the locker room after we were done, and actually while we were in in the locker room they started playing the national anthem and we weren’t out there, and I don’t even know if South Salem was out there,” said Mountain View senior Cameron Smith.
The players missed the Star-Spangled Banner, an important moment of the pre-game ritual, and their disappointment was obvious to head football coach Brian Crum.
“I just said ‘hey guys, the flags down there’ and I turned around, a minute later they were standing on the line with their hands over their hearts,” Crum said.
“We just started singing the national anthem because we thought we just wanted to support our country, you know,” Smith said.
Five seniors decided to sing on their own.
“It was kind of just a collective thing, we weren’t sure if anyone else would join in,” Smith added.
“It’s always been important to our kids, you know,” Crum said. “There have been a couple times in the past ten years, where for whatever reason we missed the national anthem and they get upset. I think it is a part of pre-game for them, a part of them getting ready, but it is also a chance to honor their country.
“I thought it was cool, I thought it was a neat way for them to do their own thing and take some ownership of a situation. They weren’t flustered by it, they weren’t upset, but they took that moment and made it their own, which I thought was cool.”
These young athletes did what they felt was right.
“I feel like to us it is more than just a song,” Smith said. “To me it is kind of like, it’s bigger than us, that is what I always feel like before the game.”