If you have gone to any sporting event, you have heard the national anthem. Either sung by a choir or played by a guitarist, it is there. From the professional league to high school homecoming games, it is there. And with the controversy around players taking a knee during the song, many ask why it is played in the first place. While it seems logical at first, if you think about it, saluting our country before playing every game seems a little excessive. So where did this tradition come from?
It started in the United States entrance into the first World War, where at America’s favorite pastime, baseball, bands started playing patriotic songs, and at game one of the world series in 1918, Cubs vs. Red Socks, the band erupted into the national anthem during the seventh inning stretch. The crowd soon joined in, singing along lively. Due to the popularity of the song, they kept playing it throughout the World Series. This lead to it being played at all major events in the MLB-opening day, national holidays, and the world series. Soon later, the song officially became the national anthem in 1931.
Then the U.S. entered World War II, and with nationalism spreading through the country fast, the song started to be played at the beginning of every baseball game, and with new technology, could be played without a live band. By the time the war was over, the national anthem was a well-known baseball tradition and soon lead to every other major league showing their patriotism before they play.