I love the National Anthem.
Not just because I love my country. I love that moment on Friday Nights when the band marches onto the field. The teams run to get in a line and stop for one moment and face our flag.
While we get caught up in the X’s and O’s of youth football, there is something in that moment that connects us all. I have heard the National Anthem played over a loudspeaker, played live with varying degrees of success by High School Bands, sung by talented and not so talented young singers. Once a Lacrosse team had a tradition of singing the National Anthem – As singers, they were all excellent lacrosse players.
One thing you will see in my youth football referee columns is a respect and love for the tradition of the game. The game has a come a long way since you could heave the ball into the end zone and get a touchback. My Uncle told me the most wonderful stories of his time playing and the rules back then. But even with those rule changes, what makes the game great is the connection between what he did in the 1930s and what they do today.
So when people ask me what I loved most about being an active Referee: that is it. I miss that moment of standing on the field. Removing my cap at the first note (my ex-Navy White Hat referee in Maryland would correct anyone in the locker room who removed their hat before the first note). Taking that moment to reflect, breathe in that wonderful scent of freshly cut grass mixed with the evening dew and thinking to myself about those who’ve done it before.