Sunday, February 1, 2015

"O say, can you sing?"

The National Anthem.
At this year’s Super Bowl, Idina Menzel performed it beautifully. My favorite Super Bowl performance will always be when Whitney Houston sang with so much power, if you weren’t needed a toe tag!!! 

There have been poor performances of our nation’s inspiring anthem. Some even seemed to me as though they were mockeries. (think Roseanne Barr) And there have been efforts that were very good.

I’ve heard a special needs person sing it. It was exceptional. Not a dry eye in the place. And it was done flawlessly.

When I am in a place where the “Star Spangled Banner” is performed, I immediately honor our nation’s flag by placing my hand over my heart. In my opinion, everyone should give our Stars and Stripes that honor.

The only time I haven’t done that is when I’ve been performing it myself. Know why? Because my hand is usually shaking so I have to hold the microphone with both hands (as my knees applaud my bravery)!

Once I was invited to sing the National Anthem at a UTC Mocs basketball game. That same night, alumni Dominique and Gerald Wilkins, both of whom were playing professionally by that time, were to be honored at the beginning of the game...then I’d sing. I’ve done this sort of thing before, at graduations, local baseball and football games. This shouldn’t be any different.

Then the moment came...
I walked out to center court, microphone in hand. As I stood there, the announcer asked everyone to rise. Suddenly, my mind went blank! B L A N K !!! I couldn’t remember the lyrics to our National Anthem!

My mind was spinning, blood rushed to my head. The only lyrics and melody I could think of was “The Lord’s Prayer.” I could feel panic. Real panic. Was I going to faint?!? I’ve been nervous singing before, but never thought I’d faint! 

Then, as quickly as the lyrics left my mind, the words came as I opened my mouth! I sang “The Star Spangled Banner” without missing one note or word! That was it. When I finished, I walked back, handed over the mic and breathed a sigh of relief.

That long pause...
the one that felt like an eternity. Do you think anyone noticed? Was it obvious that I’d forgotten the words? I asked a friend of mine who was at the game if the long ‘pre-song’ silence was extremely noticeable. He said he just thought I was waiting for the crowd to stand and get quiet.

Yep. That’s it. I was waiting for the crowd. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Remember, if you have a pulse, you have a purpose…so make your life count!