Feature Writer Terri Winaught – An Anthem and an Honor

Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on December 14, 2012? I sure do. During much of the day, I was riveted to the TV and horrified by the senseless tragedy of young lives lost in Newtown, Connecticut. Bleak though that December day was, one good thing happened that day.

As an avid Pittsburgh Pirates fan–despite their losing seasons since 1993–I was delighted to attend Pirate Fest that evening. While there, one of the many activities in which I participated was auditioning to sing the National Anthem during the 2013 season. As I walked purposefully toward the stage–cane in my right hand and my left hand resting gently on my husband’s arm–I felt nervousness greeting me like an unwelcome guest I was trying to avoid. Imagine my surprise, then, when I passed my audition and was told that I would sing the National Anthem at the April 15, 2013 game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Saint Louis Cardinals. I felt honored and humbled. I felt blest and uplifted.

April 15, 2013 accompanied me to errands, work, and the game with a chill I wasn’t quite expecting. As I stood waiting to sing, my heart was both heavy and happy–heavy because I had recently heard about the explosions at the Boston Marathon and happy because I was looking forward to proclaiming my pride in America despite her imperfections by using a God-given gift. After a moment of silence to acknowledge those killed and injured at the Marathon, I began to sing, surrounded by a hushed crowd and a beautiful cityscape. The more I sang, the butterflies of nervous anticipation were released from my stomach and I felt only the immersion in doing something I loved. The applause and cheers which followed my rendition of the National
Anthem were heartwarming and overwhelming. I was also repeatedly deeply touched by the people who stopped me to extend their congratulations–even the Pirates President, Frank Coonelly.

The Pirates played terribly that night: in fact, they lost to Saint Louis by a score of 10 to 6. What I will remember instead about that night though is the warmth of being appreciated and the opportunity to give a gift.

Have any of you ever sung the National Anthem or your country’s anthem at a sporting event? Tell us about it in Reader’s Forum.

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