1 Minute 35 Seconds, Give or Take

Seattle Reign versus Sky Blue:

It is amazing how much takes place during the national anthem at a soccer match. Some woman I cannot see bellows out the patriotic tune as the sound system creates a doppler like effect as if this singer was moving father and farther away from me. As if around the time the rockets gave off their red glare the sound guys felt as if that was really quite enough, we had gotten all we needed to hear of that song. We do know how it all ends they think as they delicately turn the singer’s microphone down.

Somewhere among the C notes people begin to shuffle their feet, first to get comfortable and then because they wonder if they should have not folded their hands behind their backs. Or should they have gallantly placed their hand over their heart and not have it hang down by their side limp and lacking a purpose. But maybe I do not feel that patriotic today. Or maybe my elbows hurt or I don’t like the tune, or I do not enjoy the antiquated song about men who were not fighting for others, but fighting for their rights and opinions alone. Or maybe I am just cynical.

And then a bird sails overhead, curving, shadow casting on the pitch. Heads jerk abruptly back watching; tracking the seagulls’ circular arch over us. We hear a gasp from someone in the back and to the left. The man behind me yawns, long and deep. As long as the average 7 second long yawn can be. The sun is bright in our eyes on this side of the stadium, people use their free hand to slide sunglasses over their eyes. Then I hear concessions rustle. And I wonder where our tradition of hot dogs on the fourth of July came from. I contemplate hurtling over the barrier and charging onto the field for no real reason other than that is what came into my mind. But then realize I am not fit enough to hurtle over anything, much less run.  The woman next to me scratches her neck and then I scratch mine. I look back up at the birds trying to not make it obvious that I have stopped listening to the song. They soar above, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

And then the song ends with a muffle on the speaker. People clear the field. We sit down and try to get comfortable on our benches. And suddenly nobody cares about patriotism anymore, or about the important questions, or how so much can happen in such a short amount of time. Yet, I know I have missed so much. So much meaningless, elegant, observable life.

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