June 6, 2016
Oh say can you hear? Screwing up national anthems has been around for years
By Michael Lewis
No doubt that screwing up the national anthem for Uruguay was an embarrassing moment for Copa America Centenario officials Sunday night.
If you don't know what transpired in Glendale, Ariz., someone played the Chilean anthem instead of the Uruguayan anthem prior to the Mexico match. El Tri recorded a 3-1 victory in what was considered the best game in the tournament to date.
It wasn't the first time someone has misplayed a national anthem.
Heck I was at two of those matches that involved teams from Italy many years ago.
The first malfunction occurred before AS Roma defeated the Rochester Lancers in a friendly in Rochester, N.Y. on June 27, 1976.
First, the crowd was told to stand for both the Italian and American national anthems. about 10 minutes prematurely. After the Italian anthem was played, confusion reigned. First the Canadian national song was mistakenly played. It took several minutes before the U.S. version could be found and played.
As it turned out, that was merely a warm-up for what happened prior to the Lazio and Lancers match on June 3, 1977, a rather uneventful scoreless draw at Holleder Stadium.
However, what transpired prior to kickoff turned out to be the highlight of the match for 2,665 spectators, many of them Italian. The "wrong" Italian national anthem was played. According to one Italian journalist covering Lazio, the anthem was discontinued after 1952.
While the fans booed for 30 seconds, another Italian writer called the anthem, "fascist."
So, what is the lesson from th, is? Like it or not, there will be national anthem malfunctions in the future no matter how good the technology gets.