So Why Do We Have The National Anthem Before Sporting Events?

San Francisco 49ers’ backup quarterback Colin Kapernick stirred controversy when he sat during the playing of the national anthem before a National Football League (NFL) pre-season game.  He did it in protest of the way African-Americans are treated by police.  Kapernick, who has fallen out of the limelight in recent years, got the attention back in his protest.  Yesterday, President Obama defended Kapernick’s right for freedom-of-speech.  Regardless of how we feel about what Kapernick did, the President is absolutely right.  Kapernick does have a right to express his feelings and disrespect the national anthem.

True, there are many other things to be concerned about than a benched quarterback refusing to stand for the national anthem.  This gave me another thought about this whole issue.  

Why do we have the National Anthem performed before sporting events anyway?

The tradition can be traced back to when the United States entered into World War I.  Major League Baseball games began having patriotic festivities before the game.  During the seventh-inning stretch of game one of the 1918 World Series between the Cubs and Red Sox, the band played “The Star-Spangled Banner.”  Players faced the centerfield flag pole and stood at attention.  The crowd followed and even sang along.  In 1931, the song was made our national anthem by a congressional resolution and the song continued to be played but only on special occasions like opening day, national holidays and World Series games.

From that point on, major sporting events eventually became one of the places where the general public could sing the national anthem together.  Unfortunately, this is the only time most of us hear the song and have a chance to pay tribute to our country.

We have also seen (and heard) the best and worst renditions of the song from Whitney Houston’s powerful voice to Roseanne Barr’s train wreck.  

It’s probably time to seriously consider not making the singing of the national anthem so routine.  It’s clear that the song has lost its meaning to people.  It’s not for a social statement or tool to bring attention to a washed-up quarterback.  It’s a patriotic song which people like John Legend can’t understand.  Let’s stop singing as a pre-game tradition and return it to something special.  


Team of the Week: Oklahoma Thunder

When I thought about putting this post together for this week, I had hoped it would be our local team in this slot but in the heavyweight semi-pro football of matchups, this game went to the Oklahoma Thunder as they defeated the Nashville Storm, 29-16 in Gridiron Bowl VII played in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday.

To save any confusion, this is NOT the NBA team that plays in Oklahoma City.

Never heard of this Thunder team or the Gridiron Bowl?

The Gridiron Developmental Football League (GDFL) is one of the few stable semi-pro football leagues in the United States.   The GDFL currently has 25 teams and just finished their sixth season with the Gridiron Bowl.

 The Thunder defense dominated the defending champion Nashville Storm, scoring a defensive touchdown in the third quarter and shutting down Nashville’s rushing offense, holding them to 28 yards.  The Thunder also forced four turnovers and sacked the Storm quarterback six times in the game.

With the Thunder leading 15-14 in the third quarter, the Storm blocked a punt and took over possession at the Thunder 7.  Nashville tried two running plays but were unable to gain positive yardage.  The Thunder intercepted a third-down pass to end the threat.  Oklahoma QB Brandon Noohi completed passes of 70 and 20 yards on the ensuing drive.  The drive was capped with a 5-yard run by Josh Birmingham to extend the Thunder lead to 22-14.  

The Thunder won their fifth national title.  Their first since 2013.  The win over Nashville snapped the Storm’s 21-game win streak.

Gridiron Bowl Results:

  • 2010 – Gridiron Bowl I:  Carolina Warriors 15, Kentucky Wolverines 7
  • 2011 – Gridiron Bowl II: Chambersburg Cardinals 19, Oklahoma Thunder 14
  • 2012 – Gridiron Bowl III: Central Penn Piranha 49, South Buffalo Celtics 14
  • 2013 – Gridiron Bowl IV: Oklahoma Thunder 56, Lehigh Valley Storm 8
  • 2014 – Gridiron Bowl V: Central Penn Piranha 21, Oklahoma City Bounty Hunters 19
  • 2015 – Gridiron Bowl VI: Nashville Storm 31, Crescent City Kings 28
  • 2016 – Gridiron Bowl VII: Oklahoma Thunder 29, Nashville Storm 16

Audio/Video Formats:  Thinking Ahead to the Jury

In the old days of VHS tapes and audio cassette tapes we knew what we had and we knew how to play them.  It’s not so easy today with the current digital technology.  For me, it has been an ongoing battle to stress the importance of obtaining audio and video evidence in a standard format but not everyone seems to think it’s important. 

Technology has changed in the way audio and video recordings are captured.  In today’s digital world, audio/video recordings are captured and require various ways to play them back for review.  Receiving audio or video for litigation purposes must be reviewed carefully to ensure that not only we can review it and providing it in discovery to opposing counsel, but also that at some point in the future, we will need a jury to review it in the jury room.  

We need to remind our legal staff about this and ask the question: “How will the jury review this in the jury room when they are deliberating?  Are we going to depend on a juror to know how to play the audio/video recording on a laptop?”

When we had tapes, there wasn’t much thought about this.  If the jurors had a VCR or tape player they could just pop in the tape and press the play button.  It doesn’t always work that easy with formats we get today.  The local police department may provide something in one format while security video footage from a convenience store might be in a different format dictated by the vendor of the security camera.  

Our ability as litigation technology specialists has been made significantly more difficult, if not impossible, when we receive audio or video recordings in a non-standard format that either cannot be played, requires installation of third-party software or executable players on the disc.  Unfortunately we don’t all have the luxury of having a professional recording studio in our office.  That’s why it is vitally important that we have the format for all stages of the litigation process.

We may be tech savvy and can click around to make a third-party software work but what if we are missing an important feature?

When receiving audio or video recordings, there are three things you can do:

  1. Require that the audio or video recording is provided to you in a standard format along with the original recording.  Standard formats would be:  Audio (.wav, .mp3 or .wma) Video (.avi, .mpg, .wmv)
  2. If a standard copy cannot be provided, have the party include instructions or a manual on how to install/operate third-party or proprietary media players.
  3. Ask that non-standard or third-party media players be in a self-contained (i.e. Able to run from a disc or USB drive) without having to download or install software on your computer.

We must be careful with how we handle digital audio and video evidence in litigation.  Unlike the days of tapes, digital formats can be edited with the right software.  We want to be sure that we preserve the quality but we also want to make our attorney staff aware of the issues that could arise later when these formats end up in the hands of the jury.

Georgia High School Football Review: Week 3

Hurricane/Tropical Storm Hermine messed up this week’s schedule of game which caused postponements, cancellations and delays but most of the games were played over the course of the Labor Day weekend.

In the best matchup of the week, Grayson defeated McEachern 16-13.  Grayson’s Will Van Pamelen booted a 20-yard field goal on the final play for the win.

Some interesting games over the weekend:

Georgia teams swept Colorado at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex as part of the KSA Evevnts Football Series in Orlando, Florida.  Tift County defeated Thunder Ridge, Colorado 55-19 and Glynn Academy beat Pomona, Colorado 33-14.  

Blessed Trinity traveled to Dublin, Ireland to play St. Peter’s Prep from New Jersey. Blessed Trinity couldn’t keep up with St. Peter’s after tying the game at 7-7 in the first quarter, they were dominated the rest of the game, losing 41-28.

Camden County was scheduled to play in Lake City, Florida against Columbia County, but the game was cancelled due to the weather and field conditions. 

Tucker 21, Colquitt County 20.  Tucker won in Moultrie to drop the Packers to 0-3.

Madison County 17, Elbert County 15.  Madison County was 1-9 last year but now improves to 2-0 this season with a huge upset of #7 Elbert County.  

Brooks County 35, Clinch County 21.  Brooks County forced four turnovers to build a 28-6 lead going into the fourth quarter.

Cartersville 56, Calhoun 0.  Calhoun has not lost by 50 points since 1980.  Cartersville dominated from start to finish in what many thought would be a heavyweight battle but Cartersville QB Trevor Lawrence was 21-of-32 for 348 arms and three touchdowns.   It should have been called at halftime.

Lowndes 35, Parkview 34.  Parkview rallied from a 35-14 deficit in the fourth quarter but missed the extra point with 2:44 left.  It was the first time the two teams had met since 2004 when the Vikings beat Parkview 17-14 for the state title.

Peach County 20, Warner Robins 19.  In another game plagued by a late extra point, the Demons scored on a touchdown pass with 47 seconds left but the extra point was blocked to preserve the win for Peach County.  Warner Robins now drops to 0-3.

Top Teams in each classification:

  • 7A – Roswell (2-0)
  • 6A – Houston County (3-0)
  • 5A – Buford (1-1)
  • 4A – Cartersville (2-0)
  • 3A – Pace Academy (2-0)
  • 2A – Fitzgerald (1-0)
  • 1A (Public) – Macon County (1-0)
  • 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian (2-0)

Friday Flashback:  2007 Little League World Series

As the Little League World Series concluded last week, there was a local team from Goodlettsville, Tennessee in the tournament.  People here were psyched up about it as you would imagine.  Unfortunately, the Tennessee team came up short to New York in the United States final.   I can understand the hype as I got wrapped up in it in myself in 2007 when the Warner Robins Little League team made it to the championship against Japan.

Japan was the overwhelming favorite in that game but the United States team represented by Warner Robins Little League made it one of the most dramatic endings in Little League World Series history.

Dalton Carriker won the game for the USA with a walk-off home run in the 8th inning (Little League regulation games are 6 innings).  The team went undefeated winning all 12 games on their road to the championship and ended with the 3-2 win over Japan.

Warner Robins pitcher Kendall Scott pitched 5.2 innings, gave up one hit and struck out 10.

Japan scored in the top of the first when Japan’s Yuri Yasuda dropped a triple onto the right field warning track to bring Masaya Ogino home from second base for a 1-0 lead.  In the second inning, Japan loaded the bases when Ogino smacked a hit off of USA pitcher Keaton Allen’s leg and toward the infield dirt which allowed a run to score to extend the lead to 2-0.  The USA team shut down Japan after that and got out of the inning.

With two outs and runners on the corners in the bottom of the second, Allen hit a two-run double off the centerfield wall to tie the score at 2-2.  

Carriker’s dramatic home run came on a 2-1 pitch from Japan’s Junsho Kiuchi in the 8th.   Click here to see it.

Living in Warner Robins at the time, I witnessed the hype first hand and even attended the victory parade.  The success of Warner Robins Little League eventually led to the Southeast Regional Tournament location to be moved to Warner Robins in 2008.

Team of the Week: Philadelphia Soul

The odds were against the Philadelphia Soul in ArenaBowl XXIX against the Arizona Rattlers.

They were playing in Arizona.   They had lost their last two ArenaBowl appearances to the Rattlers.

None of it rattled the Soul.

Soul quarterback Dan Raudabaugh was 20 for 36 for 278 yards and six touchdowns to lead the Soul to their first ArenaBowl title since 2008 beating the Rattlers, 56-42.

The Soul jumped out to a 21-0 lead when Raudabaugh connected with Darius Reynolds for a 16-yard touchdown pass.  Dwayne Hollis returned a fumble 49 yards for a score and Tracy Belton recovered a kickoff in the end zone for another.

In a game where possessions are vital, Arizona had a chance to get back into the game and possibly cut the lead to seven points, but Rattlers’ quarterback Nick Davila’s pass was intercepted in the end zone by James Romain with 48 seconds left.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney has declared today to be “Philadelphia Soul World Champions Day” in Philadelphia with a celebration rally at the City Hall Courtyard.

The Soul are the winningest professional sports team in Philadelphia since 2004.

High School Football Review: Week 2

The defending champs are down.  Now 0-2 after losing to American Heritage, a top-ranked team from Plantation, Florida the Colquitt County Packers are down but not out.  Colquitt County Coach Rush Propst has a way of pulling out the best from his teams after poor starts.  In 2010, they started the season 0-3 and still ended up in the state championship game.  (They finished 9-6 and lost to Brookwood in the title game).  Colquitt County’s next opponent is Tucker (1-1).
Other top Georgia teams didn’t fare well with out-of-state oppponents either.  Camden County lost to Venice from Sarasota, Florida, 46-17.  Georgia’s top ranked team, Grayson, fell to IMG Academy from Bradenton, Florida, 26-7.

Overall, Georgia teams were 6-6.

In other games:

  • Lowndes 69, Bayside, FL 0
  • North Augusta, SC 28, Evans 20
  • Fox Creek, SC 37, Cross Creek 20
  • Minor, AL 54, Central Carrollton 0
  • Callaway 42, Handley, AL 28
  • Dade County 20, North Sand Mtn 7
  • Mt. Zion-Carroll 47, Ranburne, AL 0
  • Lincoln County 41, McCormick, SC 0
  • Chattooga 49, Cedar Bluff, AL 7

Traditional powerhouse teams are facing some uphill battles after the second week.  Perennial Class A Charlton County lost their opener to Brantley County, 32-29.  The win snapped the Indians’ 22-game winning streak over the Herons.

Warner Robins lost to Locust Grove in their first ever meeting, 44-21, in a turnover-plagued game for the Demons.   Warner Robins has been outscored 99-24 in their first two games.  The last time the Demons’ started the season 0-2 was in 2010 when they finished 2-8.  It might not be long before people will wonder about the decision to hire Mike Chastain as their head coach.  Personally, I was shocked that the Demons didn’t promote from within.

In other games:  

Clinch County travelled to Darien and defeated McIntosh County Academy, 32-7.

Villa Rica fell behind LaGrange quickly as the Grangers’ quarterback Amad Ogletree scored on a 40-yard run and Jalen Wilson intercepted a pass and returned it 25 yards for touchdown for a 14-0 lead just five minutes into the game.  LaGrange never let the Wildcats get close for a 28-7 win.

Westside Macon lost their first game to another Bibb County school. Southwest Macon defeated the Seminoles 8-3. Westside opened in 1997.

In the state’s highest scoring game, Griffin edged county rival Spalding, 53-50.  

Here are this week’s top ranked teams:

  • 7A – Roswell (1-0)
  • 6A – Houston County (2-0)
  • 5A – Buford (0-1)
  • 4A – Cartersville (1-0)
  • 3A – Pace Academy (1-0)
  • 2A – Fitzgerald (1-0)
  • 1A (Public) – Clinch County (2-0)
  • 1A (Private) – Eagle’s Landing Christian (2-0)