Should national anthems be played at robotics events?


[Playing the US National Anthem at sporting events] really is one one those things that scholars call invented tradition. Sports is kind of bloodless warfare. These are our gladiators. Back in the day during World War II, it wasn’t just sporting events, it was theater performances, movies, civic gatherings. Sometimes at restaurants, people would spontaneously burst out singing the Anthem.
Marc Ferris, author of Star-Spangled Banner: The Unlikely Story of America’s National Anthem


I question why we’re playing the national anthem at sporting events in our country. I think it puts people in awkward positions. We don’t use the national anthem in movie theaters, on Broadway, other events in the United States. I don’t think it’s appropriate to have a national anthem before a baseball game, an MLS game.
Bruce Arena, US pro soccer coach and member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame


Especially in the context of the proposed one-day events for 2021, opening and closing ceremonies (including the national anthem) are a drag on the overall FRC event schedule and should be minimized.
– Nate Laverdure


If robotics wants to maintain itself as a “sport of the mind,” we must emulate what is done at normal sporting events. Currently, FRC is a representation of the brightest minds of each country that participates in it, and should thus represent said countries in return. In America, at least, sports is held in a high regard and is one of the most dominant parts of Americana. For this reason, the national anthem is played at sporting events. If FRC wants to continue to be viewed as a “sport of the mind,” we should continue play national anthems at robotics competitions as well.

Also, since national anthems are already played at robotics competitions, removing them could be extremely offensive to the nation that the event is in, as it might be seen as a forsaking of said nation. In this instance, the status quo ought to be maintained.

EDIT: Also I’d like to point out that the second quote, from a soccer coach, makes more sense coming from him given the context of the quote, as soccer is not nearly as much of an American sport as Baseball, Basketball, or Football, as it is more European and Latin American.


The main reason I don’t mind the anthem in FRC events is because we play the anthems of every country in attendance at regionals. This is a cool way to recognize international presence.

Otherwise, I think it’s kind of strange and out of place.


If you don’t take their presence at sporting events as a given, it seems a very silly thing to do. “Let’s play some hockey, but first we’ll play a song about the country we happen to be in and look at a flag.”


“Since the US has it’s roots in slavery, abolition was extremely offensive to the nation”

See how ridiculous that sounds? Regardless of whether you think the US national anthem should be played at US events or not, the argument that the sole act of removing it would be inherently offensive is… odd. You can argue that not playing the US national anthem is offensive, fine, but not that it shouldn’t be removed because we’ve always done it.


Cutting down the opening ceremonies would be nice to squeeze in an extra match per team, or for a few more minutes of time in the pits. I’d be in favor of this from a pure competition experience standpoint.


We get Turkish teams in California pretty often, and I’m pretty into the Turkish national anthem. So, I’m cool with only doing the national anthem when foreign teams are present, or just subbing in the Turkish anthem in general.


National anthems, even in İstanbul where we end up playing 6 or 7 over the three day event, do not take up enough time to get in an extra match per team. They take time, but not that much.


Also, generally, I think they’re a fun way to celebrate the various cultures present at the event. I know my teams have always loved being able to get up and sing their anthem when visiting events abroad, and the teams who visit İstanbul mostly seem to enjoy singing their anthems in front of everyone. Sometimes they dress up in awesome national attire to do so - for me, it’s a fun cultural exchange. :slight_smile:


National Anthems are a positive reflection of a nation. Slavery is not. Do you see the difference? In America’s case, removing the anthem from events would be unamerican, whereas the abolition of slavery is heralded as very American as it holds up the “freedom for all” points of the Constitution.


My argument was that “we’ve always done it that way” isn’t a justification for doing something.


So is denying the rights of others, but we seem to be great at doing that.


Yikes, one of the more worse takes I’ve seen today. People are free to not participate in the anthem, you know. That does not mean that it should not be eliminated from events.


“We’ve always done it this way and it would be un-american to stop playing it” isn’t a good justification for keeping it lol.

That being said, I’m in favor of keeping it, since in keeping with sporting events it’s a sign of respect to the nation that provides the infrastructure and society that enables this to take place, and it’s a symbol of the common thread that brings most of the competitors together, but admittedly that’s very much an abstract patriotic argument, though I don’t think you’ll ever get a purely logical argument for why we do a lot of things.


I don’t just mean the national anthem, I mean the whole 30 minutes to an hour (depending on the number of speeches from political/corporate overlords) of opening ceremonies. A lot of it could be handled as announcements over email or as prerecorded videos during lunch or field timeouts.


At least where I am, lunch time is lunch time, time-outs are dance time, and the speeches are mostly like alumni and sponsors, and we get really positive feedback from a lot of our speeches. :slight_smile: I dunno - in the three-day event system I think Opening ceremonies is very valuable - all of it. But maybe that’s just me.


If there is a season in 2021, it is extremely likely that there will be no opening ceremonies as that is when the stands are usually the most packed with people (along with awards). No possibility for social distancing during then.

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If there’s no opening ceremony what will overzealous volunteers in the pit yell at kids about?


I imagine some of us would have more positive event surveys and less NMIRs to be ignored. Sounds like a win win.


Honest question here: are they playing the National Anthem at baseball games this year given that the stadiums are empty and it is only the players? I don’t have any interest in watching baseball so I have not watched any of the games so I don’t know.

I would be in favor of a virtual opening ceremony for 2021 where the sponsor speeches were video taped and played on a livestream just before or after the virtual driver’s meeting zoom call. Playing the national anthem during a virtual opening ceremony seems a little strange. But then again, they used to play the national anthem on television at the end of the broadcast day.