Should national anthems be played at robotics events?

I do believe so. At least on the few games I seen/heard there has been mentions of it but I do not remember it being broadcasted. (Excluding opening day I do remember that one being broadcasted). It was not commonly broadcasted before from what I have seen and I know they are still doing the 7th inning stretch so leaving that in and cutting the anthem(s) would seem weird.

I’m sure this seems self evident to you, but it really seems odd to me. I just can’t come up with a reason why this would be true. Of all the ways I identify with “being American” listening to the Anthem at an event isn’t one of them.


Most places they play the anthems of both teams. Which gives the sport that little bit more competitive edge, since it plays to the ‘my country versus yours’ crowd. Even with the occasional boos.

It’s funny, but in FRC I’ve always seen it not as competitive, but as an acknowledgement of who is at the compeitition, and perhaps even a congratulatory signal that they are there.

I don’t think playing the anthem hurts anything, and since a lot of people enjoy it, I’m all for it.


It’s a piece of current tradition. Why is apple pie “American”? It was around way before America. It may not make a ton of sense, but tradition is tradition. Even if it’s “only” been tradition for 100 years, like the anthem.


Why don’t you consider ‘tradition’ to be a good answer? It’s often a piece of a nation’s cultural identify. And while I agree that bad traditions should be eradicated, I see no reason to stop traditions that don’t hurt anyone.


I’m all for tradition, and agree that it is currently tradition. But none of that makes me feel that it is inherently “American”. Nor does it make me think that removing it is “Unamerican”.


I gotcha. No, I wouldn’t call it American specific either. I wasn’t really looking at the distinction between American and tradition before.

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For us as an International team is like a small celebration for how far we got, and is cool to show the competition is bigger than we usually think it is


Like I said, “it’s tradition” by itself is not a reason for doing something. Traditions are fine, as long as we continuously step back and re-evaluate them. Is this doing any harm? Is there a reason for doing this? Could this alienate someone? I remember liking this line from “Tradition” in Fiddler on the Roof:

“You may ask, how did this tradition start?
I’ll tell you - I don’t know. But it’s a tradition…”

Tevye doesn’t know how their traditions started or what the justification for them was, but he continues to follow along and enforce them anyways. Appeal to tradition is a fallacy. If something is good we should do it. If something is bad we shouldn’t. But @CupOfCocoa’s original argument that “since national anthems are already played at robotics competitions, removing them could be extremely offensive” is flawed.


I’d qualify this slightly: “Appeal to tradition alone is a fallacy”.

The value of tradition is to add a road-bump to change. If a lot of people (presumably at least a few smart ones) have been doing something the same way for a while, before we change it, we ought to analyze what new information we have brought to the table which invalidates the previous assumptions.

More specific to OP’s topic:

I believe it’s important to remind Americans that their country, despite its numerous issues, is still a worth caring about. Yes, definitely work to fix the bad. But also, don’t take the good for granted.

I think things like the national anthem and the pledge of allegiance are reasonable ways to do this… but I’ve also never lived in a country where those things weren’t common place.

To use either of them to bring light to an issue you believe to be important doesn’t inherently mean that you disrespect everything about your country. But it casts a powerful message far beyond the action itself, and that power needs to be used appropriately. That applies regardless of whether you’re a pro or a high schooler.

Theoretical Case study:

We wear hats.

However, during national anthems, we tell our students and mentors to take off their hats. It’s a traditional sign of respect for whatever is going on: A purposeful change of clothing to signal that something important is occurring. A physical action to orient our minds that this moment has a different significance than what we will be doing the rest of the day.

I haven’t had a student refuse to do so yet. If I did, I wouldn’t make a big stink about it right then and there. But it would definitely be the start of a conversation. We’d dig into “Why?”. If there’s a valid reason that the student has, ideally, that would spur further action to the benefit of many people. The action is the start of a vibrant and fruitful conversation.

However, if the best the student can muster is “i dunno i just didn’t want to”… Then we launch into a nice discussion about the meaning of symbolism and action, followed by stricter requirements to ensure said student spends a bit more of their time doing introspection.


Nobody seems to have mentioned it yet, but there’s a definite issue with countries at odds with each other having both anthems played. As an example, tensions between China and Taiwan are high right now, and we get teams from both countries in California events sometimes. Playing both anthems is somewhat antagonistic.

China’s imperialist actions shouldn’t be discussed here, but I do think subjecting countries they are aggressive towards to their anthem is a bit much. Especially with all the people angry about kneeling or sitting during anthems, this just creates another avenue for protest and tension.


Cries in Taiwan

IIRC, the Taiwan anthem was not supposed to be played during the Taiwan regional in favour of Chinese Taipei flag anthem


Piping in here.

I don’t think “tradition” is ever a good reason to hold on to something in its own right. If doing something no longer provides value it should be scrapped. Read that how you will, it’s more a general statement to tradition than anything particular to the anthems.

In specific - I would be for scrapping the playing of the anthem before not just frc events but all sporting events. Admittedly this is due in part to my particular feelings that nationalism is a less than great notion that results in perpetuation or harmful behaviors by acting as a barrier for folks to question actions of their country.

I’m not saying “merika bad” or “China bad” but I am saying that the adherence to “America love it or leave it” type attitudes that seems to be making a resurgence as of late bothers me. Take for example the group of folks currently calling the 1619 project “ slander that aids the Chinese Communist Party.” As if teaching history of our country somehow weakens it…

Anywho this is far beyond the scope of this thread and is in fact part of a bigger issue I’m seeing not just in America but across the globe. But this is not the place for that discussion.


I believe this will be more of a political issue rather than tension between teams, since FIRST clearly does not recognise Taiwan as they follow the Olympic standards.

Else aside, I have met with a lot teams from China and in all of my interactions with them they were all friendly. When I bring up I am from Taiwan, there weren’t any problems at all.


Bold of you to assume their will be pits in 2021.


They are playing anthems at NHL games. Haven’t watched any MLB.

But how will I know where I live if I don’t listen to a song while looking at a piece of fabric before reasonably large events?


Here’s a brief history lesson on when and why the national anthem was first played

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Yeah, it’s sad to see that the only way for there to be FRC in China is for FIRST to bow to the CCP and only recognize Taiwan as Chinese Taipei. Hopefully the friendliness you felt from those on Chinese teams will manifest and foster political change in the future so that there will be no more bad blood between the two nations.


Yes, this is a good read. I am glad our country honors our shared sacrifices.

I did have to chuckle when I got to this paragraph:

Rambling on taking a knee and other protest methods

When I was a teenager, I had a variety of much less quiet and respectful reactions to the anthem, due to acute awareness of the bloodshed we were raining down on innocent Iraqis at the time (and continue to in Afghanistan, etc…).

Since then I’ve moderated my approach, as whatever my own emotions and opinions may be - my actions reflect my team and are a model for my students.

As a mentor, this is a case where I value modeling integration into the dominant culture over expression of personal belief. These days I won’t go further than taking a knee when I represent anyone other than myself, as that’s the way that military veterans have indicated is a respectful method of protest that does not devalue their service or our shared sacrifices.

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