Friday, 20 March 2009

UnderRated: Harnessing the Passion

Anyone who has ever sat in the stands at an international sporting occasion cannot fail to be moved by the rendition of the National Anthem and admire the fervour of the teams stretched out below them.

For all that ours is a royalist dirge, the crowd still seem to be able to inject huge amounts of patriotism into it. When you see the medal ceremonies at the Olympics and watch sportsmen tearfully celebrate the hoisting of their country's flag to the accompaniment of their anthem, it is impossible not to share their emotion.

Of course, part of me has the joy of being Welsh. No, I don't know the words but the passionate nationalism of the crowd in its execution sweeps you up and along with them. Whatever your sporting allegiance, I defy you to watch the singing prior to the match against Ireland tomorrow, the last match of the Championship, without feeling the enormity of the flag-waving ardor... especially as this is such a crunch match, with either victorious team coming away with the Triple Crown for having beaten the other home nations and, for Ireland, the possibility of the Grand Slam.

Then there's Le Marseillaise, a feisty left-over from the Revolution, sung with such gusto by our Gallic cousins.

And the Italian song, enthusiastic, spritely and uplifting.

The Flower of Scotland - who chose that instead of Scotland the Brave - but the crowds do seem to love it... and they know all the words so can be trusted to sing the second verse a capelo.

But the King of the anthems has to be the New Zealand Haka, guaranteed to instill fear into the hearts of the opposition - except when they played the French and Sebastien Chabal wasn't having a bean of it. Instead of remaining a respectful distance away from the performance, he and his team took up a position that moved ever closer to the challenging Kiwis. Their body language showing the contempt with which they viewed this peacock behaviour.




Hu said...

You watching the match tomorrow Cake? My mum's Welsh and I grew up there so I was brought up to support the correct team (although my English dad disagrees!) Alun Wyn Jones always makes me smile when they sing the anthem, he gives it everything he's got! I love to hear the French anthem too, it's such a rousing tune. In contract, I think the English (British?) anthem sounds like a funeral dirge and I'm with Billy Connelly on it ;)

Gorilla Bananas said...

It's the "chantorion-enwogion" line that gets me every time. Such moving words!

having my cake said...

Hu - I shall indeed be watching, enthusiastically supporting my Welshmen to the end. Loving that Billy Connolly sketch.

Mr Bananas - LMAO. Who was that Conservative minister who tried to sing along that time at the Welsh Assembly and made such a twit of himself?

CHEF TROLL said...

I like Waltzing Matilda.

Riff Dog said...

These are great! I especially loved that last one. That little dance is cool! I was sure a fight was going to break out.

Isabella Snow said...

The French National Anthem is one the only things I still remember from French class!

Hu said...

What a close match! In the end, if Wales couldn't win the Championship I was content to see Ireland get the Grand Slam. Afet all, if they only win it every 68 years, you can hardly grudge them it :D

Brian said...

I watched the match in a pub here in Vancouver. Needless to say the place went mental at the whistle. Great day. 61 years is a long time to be waiting for another slam. Very close nervous game.

As for anthems I always admired the passion in the old Soviet one. Apologies for the communist propaganda video, just close your eyes! If I remember correctly, when the USSR broke up and they had a new anthem the people hated and they switched back to the old one but with more sensible lyrics.

As for standing up to the Haka Ireland were I think the first to do it. (alas we got stuffed in the end)
Wales also did a great face down in the November tests.