1. In the past, I've only sung for NCAA Division II, which means I sing for teams whose mascot is something like the Flying Squirrels. (I'm kidding; I actually sang for the Argonauts. Not like the Greek adventurers; like the sea shell.) (I had to have this explained to me, too.)
2. For reasons that are still unclear to me, when the NCAA decides who will play where, the general rule of thumb is that the teams must go as far away as possible. So in one instance, I sang for Sonoma Valley (California) and University of West Florida (... from Florida) in the same championships. Which means that the only people who actually come across the country are the parents of the players, and all they want is for me to sing really quickly so they can see their sons play.
3. The gods of sports have decreed that it must either be ninety degrees or thirty-five. There is no in-between. Here, for example, is a picture of me at the last game:
|I'm the girl with the turquoise scarf and the grey coat looking cold and pathetic.|
And 4. The only time I sing at a game big enough to make it on ESPN, they replace me with a Ford commercial! A commercial! For Ford! As in-- trucks! Instead of the National Anthem!
Not that I let it bother me. Not. At. All.
I don't mean to sound so cynical about it. I really love singing the National Anthem for these games, especially since, until recently, I've only sung at baseball games. My mom's family comes from Cardinals-territory, which means my sister and I played baseball growing up. Such happy times! We would hit the ball, then Mom would go run and get it.... Then we'd hit it again, and she'd run get it again...
We really liked baseball.
But recently, I had two opportunities to sing for soccer games for the Atlantic Coast Conference and the NCAA Division I. (Division I!!) There are approximately five to sixty times as many people at these games compared to baseball games. It is so lucrative, in fact, that I am only going to whine about two things. First, the sound system in the soccer stadium has a terrible echo but otherwise good acoustics, so when I sing, you can faintly hear my voice, then you hear the blaring shriek of the microphone a few seconds after.
Also, I don't know anything about soccer. The first game I sang Sunday before last (Clemson versus Louisville) was, quite literally, the first soccer game I had seen in my life.
It was very confusing. So confusing, in fact, that I've decided to compile a list of Soccer Rules according to Allison for your reading convenience and enjoyment. (Also, in addition to graphs, I really like lists.)
They are as follows:
1. It must be either boiling hot or cold and raining heavily. (This seems to apply to most outdoor sports.)
1a. In the aforementioned freezing cold rain, you must have a paperback with you that you will vainly try to protect beneath your coat.
2. The teams playing must have similar colors so you're never entirely sure who is winning or who you're rooting for. This will annoy the die-hard fans next to you.
3. Between the two halves, when we baseball fans start to inquire about the seventh-inning stretch, the goalies will switch sides. For the next few minutes, you'll vainly protest that everyone is running the wrong way and kicking the ball into their own goal before someone explains it to you.
4. Every few minutes, a player will fall down and writhe, sometimes screaming in pain. The audience will shout abuse at him until, as memorably happened once in the game, he pulls up his shorts to reveal a foot-long gash on his thigh, gushing blood. The crowd will grudgingly admit that it is a quality fake.
5. The crowd will not limit their abuse to the other team. From their cozy seats beneath umbrellas, hand warmers pressed into their gloves, they will shout constructive criticism at their own players, particularly if they fall/are trampled/appear to be in pain/aren't running quickly enough
6. If it is cold and raining (see Rule 1), the game will go into double overtime. (This happened.)
Did I still love the game?