The Star Spangled Banner

Just sing the damn song.

Don’t “stylize” it.

Don’t “interpret it.”

Don’t change it.

Don’t try to make it yours.

It’s not yours.

It’s ours.

Quit turning the word “brave” into an eight syllable song all its own.

It’s one.

Sing it like you did in elementary school.

It was good enough then, and it’s good enough now.

Before Whitney Houston.

Before any of the caterwalling that passes for our national anthem today.

Which version would you teach an aspiring U.S. citizen?


The elementary school version it is.

In a country where just making it out of high school alive is considered an accomplishment, we are dangerously close to losing what good traditions we have (had).

Start with the Star Spangled Banner.

Shaking hands.

The pandemic put an end to this, the last bastion of civility left in what was the business world.

It’s a little thing, but still…

Greed is still alive in our athletes.

Our high school athletes.

With the advent of NIL, and its financial impact, we now have high school athletes making millions of dollars before they take one college-level snap.

Check out my shorty about a young man faced with his college choice.

The Decision

Trey Williams pried open the front door of his small house, carefully catching the tattered screen door to avoid it from slamming shut.

“Trey? My man!” his father shouted from the den. “How did practice go today? You guys ready for Poly tomorrow?” Trey poked his head into the room as his Dad stood to hug his only son. A big man in his own right, Trey’s father Richard was dwarfed as he was engulfed by his six-foot eight-inch three-hundred-fifty pound “baby boy.” He loved his baby boy more than anything on Earth.

“Dinner will be ready soon Trey. Steak fajitas—your favorite. Go wash up. See you in ten.” Richard turned back to the small audience which was gathering for the occasion. His best friend Cricket and his brother John were the first to arrive. “So LeBron had his Decision, now it’s my boy Trey’s turn.

As I was saying…………..” His Dad was holding court.

Trey dutifully entered his bedroom and saw the new stack of letters piled on top of his pillow. This had become part of the daily routine for the top-rated pass rusher in all of high school football. A laser-timed 4.6 in the 40-yd dash had coaches absolutely drooling to sign him. But he had a routine and he would not waver. Work out. School. Practice. Work out. Homework. Workout. Sleep. All of the hard work, training year-round, avoiding the “fun” things like girlfriends and fast foods, all of it was paying off now as Trey gathered the letters, adding them to the box next to his bed. He had received offers from every major college football program in the country and the new batch made a total of 47 offers. I am truly blessed Trey thought aloud. He also knew he had a major decision to make, one that would affect his life forever. Trey knelt next to his bed and looked heavenward, asking for strength and wisdom in making the right decision for his future.

Then he saw it.

 Peeking out from the corner of the box, tucked behind three or four other letters, the gold lettering immediately drew his attention. This was a new one.

His big hands were trembling as he read aloud  …….After careful consideration of your academic, athletic, and personal accomplishments……the University of Notre Dame would like to offer you a………He dropped the letter.

“Mom! Dad! Come here!”

His parents burst into the room. Their pride and joy sat sobbing on his bed, his hands shaking and his face streaked with tears as he turned to them.

“What’s the matter baby?” His mother approached him first, reaching up to touch his massive shoulder.

“Are you alright son? His father asked.

Trey picked up the letter written in gold and held it out to his parents.

Again his mother observed first “That’s real nice honey. If that is where you want to go I am 100% behind you. I love you very much.” Trey bent over to allow her to kiss his cheek as she stood on her tip-toes.

His Dad read the letter very purposefully, fingering the fine gold calligraphy. His eyes were glued to the words “full football scholarship.”

“I wished you’d have let me arrange for the Rivals camera crew to shoot this Trey. You can really make a name for yourself. So that’s it, then? This is the school? Johnny! Cricket! Come in here. It is time for it. It is time for The Decision.” Richard’s voice boomed through the tiny house.

Soon Trey’s small bedroom was overflowing into the drafty, narrow hallway as coaches, boosters and a couple local sports reporters jockeyed for position. A dozen cell phones were raised. Trey frowned at the small group so hastily assembled by his father. It was really not how he wanted to handle this.

“Quiet,” Richard began as he held up his hand. “Trey is going to make The Decision.”

A hush fell over the group.

Trey stammered as he began. “Th-thanks for coming. I’m not gonna say a lot because I know all but two of you in this house and you all know how I feel about football, my coaches, and my teammates. You also know how much I love my family. I have been blessed to receive almost fifty offers to play football in college. I received an offer about an hour ago in the mail from the University of Notre Dame. You came here for a decision. Other people’s words, not mine. It appears that the decision was made. Not on my part, on the University of Notre Dame’s. They made The Decision to offer me a football scholarship and I’d be a fool to decline.”

Go Irish.


Stay well.

Published by maddogg09

I am an unmotivated genius with an extreme love for anything that moves the emotional needles of our lives.

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