Monday, March 16, 2009

Chuck the Writer Crosses #87 Off Life List

So here's the story. Last Saturday I drive up to Barre VT, home of the Vermont Frost Heaves of the Premier Basketball League. The plan was to get action shots of the Frost Heaves as they try to secure a wild card berth in the PBL, as well as get photographs of the new Montreal franchise that replaced the Montreal Sasquat'ch midway through the season.

Originally I would have gotten nice photos of Team Montreal at their home court, but since they weren't playing at Centre Pierre-Charbonneau any more, and the teams who visited Ecole Lucien-Page found the court unsuitable for a pro game, Team Montreal have become the league's "Travel Team," which meant that their home game against Vermont was changed to a road game in Vermont against the Frost Heaves.

So I'm getting set up, photographing the new Montreal players for their head shots, and I walk down one of the stairwells in the Barre Municipal Auditorium, and I overhear one of the Frost Heaves' directors of operations trying to get a hold of the person who was scheduled to sing the national anthem, and having no luck in doing so.

Now your man Chuck has sat through enough American Hockey League games in his life to know what the Canadian National Anthem sounds like. And I've survived ear-puncturing performances by Carl Lewis and Roseanne Arnold and others, to know what not to do with the American national anthem. I stepped to the plate and volunteered to do the anthems.

After he quickly checked to make sure I knew the words to both anthems (which I did, albeit the English version of the Canadian anthem), I was pressed into service. And at 4:15 p.m., I took the basketball court, and sang O Canada. I then turned, faced the American flag, and sang The Star Spangled Banner. The acoustics at the Barre Municipal Auditorium meant that I was hearing a half-second echo from what I was singing - which could have turned my performance of either anthem into a retro Max Headroom stutter. But I quickly covered one ear with my hand (similar to what Gary Owens used to do on Laugh-in) and finished the anthem without any trouble. Although those high notes were a prayer...

So I can now say that yes, I sang the National Anthem - two of 'em actually - at a professional sporting event. I can also say that I'm glad that no video footage exists of my performance. Ha ha ha!

There was, however, photographic evidence of my work... as you can see above.

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