Commentary: Show up for the national anthem or forfeit the game

Well, the fall sports season came to an official close Friday for all UCBAC teams, as Perryville's return trip to the state title game was derailed by a hungry New Town Titans team.

It was a good game, with both teams playing a clean style of football. Sure, there were a number of holding penalties and such, but a fairly played game throughout.

That said, there was a slight problem before the game ever got started.

Now, this isn't the first game I have covered in Perryville so before each game gets started, a few things happen. Sometimes there is a spot for honoring a person or two, but the one thing that occurs is the Perryville football team makes its way back into the locker room. I understand the move and really am not offended by it.

Friday, however, there was an added problem for me and I can't let it go.

With Perryville still in the locker room and New Town finished its pre-game workout, the Panthers band performed "The Star Spangled Banner." Yes, you read that right. Perryville still in the locker room. I don't know if the band was told it had to play it then or if it was just a arbitrary decision by someone at the school.

Regardless of why, shameful at best.

After the anthem, I immediately started heckling my Cecil County sports writing associates. I jokingly said, "Only in Cecil County can you find the host team of a state level playoff game still in the locker room when the national anthem is played."

I truly was joking about the Cecil County point, but I'm totally serious about the team missing the anthem. I also told them that I was going to get a spot on ESPN's weekly Monday Night Football "C'Mon Man" segment and let 'em have it. I guess this column will have to do.

The other thing I didn't get was who officiated the game. The officials were from the Northeastern Maryland Officials Association (NEMOA). If you're not familiar with them, they're the officials who handle the games every week right here in Harford County.

Now, let me be clear. I'm not suggesting the officials who worked Friday night's game did a bad job. Sure there were bunches of flags at times, but the game was called fairly and honestly from where I stood.

I just wonder why the state put NEMOA in there when Perryville has this same association of officials any time the Panthers play in Harford County during the 10-week season. As part of the UCBAC and depending on the schedule, that could be as many as five times in a season.

Anyway, the season, like I said, is over and all that's left for us here is to get our All-Harford selections in the upcoming papers, starting Wednesday. Field hockey is on the next page. Trust me, take a look.

OK, moving away from the local pigskin to the professionals. It's round two for the Steelers-Ravens match, and man, I'm not feeling real good about it. The Steelers are still beat up, they don't play well on the road and the Ravens just find ways to win.

So, I'm not giving up hope fellow Steelers fans, just being realistic. To all, enjoy the game and be safe.

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