I was seated in the bleachers at a high school football field. I was there by myself. Over my left shoulder I exchanged a few remarks with the guy seated about three empty rows behind me. From the P.A. system a metallic man’s voice announced that it was time for the school fight song. The sparse crowd fell silent. No one stood; no one sang. No band played. I sang:
Hail to thee the blue gold and white
Warriors loyal we’ll cheer you ever onward
Fight team win team vict’ry proclaim
Maine West Warriors that’s our cry
Yay rah for Maine West High
I sang the song all the way through, remaining in my seat, facing the empty playing field, loudly enough to be heard, more or less in tune but without much inflection. No one sang the school’s own song; no one booed, or cheered me on, or made wisecracks. When I’d finished, the group of high school boys seated just to my right wondered how long the school was going to let this go on before doing something about it. I turned toward them; they didn’t turn toward me. I faced the field again, waiting for something to happen.