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CoachChrisSays: Of Class and Sportsmanship and Singing of the Alma Mater Hymn

CoachChrisSays: Of Class and Sportsmanship and Singing of the Alma Mater Hymn

This season has been different in so far as the after game ritual of singing of the Alma Mater/school hymns as the UAAP board made a ruling that schools hymns will be sung before the teams playing warm up for the game.

According to this season’s UAAP president, Fr. Ermito de Sagon, O.P. of the host University of Santo Tomas this change will bring a semblance of dignity in the singing of the respective member school’s hymn because after every game, everybody especially the players are tired and distracted by many things like interviews, celebrations and emotions every after defeat. He added that the board unanimously voted for this move because most members felt it was the proper way of doing it.

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How does UAAP do the anthem singing now?

As I have observed during live games, the UAAP is doing it FIBA style, the players will parade before their warm-up, line-up on their side of the court with one cheerleader first in line holding the flag of the school. The coliseum announcer will call the attention of the audience and in no particular order announce the singing of the school hymns. Thereafter, the players will proceed to their warm-ups.

Yes, there was a semblance of order for this new practice and seems that the desired result of the UAAP board was achieved. Players and fans just concentrated in the singing of their respected school hymns.

But there is more to it than the semblance of order and these are school spirit, class and sportsmanship- things that are learned in the old practice of singing the school hymns after each game regardless of victory or defeat.

What started this tradition?

As I made my research on this topic, my curiosity lead me to the article written by Mr. Tony Atayde, a proud Lasallian entitled “The Alma Mater Brouhaha” where he traces the beginnings of the tradition of the singing of the Alma Mater hymn after each game. It was said to have been started by La Salle in 1964 alongside the pumping of the fist while singing the school hymn. Mr. Atayde in the said article said that there were no rules on proper decorum on how they should sing it or how other schools should react to it since it was only La Salle that was doing it at that time, and they were first to do such tradition in any collegiate league.

What became of it 52 years after?

Fifty-two years after La Salle started that tradition and amidst the rule change, they are sticking to what they had started. Before the start of the game instead of the Alma Mater Hymn being sang, the Lasallian community will instead chant their classic victory song during their NCAA days and sing the Alma Mater Hymn after the game, win or lose. I understand the point of Mr. Atayde on this matter because it was La Salle who started this tradition and they have the right to continue it. It’s not as if they are above the rules of the UAAP but in my opinion, why take away something that is from them and was just adopted by the other schools and became an adopted practice in the league or in collegiate basketball as a whole?

What does it teach us?

Another point is that the singing of the school hymns after each game exhibits the highest expression of school spirit of the community to their school that win or lose, what is important is the celebration of being a product of a particular school. It teaches the young that whether their team won or lost, what is important is the celebration of the essence of their being a Falcon, Blue Eagle, Archer, Tamaraw, Bulldog, Red Warrior, Growling Tiger, and Fighting Maroon. What is important at the end of the day is the indelible character that each member school leaves into each student that passes through its portals.

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Fr. de Sagon also commented that in singing the school hymns after the game, the hymns are mangled because the people singing it have already coarse voices because all throughout the game they were already cheering and shouting. He also noted that aside from the winner being busy in celebrating, the losing side is not in the mood anymore to sing because of the game’s unfavorable result. But isn’t it teaching us all the value of being magnanimous in victory and being gracious in defeat? It teaches us to be classier regardless of the game’s outcome whether it favors us or not.

This issue may seem so little if we see it from the surface but if we dig deeper, there’s more to when to sing the school hymn because the real game of life where our values like class, respect and sportsmanship, things that we learn when we sing the Alma Mater hymns of our respective schools whether in winning or losing, happy or disappointed, would matter more and begins at the end of the buzzer.

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