A sportswriter tries his hand at singing the national anthem at a baseball game:

“The anthem is designed to humble you. The anthem is designed to ruin your shit if you get too haughty, and that’s a good thing. In fact, it’s ready to challenge you from the very beginning:

O say can you see …

“That ‘see’ is tricky. That’s your first high note, and you have to sustain it for a second. You can tell whether or not an anthem is gonna suck usually by the time the singer has finished with just this line.

By the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed …

“Again, we have another trap. That high note on ‘proudly’ sneaks up on you, forcing you to jump up higher than many people are comfortable with.”