CHICAGO – After 10 years here, this slow learner has picked up on a few trends.
One: Almost every suburb within 75 miles of Soldier Field seems to contain the word Oak, Park, River, Forest, Lake, or some combination.
Two: Traffic updates are defined by travel times, not average miles per hour. This was a relatively easy concept to figure out, especially after I learned first-hand that no driver possibly could average 60 mph from O’Hare to downtown.
Three: Sports fans in this city love to sing.
As a press box dweller, which more or less is the modern version of a cave dweller, I’m reminded of the singing sports fans all of the time.
“Bear down, Chicago Bears…”
“Go, Cubs, go…”
“Go, go, go, go, Whiiiite Sox…”
“Da, da-da-da, da-da-da…”
Throw in the first few notes of the Bulls’ pregame introduction music, courtesy of the Alan Parsons Project, and every big-time team in town has some sort of anthem.
It makes sense to weave sports and songs together.
Why not? You sing when you’re happy. You’re happy when you’re at sporting events.
After all, you’re not at work. You’re not sitting in traffic. Your attire probably includes comfortable pants, a comfortable shirt and globs of nacho cheese on both.
While tens of thousands sing in stadiums, others can sing along at home.
It seems as though football’s answer to the seventh-inning stretch has become the pregame anthem. No matter the night, no matter the network, you can count on somebody screaming at you during an up-tempo song to kick off the broadcast.
A national survey that was conducted this month by iHeartRadio asked listeners to rank their favorite football theme songs. It’s tough to argue with the survey results, which included answers from more than 1,000 people.
Hank Williams Jr., “All My Rowdy Friends Are Here on Monday Night”
(ESPN Monday Night Football, 1989-2011)
Carrie Underwood, “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night”
(NBC’s Sunday Night Football, 2013)
Pink, “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night”
(NBC’s Sunday Night Football, 2006)
Faith Hill, “Waiting All Day for Sunday Night”
(NBC’s Sunday Night Football, 2007-12)
Johnny Pearson, “Heavy Action”
(ESPN Monday Night Football, 2011-present)
Priyanka Chopra, “In My City”
(NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football, 2012-present)
As it turns out, Williams Jr. is a buffoon, but it’s impossible to argue with his anthem leading the way. As a middle-school and high-school student, any time I heard Williams open the Monday night broadcast with “Are you ready for some football?” my answer was yes. I also was ready to close my textbooks, for better or worse.
The Sunday night anthem is fine, although it would be better if each new singer debuted a new song. Also, is it bad that I have no recollection of Pink’s brief tenure as the Sunday night singer? And why didn’t she go with “Get the Party Started”?
As for “Heavy Action,” that sounds like a film genre featuring portly actors.
Not surprisingly, Thursday’s anthem finished tied for last. Everything about Thursday night football is unsatisfying, including Chopra’s generic song that might feature the skyline of Chicago one week and Jacksonville the next.
But sports fans love to sing, so maybe it’s time to seek more prime-time games.
So, fine, let’s bring on Tuesday night football. Throw in Wednesday while we’re at it. And why leave Friday nights to high school teams?
New nights. New songs.
• Shaw Media sports columnist Tom Musick can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @tcmusick.