By now all of you have probably seen the video gone viral from the High Point Rockers’ Opening Day this weekend, featuring what was, even for low-A ball, an absolutely terrible rendition of our National Anthem.
It’s absolutely brutal — more on that in a minute. Suffice it to say this is the one that’s going to knock rapping traffic girl Jennie Stencel, off the list.
But I come to praise High Point Anthem Guy — aka Rockers staffer Chuck Hayworth — not bury him.
Context is important. Hayworth told local news affiliates, who swarmed on the story as fast as they would the waterskiing squirrel, that he was a last-minute replacement for a scheduled singer who didn’t show up, and he apologized for the performance.
So here’s this guy trying to impress his new employees by Being the Man at the last minute. He’s all hyped up anyway, and now, with no rehearsal time, he gets thrust, alone, onto a grass field in front of thousands of people, many of whom he works for. On Opening Day.
This is even more difficult than it sounds.
His first mistake was succumbing to Wanna Be the Man disease, to which we all fall prey at times. Surely someone offered to pull up the lyrics to our National Anthem on their phone for him to reference.
“Nah,” he must have said. “I got this.”
And you can see that bravado in his swag there on the field as he launches into his opening notes, just before things go horribly wrong.
And there’s mistake No. 2: He hit the opening notes too high (That’s why we have rehearsal, people!). “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a deceptively difficult song to vocalize, requiring both range and power, and, of course, the ability to memorize lyrics.
It may not look like it, but this is a fantastic development for High Point baseball.
First, a stadium and team affiliate came together faster than any such deal in the Triad — about two years between the announcement and the first pitch — and garnered enough community support to sway an election.
And now, courtesy of Barstool Sports and an overzealous staffer, the High Point Rockers are a household name.
There really is no such thing as bad press. Sometimes you just have to curl into a ball and repeat that to yourself over and over.