Should England ditch ‘God Save the Queen’?

first_imgLatin passion: The Italian anthem is a rousing, fizzing numberSages have always said the Millennium Stadium aura is worth a few points, but the rendition of “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” in March 2013 hit a new level in terms of volume and feeling. Chris Robshaw’s intrepid charges shrunk into themselves, instilled with crippling doubt. A 30-3 defeat had a horrible air of inevitability about it from the first note.Similarly, “Flower of Scotland” is a spiky leveler. “La Marseillaise” has stung even the most soporific French outfit into action. “Fratelli d’Italia” is bouncy enough to bring a swell of noise to opening exchanges in Rome.Interestingly, the reason for England’s Commonwealth change before Delhi was a simple online poll. “Jerusalem” topped it with 52 per cent. “Land of Hope and Glory” registered 32 per cent, “God Save the Queen” just 12. Those first two are certainly exuberant, emotive pieces and could become a weapon if close on 80,000 voices belt them out. With a home World Cup around the corner, every advantage should be seized.Having said all that, it’s unlikely the status quo will be altered. Prince Harry is a tireless, affable ambassador for the sport’s governing body in this country and the RFU is making strides anyway.The “God Save the Queen” prior to England’s clashes against Ireland and Wales in the recent Six Nations were both extremely loud and foreshadowed fabulous atmospheres. From last season, official singer Laura Wright has swelled anticipation by singing “Jerusalem” about five minutes before the players have entered the fray. We do multi-sport events quite well in this part of the world, as it turns out. Yes, Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games is doing a grand job of producing the same giddy euphoria that consumed London two summers ago. From Scottish judoka Euan Burton to retiring gymnast Frankie Jones via Australia’s para-swimmer Maddison Elliott, a plethora of varied personalities has absorbed spectators.With Rod Stewart setting a gravelly tone at the opening ceremony, music is also proving a prominent part of proceedings. And not just because Anthony Bayne-Charles – son of 1980s R and B star Billy Ocean, no less – was in the Barbados sevens side.Among the crowds, Neil Diamond ditty Sweet Caroline is the overwhelming track of choice. However, I’m more interested in what the athletes – specifically the successful English ones – have been greeted with.Those lucky enough to top the podium have watched St. George’s Cross ascend to an instrumental of “Jerusalem”, William Blake’s poem originally orchestrated by Edward Elgar. That’s been the way since the Delhi Games four years ago. Prior to that, “Land of Hope and Glory” was played – another stirring Elgar tune. Both would be rousing enough to whip up a patriotic fervor as the official anthem prior to England’s rugby union Test matches.So, should the RFU leave behind “God Save the Queen”? I don’t think it counts as treason to ask the question. Besides anything else, Twickenham’s current curtain-raiser is associated with Britain as a whole rather than England individually. But there are more pertinent arguments that bypass political agenda.At any international venue, the anthem is a spectator’s opportunity to assert their influence upon the occasion – a unique, isolated chance to empty the lungs and fill silence with audible support. Every coach in the world preaches the importance of the first tackle, carry or kick in any given game. It’s a similar concept – the anthem is the crowd’s equivalent of that potentially momentum-grasping moment.Skeptics might call it a trivial sideshow. That’s misguided. To borrow a term from cycling, professional sport is a business of marginal gains, psychological and physical. The presence in the England Rugby set-up of sports scientist Matt Parker – a former advisor to Sir Bradley Wiggins – is evidence that Stuart Lancaster agrees.In any case, there are examples of anthems making an impact on England. Remember Croke Park in 2007? The home fans shook the GAA stadium to its foundations with a bloodthirsty pre-match battle cry, creating a tidal wave of Irish passion that swept away Brian Ashton’s charges and drove their side to a 23-3 half-time lead. This is not about accusing players of lacking pride – that would be ridiculous and immensely insulting. Lancaster has done a great deal of work with his current crop on identifying what Englishness means, which has been reflected in a series of honest, industrious performances from the start of 2012. Warriors such as Tom Youngs, Tom Wood and Owen Farrell would brim with whatever anthem was on the agenda. The same is true for just about every England representative before or since, from Brian Moore to Marland Yarde.This is more about the environment. Twickenham may never be as intimidating as Cardiff. But heading towards 2015 and tournament-defining dates with Wales and Australia, there is huge incentive to Anglicise the setting as much as possible. If that requires a change of tune, why not consider it? LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS Wright stuff: Should anthem singer Laura Wright belt out ‘Jerusalem’ as the anthem? last_img read more


Students address urban crowding problem in contest

first_imgEach year in Professor Clark Hansen’s Writing 340 class, Hansen poses a question to his students.Last semester, Hansen gave his 40-odd students the option of working on a semester-long case study he usually assigns or the chance to complete a more difficult case study that held the promise of winning a $1 million prize. The class is part of the writing requirement for the Marshall School of Business, and hundreds of students take the course any given semester.In the Fall 2015 semester, three students took Hansen up on his offer, putting their hats in the ring to compete in the Hult Prize Foundation’s case competition that is taking place in five world cities. Next month, those three students will be flying to Shanghai, China to pitch their sustainable city idea. They are one of 50 teams selected to attend the regional finals for the Hult case competition.The three-student team is made up of Ricardo Galvez, a senior majoring in international relations and global business, Matyou Kohanbash, a senior majoring in policy, planning and development and Phuong Nguyen, a senior majoring in policy, planning and development.“Because it was a required class, I went along with what I had to do,” Nguyen said. “But when given the opportunity to do more, it was like a real chance to make a difference in people’s lives.”The question posed to the team was: “How can you build a business that will double the income of 10 million people and address urban crowding?”Since 2009, the Hult Prize Foundation has been posing global crisis questions to university students. Last year, another USC group was selected to attend the regional finals, according to a Jan. 22, 2015 Daily Trojan article. This year, the winning team will be presented their prize by former U.S. President Bill Clinton.Case competitions are usually associated with business students. Yet, what makes this year’s team from USC unique is that none of the team members are in Marshall. In addition, all of the team members are first-generation college students from immigrant families. Galvez’ family is from Mexico, and he is the first generation from his family born in the U.S. Kohanbash arrived to America with his family from Iran. Nguyen emigrated from Vietnam when she was four.The three team members said their origins have allowed them to approach the question through a diverse lens. The team said they wanted to go to Shanghai to pitch their idea because it was culturally different from the areas the three of them were from.“Our diverse backgrounds really allowed us to have a broad outlook on poverty and suffering in the world,” Nguyen said. “I think that’s why the three of us gravitated toward this project because we want to make a difference on the world in a broad way.”Their idea is still under wraps and will not be revealed until they pitch it in front of the panel of judges in Shanghai.  Yet, the team said this process has revealed many of their personal strengths previously unknown to them. Before getting the news that he and his team had made it to the next round, Galvez said he felt overwhelmed by the talent present in the USC student body and wondered how he would differentiate himself.“This is my opportunity for me to reassure myself to not ever underestimate myself because you never know what could happen as long as you go the extra mile,” Galvez said.Kohanbash echoed Galvez’ sentiments.“You feel like you’re representing your friends and all your past,” Kohanbash said. “You get a chance to prove yourself, your work ethic and your idea as something more than just an idea.”The team leaves for the case competition on March 8. The two-day competition begins on March 11.last_img read more