Patriots everywhere rejoiced after watching the U.S. men’s national junior hockey team sing “The Star Spangled Banner” following their victory over Sweden on Friday.
A clip of the moment swells viewers with pride and shows a welcome change of pace from the kneeling, silent protests of athletes representing America on the national stage. The U-20 team defeated Sweden 6-2 to capture their sixth 2024 International Ice Hockey Federation world junior hockey championship.
“The guys played excellent today,” head coach David Carle told USA Hockey. “It’s a joy for them.
“They focused on getting to this game and playing their best for the last game of the tournament and I thought they did that. It’s a great honor to be a part of a winning team.”
The hard-fought battle, which included fistfights toward the end of the match, ended with Team USA arm-in-arm, proudly singing the national anthem.
Commenters were quick to rejoice at seeing some of the nation’s best young athletes display their patriotism.
Love it 🇺🇲🇺🇲🇺🇲
— Joshua Robinson (@JRobFreedom) January 6, 2024
Nothing better than celebrating victory with your teammates and loving your country
— Meta Prime 👾 (@MetaPrime001) January 7, 2024
Amazing. You can feel their joy by watching them sing.
— Josh Twirl (@JoshTwirl) January 7, 2024
Others took the opportunity to make a crack about Megan Rapinoe, the retired U.S. women’s national soccer star who frequently criticized former President Donald Trump, encouraged biological men to compete in women’s sports, and said representing the USA on the national stage was the “worst job in the world.”
No purple hair either.
— Cynical Publius (@CynicalPublius) January 6, 2024
“And this is why nobody cares about that 🇺🇸 soccer player anymore. Wait… what’s her name again?” asked another.
And this is why nobody cares about that 🇺🇸 soccer player anymore.
Wait… what’s her name again? 🤔
— SeldenGADawgs (@SeldenGADawgs) January 6, 2024
In the years since Black Lives Matter protests roiled the country and provoked a global dialogue on the treatment of Black citizens, sports fans in the U.S. are finally starting to push back. The NFL has seen stadiums full of fans boo singers of the Black National Anthem alongside the Star Spangled Banner, and former quarterback Colin Kaepernick still hasn’t been hired by a franchise cautious of provoking the ire of fans upset with his kneeling during the national anthem.
The rebirth of patriotism in American sports has given rise to a new generation of athletic celebrities like Riley Gaines, a decorated swimmer who has gained fame following her collegiate career for discouraging the allowance of transgender athletes in women’s sports.