National unity can be a very elusive concept, even in a country like the United States (just ask anyone at a healthcare reform town hall). Then again, anyone who has ever lived in a war-torn country can tell you that. But there’s nothing like a good sports chant to bring people together. And that is why some countries are working to find a chant all their own.
Most of these chants are indigenous to the sports arena, the popular “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie-Oi, Oi, Oi” arguably being the most prominent memory of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney. Nationalist sports chants have become so popular in Britain that some companies have begun offering them as ringtones. At the University of Mississippi, the school fight song has become a controversial rallying cry for the South. But sometimes a chant is more than just a bunch of loud sports hooligans choreographing their belches.
In Venezuela, soccer fans have actually used their chants to protest the president. And with two larger-than-life sporting events coming in 2010, Canada and the United States, two countries who have somehow survived years of international competition without a proper chant, are in dire search of that special song.
While the United States has managed to do just fine in international competition without a chant, the upcoming World Cup of Soccer has inspired a popular Facebook page whose prime directive is to find a proper U.S. soccer chant. But with their upcoming hosting of the Winter Olympics, Canada is pulling out all the stops to find theirs.
After helping India with their sports chanting needs, Pepsi has come aboard to help Canada come up with a chant in a nationwide competition that will be decided online. With the pressure placed on Canadian athletes to perform well at the upcoming Winter Olympics, this chant could have quite a coming-out party. Considering how sports has a precedent of resolving civil disputes around the globe, sports chants might be the new national anthem.