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Ben E. Kessler

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Local Pro Sports Should Showcase Local Music

Posted: 10/19/11 07:22 PM ET

I must admit, I am part of that population that looks down its nose at those outside the District. I am young and, thankfully, do not have to concern myself with the price of a single-family home or the quality of local public schools. I sit back and judge those that take arduous journeys on the metro to Verizon Center, complain vocally to no one at all as I sit in traffic on my way to FedEx Field, and even question under my breath as to why there are never any D.C. teams represented during "Mites on Ice." That's right. I am that irrationally passionate about this issue. I could easily write twice the length of the paragraphs below on the merits of a local tax on events at Verizon Center, but I question how such a suggestion would impact my safety and general well-being.

An owner of a team is certainly within his or her rights to do with the franchise what he or she chooses. With any luck, greater profits will result in an owner's desire to invest money back into the team. So by all means, expand that fan base! Advertise throughout the mid-Atlantic, play preseason games in Baltimore, and hold player appearances in malls and fast food restaurants in cities and towns in Maryland and Virginia unknown to most of mankind. There's a line to be drawn, however. That line, Mr. Leonsis, should keep us from seeing the head coach of the Ravens appearing on the scoreboard.

So what's the difference between meaningful and pandering? Your images of the monuments, Capitol, and White House are nice and all. And I'll even admit to getting a charge when being reminded that the Wizards represent "the most powerful city in the world." Don't get me wrong, I love both equally, but there's more to us than big buildings and big government.

Most venture to say that most, if not all, actions taken by team ownership have revenue raising at the core. I don't disagree, but I don't necessarily mind either. Change the team's colors and wear throwback uniforms. I'll be among the first to buy new gear. But how about something that doesn't necessarily line your pockets?

If you've attended a D.C.-area sporting event with me in recent years, you've heard a familiar refrain a number of times. You might even hear it multiple times during the same game, period, inning, or quarter. Our teams need to play more music born of our city: both past and present.

I am not in favor of eliminating all generic arena rock and hip-hop from sporting events. Where would the University of Maryland be without Gary Glitter? And I'm not willing to give up my memories of Sean Taylor walking it out with his teammates. So how about a compromise? It's worked in the past as "Waiting Room" used to rile up the crowd, and a go-go beat from the Redskins Marching Band still does. We've seen local musicians have the opportunity to sing the National Anthem and perform during halftime. It seems easy enough, and it may even be met with fan approval, or at least from those who don't have to hear me talking about it anymore.