Kielce and John Denver’s Legacy Pick up Wins on Sunday

Fans in Kielce, Poland celebrate their impending victory with waving scarves and a rousing chorus of

Fans in Kielce, Poland celebrate their impending victory with waving scarves and a rousing chorus of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” John Denver is surely looking down with a big grin.

A while back I was flipping through channels and the local public station was airing a documentary on singer/songwriter, John Denver.  I thought that I would watch a couple of minutes, but I ended up watching the whole show.  And, in doing so I came to the conclusion that say what you want about the smiling musician with the saccharine music, but he had a crazy number of hit singles in the 1970s.  Belittled by many in his heyday, his music still lives on and sometimes can be heard in the most unlikely places.

Like Kielce, Poland, yesterday as the crowd celebrated a hard fought victory against Champions League foe Szeged with a rousing chorus of “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”  You can see and hear for yourself on ehfTV.com at the 1:23 minute mark of the on demand video.  Wouldn’t surprise me if not a soul in the crowd there has ever set foot in West Virginia, yet you can hear them singing it loud and proud as if it were a West Virginia University football game.  Not that it’s a requirement.  Supposedly, John Denver had never set foot in the state prior to the song being released.  I’ll even admit to doing a solo rendition a time or two when I’d left the pavement for the final stretch of gravel road towards the farm where I grew up in Iowa.

Truth be told, I’m frequently bemused at the American songs that are played in handball arenas around the world.  From the Notre Dame fight song in Kiel, to Sweet Caroline at the European Championship to Country Roads in Kielce.  The U.S. may not make much noise on any actual handball court, but our pop culture can still be heard over the arena sound systems where handball is being played.  Who knows what I’ll hear next…