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FEW pieces of art have ever sparked such intense debate in Slovakia as the anthem of the upcoming hockey world championships.

Goooly, the mascot of the championship, will perhaps learn to sing the anthem too. (Source: TASR)

FEW pieces of art have ever sparked such intense debate in Slovakia as the anthem of the upcoming hockey world championships.

The public is split roughly into three groups – there are those that like ‘Life is a Game’ by Kristína, which will be the event’s official anthem. There are those that would prefer ‘Lord, let him score’, the national team’s song, to be used for the championships as well. And then there are all the others.

The two hockey songs paint two different pictures of the nation’s psyche. ‘Lord, let him score’ is in Slovak, ‘Life is a Game’ is in English. As the name indicates, the first tune seems to draw inspiration from the country’s religious traditions, and puts victory in the hands of divine powers. The other places more emphasis on the role of the individual, although it too leaves room for the supernatural:

“Today is your day.

This is the moment when

you’re touching the sky.

On the top of your wave.

No one can stop you from

flying so high.

This is it, it’s your time.

You’ve got the magic when

your stars are aligned.

Fill the world with

your shine.”

The older song doesn’t forget to mention the hurts of the past, a typical trait of the Slovak mentality:

“How often you stood alone,

How many hits you

had to bear,

How often you were in

the losing zone,

Lived forgotten and

lost somewhere.”

But in contrast to the individualistic Kristína, the chorus clearly emphasises team spirit:

“Lord, let him score, Lord

let him score,

We’ve got it, you can tell,

Lord let him score, Lord

let him score,

That winning goal.

Lord let him score, Lord

let him score,

We play the game so well,

So that never

Will they forget us all.”

So whether you are a modern English-speaking individualist, or a slightly religious collectivist, there is a hockey song that will suit your needs. It’s almost a shame that both can’t have the status of the official anthem. Oh well, as Kristína sings:

“Ey Ey

Life is a game

Ey Ey

We're all born to play

Ey Ey

Long is the way

Sometimes it's not right

Sometimes it's not fair.”

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