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Published December 16 2010

Clark sports column: Put down the cell phone for national anthem

I wish this column was more, “Oh, say can you see?” instead of “Oh, can you see you’re being a jerk?”

But that’s what happens when you’re a journalist. You see people doing dumb things and there are times you have to say something.

In this case, it’s the national anthem and what I have noticed the last few weeks.

During various games, there have been high school students who are more into their text messages instead of taking a minute to appear as if they have class.

This isn’t an “America is the best nation in the world” column. Nor is it a column typecasting all people under 18.

It is just a reminder that people are watching.

Not only are people watching, but it’s sad no one in the stands is doing anything about it.

Columns like this might provoke thought among readers, but it’s making me think too. My biggest one being: “What are adults doing about all this?”

To the adults reading this, for each student you see acting disrespectfully, you are failing them in not saying something. Your silence is pretty much saying, “Go ahead, be stupid. It’s not my problem.”

Even if it’s not your kid, imagine if it was your son or daughter acting like that. You would be embarrassed but grateful someone took the time to show your son or daughter the right way of doing things.

Let the record reflect, people here are among the nicest I have ever met. There’s a feeling of respect.

But to see kids here disrespect something that defines this nation, it’s just heartbreaking.

It would be one thing if this was a protest. If kids were not paying attention because they feel something unjust is going on.

But when the only injustice going on is not being able to text “OMG” or “LOL,” it makes you wonder.

We know this is an instant generation because of Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc. Yet, is holding off from your phone for a minute that big of a deal?

Is your life going to end by waiting for a few and then getting back to that text message?

Probably not.

But what it is doing is taking something that’s been valued for generations and diminishing it in a short amount of time.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Ryan S. Clark at (701) 241-5548 or as rclark@forumcomm.com