I took the girls and Jay to the Virginia game at the new arena in Eugene on Sunday. We packed up the car right after Jay took a quick needed shower from his Lacrosse practice.
The new arena is beautiful and there are no bad seats. Ours were in the top row just behind the Oregon bench. We had a great view of the floor and though I could not make out the names on the back of their jerseys, I pretty much knew from sight or from the announcers shouts who they were as they played.
Just before the game, we were all told to stand, take off our hats, face the flag, and honor it with the national anthem. Now, that was one thing I could not see from my perch was the flag. The reason was that a side board that showed stats throughout the game was blocking it. I looked to see where the crowd was looking and my eyes moved past the Duck bench. What I saw made my blood boil. A line of players were standing facing towards the flag.....but many of them were looking down at their feet. They seem to be fidgeting, anxious for the game to start. I wanted to scream out but from my distance, they would have not heard. The coach was standing behind them. I am not sure if he had his hand over his heart or not but in my mind, I was yelling....."Get those guys in line! Honor our flag!"
I turned and found the flag but my experience had been tempered with the thought of these young men....and their ungrateful poses. Throughout the game it gnawed at me. It almost seemed fitting that they lost. Someone should tell them....but who?
After the game, we stopped for gas and food and arrived back in Bend around 7 or so. That night, when I could not sleep, I drifted around the net and looked for analysis of the game. As I opened up the sports page, I was taken by the article of Jeremy Shockey of the Carolina Panthers and how he had called out certain Houston Texans for the same thing that had bugged me at he Duck game.
The thoughts of how I had felt flooded through my mind and I set myself off on a mission. First to discover who the athletic department head was. I knew that Mike Bellotti had taken the job for a very short time a couple of years back but had left quickly. So, I searched and found that the new man's name is Rob Mullens. I then searched for an access email but only found the website for the Ducks. So, I went to goducks.com and searched finding only the contact page. It said that I could email the athletic department so that is where I made my stand.
The following was my complaint:
Now, I want to preface this with a statement. I am a die hard true blue (er green and yellow) Duck fan. I have been for as far back as I remember.
I took my kids to the recent Virginia game and sat in section 205 behind the Duck bench.
As the national anthem started, I could not see the flag so I looked around to see where the people were looking so that I could pay tribute to it myself.
What I found, however, shocked me to the core. The line of Ducks had many of them staring....at their shoes! I stood and watched as they shuffled and squirmed, looking down and not up at the colors that we all should be giving honor to.
I know the coach could see this as he was standing behind them.
There are very few things that could make me turn my back on my beloved team......this is one of them!
Please......Please......Please......have the coach inform them of where their respect is due.
I am sure that you had enough cameras going that you should be able to see what I am talking about.
As a patriot and a Vietnam vet, I implore you to look into this situation.
I punched the send button and went back off to bed. I received the following reply from whom ever screens the emails for the website:
Lyle, thank your feedback. We have forwarded your email on to the appropriate sources for further review.
I am a bit perplexed as to who the appropriate sources are (desk clerk?) and what their further review will be (round file?).
I will assure you of one thing, I do not intend to let it go. If we do not teach our children the due respect for our flag, our country, and what we have fought for where shall we go and what are we doomed for?
This same point was driven home by the chaplain today at the beginning of the Band of Brothers meeting. He encouraged the over 100 strong meeting to teach their children and their grandchildren the true story of our country, what we stand for, what we have all fought for, and why. This is not being taught in our schools and can only be taught by us.
Now, I can't see myself going to any more of the games this season, but rest assured, I will be watching for this whenever the cameras of the televised games show them. And I hope that their are others who will also make this stand and hold our youth accountable.
Thank you, Mr Shockey for the encouragement. Your stand will lead to others.
May God bless America!