At first, the parents at a high school soccer game didn’t know what was going on when all of the players stopped playing and turned to the left side of the field. At first, they didn’t know what was going on, but then they heard a sound that couldn’t be mistaken, and then they saw what all the teens were looking at.
Great Falls High and CM Russell play most of their home games at the Siebel Soccer Park in Great Falls, Montana.
Because of where the park is, it has become a part of a tradition. When a video of the unusual thing that people do at the park now and then went online, it got a lot of attention quickly.
On a Tuesday at 4:30 p.m., the Bison girls were playing Butte in a Class AA playoff game when a sound that was familiar to them was heard in the distance. Right away, in the middle of a 1-0 game, both teams stopped moving, and the head referee stopped the play clock for a minute. One person who was there took a video of the simple but powerful act.
The national anthem was played over the loudspeakers at Malmstrom Air Force Base (MAFB), which is right across the street from the park. This stopped the game. Montana Sports says that every day at 4:30 p.m., the national anthem plays as the American flag is taken down from its perch above the base and the city.
Most of the time, the teams are only practicing when the national anthem starts, and they stop to respect the flag. But on this Tuesday, the girls on the field were in the middle of a 1-0 game when the national anthem played at 4:30 p.m., just as it does every day. The head referee stopped the clock, which surprised the people watching, but the girls knew what to do. Both teams faced the flag, and some players put their hands over their hearts. The crowd then did the same.
The teams didn’t always stop what they were doing to listen to the anthem, though. Willie Pyette, the coach of the CMR girls’ team, said that this has been a tradition since he took over the Rustler program and moved practice to the Siebel Soccer Park. When he became the girls’ soccer coach at CM Russell High School and moved the team’s practices to the park, he noticed a daily tradition at MAFB and decided to make it part of his team’s practice.
Now that they are in a new place and the national anthem is playing, the Bison and Rustlers stop whatever they are doing, which is usually just practice, face east with their hands over their hearts, stand at attention, and show respect for the flag. After the anthem is over, things can get back to normal.
Pyette says that the tradition is not meant to make a political statement, but rather to show respect for the service members at Malmstrom and elsewhere. Pyette said, “I have our team stop, stand at attention, and listen to the anthem.” “Then we practice again.
Everyone stands up to show respect.” He also said that the unique tradition will continue as long as soccer games are played in the afternoon at Siebel Soccer Park.
The National Anthem stands for the freedoms that many Americans take for granted, but it has been treated badly, which has caused controversy over the years.
Instead of standing up for these freedoms and ideals, many people have protested the anthem when they think the country hasn’t lived up to them. Not everywhere, though, as the soccer fans at this game were surprised to see.
Even in the middle of a game, these girls remembered what was most important: showing respect for our national anthem and flag honors the people who fought for our freedom.
Kids, especially teens, can do the darndest things, and that includes a lot of times when they make the right choice. Usually, though, those aren’t the kids who make the news. Even though bad kids will always get attention, there are a lot of teens who know how to act properly.
Too often, these kids don’t get the praise they deserve because they don’t stand out.
But every once in a while, when they do something really great, the light shines brightly on them. In a world where most news stories are about kids doing bad things, it’s nice to read about teens who do the right thing, like these girls. They could show some adults how to show respect for the flag and the people who keep us safe. Good job, girls!