Last week I was given a unique opportunity when the administrators at Wood County Christian School in Williamstown offered to take me up to Cleveland with them when they played Ohio Valley Christian at Quicken Loans Arena, home of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
It was certainly a thrilling experience for the players and fans of the small school, and somewhat fun for me, too.
I'll freely admit I'm not the biggest fan of the NBA.
To be honest, I feel like the Wood County Christian players have a better understanding and grasp of fundamental basketball than the stars of the NBA, who frequently travel and carry the ball.
But even though I wasn't real keen on the NBA game, it was still an exciting opportunity for the school so away I went.
Following the conclusion of the Wood County Christian boys' game and conducting my interviews, I made my way up to "press row" and began filing stories and photos from the boys and girls games for publication in The Marietta Times.
There on press row as I worked on stories I was shocked and horrified at the conduct of players and people deemed to be role models and icons by millions of Americans.
With both the Cavaliers, and their opponent the Bulls, on the court warming up, a young lady came out to center court and began to sing the national anthem.
As she began singing The Star-Spangled Banner I was the only one in the gym that I noticed who stopped what I was doing and stood.
On the court, those players who would stand with their heads solemnly bowed at game time and act emotional when the anthem was played, just continued to shoot the basketball, totally ignoring the fact that our nation's song was being performed over the loudspeakers.
The guys who were setting up the scorers table continued to connect cables and setup television cameras, and the first few fans entering the arena just walked down and took their seats, some even wearing ball caps.
Now, you can say the young lady was just warming up, but it's still our country's anthem and it deserves that respect.
I will admit that I am a bit prejudiced towards the military and our country, as one of my best friends Willie Wellspring is currently serving as a computer analyst for the U.S. Army and his brother, Seth, another good friend, is undergoing special forces training with the Army.
So knowing them and the sacrifices they have made, I feel like there ought to be a little more honor given to the country in which we live.
Our men and women in the United States military have fought to earn that respect, and many have sacrificed their lives for it.
So why is it that men who are idolized by children across our country don't accord it that respect? Some of those players aren't from the United States, so I can understand that it's not their national anthem, but the majority of players are Americans.
Some of them may one day even wear the red, white and blue in the Olympics or the World Championships and represent the U.S.A.
So they should give our country the respect it deserves, and when the anthem is being sang at center court stop shooting a basketball and pay homage.
No less should be accepted.
Our veterans have earned it. Our country deserves it.
Kevin Pierson is a sports writer for The Marietta Times. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 376-5440.