A poem in response to NFL protests: Pity the Fool | TSLN.com

A poem in response to NFL protests: Pity the Fool

Yvonne Hollenbeck

PITY THE FOOL

I'm not big on watching television, especially sports channels. I do watch a little of the morning news and weather and enjoy some of the programming on the RFD channel, but that's about it. My leisure time, which there is little of, is spent either quilting or working on genealogy.

I have really enjoyed learning about my ancestors and family members and find a new appreciation for the lifestyle I enjoy, especially after reading about some of the many trials and hardships many of them went through. This also reinforces a sense of patriotism as I have learned of the sacrifices, not only my family members, but many others made to ensure the freedom we enjoy today here in America. I had more than one ancestral grandfather in the Revolutionary War, and kinfolk in every war since then. Several lost their lives in various wars, as did members of my husband's family. I'm not only proud, but I love being an American citizen. I realize that everything is not perfect, especially regarding government issues and leaders, but I love it just the same and would never want to live anywhere else.

Because of the pride I have in being an American, I was dumbfounded when recently, on the morning news, I saw a clip showing a professional football player who refused to stand in attention during the National Anthem and the posting of colors. The news commentator was obviously disgusted with the actions of this young man, and the news item bothered me for the remainder of the day. I wondered why anyone could be so unappreciative, or perhaps so ignorant. What would make anyone act like this? I could only think that if he didn't like our country, why didn't he leave and go live somewhere else. Then I felt pity for him for having such a lack of character.

As is often the case, I write poetry as a vent for my feelings, whether happy or sad. I sat down and wrote the following poem, which is directed to this foolish person:

PITY THE FOOL

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They sang, "Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light?"

But you plainly can't see by your actions tonight.

As our Anthem was played and folks rose to their feet,

you chose to ignore it and just stayed on your seat.

Perhaps some attention was something you needed;

…if that was your purpose, you surely succeeded.

And I hope you aren't thinking that you were real cool,

'cause to all us observers, you looked like a fool.

They say, "There's none so blind as those who cannot see."

It seems you must be sightless as to why we all are free.

You might think you are a hero 'cause you're good at playing ball,

but the heroes folks applaud have names carved on a wall.

In fact it would be good if you would stand before that wall

and see the names of soldiers who for YOU they gave their all.

Or see a Gold Star Mother, as she hugs to her chest,

a folded flag received as her son is laid to rest.

If it weren't for all those heroes, you would not be free

to act just like a fool and allowed to take a knee.

It surely won't be long before your playing days are through.

Is this the way you want to have the fans remember you?

I hope you gain some sense before you play your final game,

'cause soon folks will forget you and will not recall your name.

But usually all bad actions are remembered as a rule.

Your legacy will be that you were pitied as a fool.