Every year thousands of Nebraska youth take the field at halftime of the annual spring game to take a pledge to say "NO!" to drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The pledge urges them to hold themselves accountable:
On my honor
as a responsible student,
I pledge not to use
drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.
I believe I can lead a better life
by staying drug free
and I further pledge
to encourage friends
not to use drugs, alcohol, or tobacco.
I am strong enough
to say "NO!"
With this year's spring game cancellation, parents across Nebraska are worried that their children will no longer be held accountable by the pledge and therefore free to do all the alcohol, drugs, and tobacco they want.
"Holy shit, it's going to be 'Katy bar the door' time at St. E's emergency room", stated Terry Swanson, who has been an intensive care nurse at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Lincoln the past 15 years. "We've known for years that when some kid freakin' out due to an overdose that he was one of those whose parents never took him to the spring game."
Lynn Wetzel wondered if her son Timmy would make it through the year alive. "Every year we go to the spring game, and every year we watch to make sure he's saying the words and not just mouthing them and crossing his fingers like most of those other hoodlums. God, I wonder what we'll do now....", she said with tears welling up in her eyes.
Not everyone was upset, though.
A yearly pledge is also taken by adults to help children in their attempts to avoid drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Without it, some parents feel no need to hold back.
44-year old recent divorcee Kelly Hansen, who wouldn't give her hometown, said she was looking forward to her son's friends turning 18 so she could start buying them alcohol.
"I have their birthdays written down in my little black book. It's going to be a real fun year. I'm really looking forward to it."