Before every baseball game, home or away, both teams line up, remove our hats, move our attention to the waving flag, and listen to the National Anthem.

I have grown to really appreciate these two minutes of focus on our flag as we pay our respects to our country and those who protect her. I think the song is beautiful. Not because I like the beat, or tone, or lyrics, but because I was raised to embrace it. After learning about the beginnings of our country, I have found the song to be the most universal representation of the perseverance of Americans to become an independent nation. And baseball being America’s pastime, the song is so perfect for every game.

When I hear the song, I become very locked into the flag. Often times, the flag seems brighter to me while the song plays than the rest of the surrounding area. In this moment, I am so thankful to be alive, to be at the field with my teammates, and to be a part of the country. This song is also a time in which I connect with my faith. This often is a time for prayer, thanking God for the opportunity to play. I connect religious worship with hymnals and other worship songs, but the National Anthem serves the same purpose.

The song is also a method of preparing our team before the game. It is played before each game, so our routine is built around it. After the anthem, we gather as a team, and a captain gives us some sort of pep talk to get us ready for battle.

This Friday, when we played St. Louis University, we didn’t hear the National Anthem because their speakers blew out. We ended up losing the game 2-1, but I am not attributing the loss to the lack of the song. What did result was a lot of uneasiness and frustration in the dugout as the respect for that song by SLU was questioned by my teammates. The song really does have an impact on my entire team, and it should be the same for all those listening to it.