It was a beautiful day for a baseball game.
The sun rose to blue skies in Goshen Tuesday for the matchup between Goshen College’s Maple Leafs and the Siena Heights University Saints, but a sporting event isn’t what drew local and national media to the diamond. The game served as the inaugural venue for the college’s new practice of playing an instrumental version of the Star-Spangled Banner national anthem before baseball and softball games.
“I was extremely happy, I think it’s well overdue,” 22-year-old senior and pitcher Aaron Coy said. “I’ve been here — I’m a senior now — and I think that it should have been played my freshman year. It’s been a big issue in the past few years especially, and this year it finally got passed and I’m excited to have it played.”
Coy, who is originally from Cromwell and attended West Noble High School, said he was not aware the school did not play the anthem when he first began attending the school.
“At my first game here I was like ‘Wow, they’re not playing the national anthem,’” he said. “I was kind of shocked.”
According to Coy, there are few Mennonites on the team, so most teammates have been in favor of the anthem being played since the beginning of the discussion.
Head Coach Josh Keister said there wasn’t a lot of discussion on the issue when he was a student at the college, although some of them would have liked the anthem to have been played. He said its inclusion now garnered a generally positive response from the team.
Keister shared his comments on the change while his players warmed up behind him with calisthenics and some quick pepper.
“We knew that this was coming as a department, but we didn’t realize it was going to start with spring sports until January when that decision was announced,” Keister said. “So there was some excitement in the sense that we were going to be sort of charter members in doing it, and obviously it’s created some attention for the program and I think that’s a positive thing. We think it’s a good move and hopefully it will represent us well with opponents who can understand what we’re doing and why we’re doing it. I think it will be well-received.”
It was a beautiful day for a baseball game.
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