When a Michigan high school football team learned that the national anthem would not be played before its Wednesday game, the players took up the challenge.
They sang it themselves.
The Lapeer Lightning freshman team was playing a game against Carman-Ainsworth High School in Flint Township, Mich. Lapeer was told there would be no anthem played before the game.
“Like most schools in the state of Michigan, we choose to play the national anthem prior to the highest level of competition,” Carman-Ainsworth Schools Superintendent Eddie Kindle said, noting that the anthem was to be played before a junior high game later that night. He said that the lack of an anthem was not in any way a form of protest.
When game time rolled around, Lapeer’s freshmen lined up on the sideline, waiting for the anthem to be played.
When they learned it wouldn’t be, they started to sing.
“It’s an incredible feeling. I’ve been with most of these players for three years now. They’re just an awesome group of kids,” Lapeer head coach Bryan Sahr said. “It makes me incredibly emotional and I don’t usually get emotional.”
Sahr said the team was unaware that a formal decision had been made not to play the anthem, which was why the team lined up to hear it. They assumed it was not played due to problems with the sound system.
The coach said the players and fans on the host team’s sideline saluted while his team sang, and then cheered when their rendition was over.
“A lot of teenagers would be embarrassed to do that. I know I don’t like to hear myself sing,” Sahr said.
The school said it was proud of its freshmen.
“We’re just super proud of our guys to overcome that situation and take it upon themselves to sing the national anthem. We couldn’t be prouder,” said Lapeer High School athletic director Shad Spilski.
“I was proud of my great nephew & team for being respectful,” posted Lynn Dunn. “It was the first time ever seeing him play. Kudos to the parents and coaches for installing the pride we should have of our country and the people who serve/served this great nation. … Please share this so that all kids know that it is cool to do the right thing, hard but cool.”
Nicole Driskell Mckenna added, “Maybe Colin Kapernick could learn a few things from our boys!”
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