When the Lapeer Lightning freshman football team learned that the national anthem wouldn’t be played before their game, a group of young patriots took matters into their own hands. “Like most schools in the state of Michigan, we choose to play the national anthem prior to the highest level of competition,” Carman-Ainsworth Community Schools Superintendent Eddie L. Kindle explained to Michigan Live news. “That is common and typical in many communities in Michigan,” Kindle clarified. “We have never and will never refuse to play the national anthem.” While the anthem was played before the junior varsity game later that day, the freshman team didn’t feel right about taking the field without first paying respect to their flag and country.
Parents beamed with pride as the youngest players on the field lined up, saluted their flag, and sang their hearts out. Lapeer High School athletic director Shad Spilski told Michigan Live “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.” It turns out the freshman team simply thought there was a problem with the sound system and decided they could make the music themselves.
“We had all lined up on the sideline like we usually do for the national anthem,” said Lapeer head coach Bryan Sahr. When the music failed to start, the Lapeer freshman sang while the Carman-Ainsworth players stood and saluted the flag. “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,” Sahr continued. “It makes me incredibly emotional and I don’t usually get emotional.”
Parents like Chell Byrnes took to social media and posted images of the young patriotic athletes. At a time when many young men their age feel awkward or uncomfortable in the spotlight, these freshman proudly took the spotlight to honor their country. “A lot of teenagers would be embarrassed to do that. I know I don’t like to hear myself sing,” Sahr said. “I’m very, very proud of them.”