Before the final baseball game of USC’s weekend sweep of Brown University March 9, a young student from the School of Music stood behind home plate and sang the most inspiring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” I’ve heard in a very long time.
It was done a cappella and without yodel, rap, boogie or any other vocal gymnastics. She sang it exactly like Francis Scott Key wrote it on a bad night in Baltimore in 1814. As I listened, the thought occurred that she’d done what USC catcher Grayson Greiner did in a recent game against Clemson: Hit a grand slam. The crowd knew we’d heard something special. We remained on our feet when she finished and roundly applauded her.
My eyes were still glistening, but as she ascended from the field and back up the stadium steps, I could see at least a half-dozen other old GIs make their way to the aisle to thank her. I hope her granddaddy was there.