Texas Rangers’ ‘inspiration’ sings the national anthem on Opening Day.

By Bobby Ross Jr. | For Religion News Service

ARLINGTON, Texas (RNS) Tony Beasley never lost faith, even when he was diagnosed with cancer.

“It’s been an opportunity for me to be who I said I am,” said Beasley, the third base coach for the Texas Rangers. “My favorite verse is 2 Corinthians 5:7: ‘For we walk by faith, not by sight.’ To have an opportunity to actually live that out was a blessing.”

With a giant U.S. flag unfurled in the outfield grass and a sellout crowd of 48,350 standing to honor America, all attention centered on Beasley this week (April 3) as he returned full time to the game he loves after a year spent battling rectal cancer.

“An inspiration to us all” is how longtime Rangers public address announcer Chuck Morgan introduced the 50-year-old coach, who was invited to sing the national anthem on Opening Day.

“You can ask anybody in here just how big an impact Beasley has on everybody as far as his faith and his attitude — it’s just contagious,” outfielder Delino DeShields told a reporter in the Rangers’ clubhouse at Globe Life Park. “Even last year, he came in with a smile on his face and always had positive words.”

Under blue skies on a 76-degree night, Beasley offered a soulful rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” — and couldn’t help but reflect on his emotional journey of the past year.

“I actually closed my eyes when I sang, just to keep in rhythm with the beat and to block out the delay,” the coach said. “But it was an honor. It was a blessing.

“This time last year, I was undergoing chemotherapy,” added Beasley, who received his cancer diagnosis in January 2016, “and to be able to be back at full capacity, I just thank God for that.”

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This story appears on the Religion News Service wire.

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