Virginia Tech players on Wednesday partook in an uncommon practice of a common basketball play: the national anthem.
Coach Buzz Williams conducted a special Veterans Day practice of The Star-Spangled Banner. “Our National Anthem is more than a song,” he explained on Twitter. “I wanted our players to know how important it is.”
With that in mind, he enlisted the support of enlisted men and women, and a few officers, and roused his team for a 6:30 a.m. practice. The veterans stood alongside the freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors as they placed hands on hearts in observance of The Star-Spangled Banner.
Our National Anthem is more than a song before every game, I wanted our players to know how important it is https://t.co/HDBBNZCIj1
— Buzz Williams (@TeamCoachBuzz) November 11, 2015
“To see a coach take on the responsibility of showing the student-athletes the importance of the values of the country and the people that have served this country is very admirable,” Marine Corps veteran Sandy Smith, an associate athletic director at Virginia Tech, observed after the event. “I’d like to thank Coach Williams personally because I think he’s done an excellent job of instilling leadership and camaraderie to the student athletes. It was appreciated by everyone I spoke with today.”
The Hokies don’t regard the pre-game ritual as hokie, just patriotic.