HomeBad Ass AsiansFirst Observant Sikh to Play D1 Baseball Reflects on Breaking Barriers

First Observant Sikh to Play D1 Baseball Reflects on Breaking Barriers

Photo by Cipriansjr via Wikimedia Commons

A Boston College pitcher is the first observant Sikh to play division 1 college baseball, NBC News reports.

Samrath Singh has faced numerous obstacles en route to becoming the first observant Sikh to play Division I baseball. Childhood discrimination, Tommy John surgery on his elbow and a global pandemic all stood in his way.

But the pitcher told NBC News, he doesn’t let the challenges bring him down.

“I don’t like to focus on when things have gone wrong or when people have been mean to me,” he said. “It’s much more important to hold that inner strength and focus on the outcomes I can control.”

Singh, a New Jersey native, said he’s proud to pave the way for other Sikhs in baseball. He hopes to become the first Sikh to play in the major leagues, according to NBC News.

Despite Boston College’s identity as a Jesuit Catholic university, Singh and his family found that the school embraced him nonetheless. When they toured the campus in 2017, they spoke with baseball coach Mike Gambino. He “stunned” them with his knowledge of the Sikh religion, according to Boston College Magazine.

“I’ve researched your religion,” Gambino said, according to the magazine. “and I want to tell you how some of the Jesuit values here parallel Sikh core tenets.”

Gambino also encouraged Singh to wear his turban on the field. His support of Sikh culture persuaded Singh and his family to commit to BC. However, it took over a year after Singh arrived on campus in 2018 for him to finally throw a pitch due to undergoing surgery.

Still, his first experience on the mound as an Eagle in early 2020 was joyful for him.

“The whole time on the mound, I was just smiling,” Singh told Boston College Magazine. “I was ecstatic.”

After a junior year spent completely online, Singh said he is unsure of his future in baseball. According to NBC News, he will not play in his upcoming senior year due to his elbow still needing to heal. Although he still hopes to play professional baseball, Singh said he’s enjoyed looking back on what he’s already accomplished.

And, he said, he’s more than just a regular baseball player.

“I’m a man, I’m a Sikh man, and I’m proud of who I am,” he said.

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