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.”
As he gently swayed his head from side to side as he sang, Beasley said, he concentrated on his gratefulness that God had healed him — with an aggressive 11 months of treatment that included radiation and surgery. He received a clean bill of health in December.
“I’m always thinking in spiritual terms because everything I have and everything I do is because of God’s goodness and his grace,” said the coach, who is married to Stacy and has a son, Tony Jr., 22, an outfielder for Hardin-Simmons University, a Baptist school in Abilene, Texas. “I don’t have to be here, but because of his mercy, I’m here. So I’m thankful.”
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SOURCE: Religion News Service