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Samrath Singh Balances Academics With Pro Baseball Goals

Singh believes he is the first Sikh to play college baseball, let alone in the ACC, a top tier conference....

...Samrath Singh is a rising sophomore at Boston College. He is a Sikh. Already a minority in a predominately Catholic, white university, Singh has brown skin and a thick beard that his religion prohibits him from shaving. While his classmates wear pastel shorts and a polo shirt, Singh wears a turban (light blue is his favorite color) that adds a few inches to his 6-foot-4 frame.

Singh believes he is the first Sikh to play college baseball, let alone in the ACC, a top tier conference. On top of all of this, he has a legitimate chance to become the first of his religion to make it to the professional ranks.

His story is unique, yet started in a typical way.

“My parents always pushed me to get involved in many sports,” Singh said, who played golf, tennis, and baseball growing up, and like many young kids, he gravitated to the activity in which he was most successful. “I always threw hard for my age, and I hit 30 home runs in my Little League career.”

By the time he reached middle school, Singh was playing on elite travel teams across New Jersey and taking pitching lessons twice a week. Once Singh matriculated to New Jersey’s West Windsor High School South, he really began to excel on the diamond. As a freshman on the junior varsity team, Singh was named team most valuable player.

“My parents encourage me to do more with everything,” Singh said. “That was probably the peak of my high school career.”

It was at this time that Singh realized he had the talent to play in college. He attended the Stanford baseball camp, and after a strong showing, developed a silent confidence that he could use baseball to help him achieve his goal of attending an elite college.

“Academics have always come first,” Singh said. “Excellence in school is a key part of Sikh culture.“...

...Before he arrived on campus, Singh had the chance to forgo college and head right to the pros. During his senior season, Singh got calls and texts from MLB scouts and advisors. The lanky lefty with a 92 mph fastball attracted a lot of pro attention. There was a lot of pressure to perform, and for a lot of high school kids, this can be paralyzing. But Singh was never fazed.

“Honestly, I had my mind set on going to college. Remember, academics have always come first,” Singh said. “Of course I’d love to play pro ball some day, but at that time I was very content with going to Boston College.”

For some, college is that coveted escape from overbearing parents and a time to go wild. Others are more homesick and crave the comforts of their old lives. The majority of the BC student body is white, and Catholic. That’s not Singh, but he said he has had no problems fitting in.

“I’ve found other ways to make connections with people,” Singh said.

One of those ways is through singing. During his first few days on campus, Singh tried out for an a capella group, though he ended up not being able to join because of the time commitments of baseball. He’ll sing at parties, though, and if you walk into one of the dining halls at just the right time, you might overhear him singing “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse to hordes of attentive classmates...

...Singh acknowledges that one reason there aren’t more Sikh athletes in American sports is because there is a dominating focus on education among Sikhs. Most Sikh parents, he said, believe a deep involvement in sports will hamper their children’s chances of going to Ivy League schools. Singh said he faced this pressure, and saw it among his friends in high school. Families flock to West Windsor, New Jersey, so their children can attend the highly-ranked public school system with the “Ivy-or-bust” mindset.

“I am grateful that my parents stressed balance,” Singh said. “Whenever I feel stressed by school work, I knew baseball was always there to take my mind off things.”

Singh also said Sikhs prioritize music and the arts more than sports.

“I was actually a good viola player once upon a time,” Singh said. “But after I tasted a lot of success with baseball, I kind of pushed the viola to the side. I was definitely different. I guess I still am.”

While baseball has not gone as planned, Singh has done well in the classroom. He is a finance and computer science double major with a 3.75 GPA.

“My cousins are my role models,” Singh said. “They both work at tech companies in California. Palo Alto is my favorite place in the world. I hope to end up there one day.”

Despite a strong back-up plan, Singh’s ultimate goal is to make the MLB. He knows it will be a long road. He knows it will be difficult. But he knows he has an entire community supporting him.

“I just want to inspire the next generation,” Singh said. “It’s perfectly fine for a Sikh kid to wish he was Mike Trout or Bryce Harper. But I want them to see another Sikh at the highest level. I want kids to see someone that looks like them.”

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