by Logan Gruber
“I’m not doing this for me, I’m doing this for my country,” Ryan Golombecki said during a Newsleader interview on June 2.
Golombecki was offered the opportunity to sing The Star-Spangled Banner at the St. Cloud Rox baseball game against the Rochester Honkers, with the game starting at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, June 6 at Joe Faber Field in the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex, 5001 Veterans Drive, St. Cloud.
Golombecki and his son were at a Rox game when the idea first occurred to him he might be able to sing the anthem. He and his 13-year-old son were called down to race shopping carts around the field during a game. Afterward he asked a Rox staff member if they have the anthem singers lined up for the entire year already.
The staff member told Golombecki they have most of the slots filled but can always use a fill-in for an emergency situation. He told them he’d be very interested in filling in.
Golombecki received a call earlier this week.
“The guy said, ‘I know this is short notice, but could you [sing the anthem] this Saturday night?’ And I said, ‘Of course!’,” Golombecki exclaimed. “It’s my honor to sing it.”
Golombecki grew up in St. Cloud and now lives in Sartell and works for Hoff’s Insurance Specialists in Sauk Rapids as an insurance agent.
He is 36 and has a 14-year-old daughter, a 13-year-old son, and his girlfriend has a 5-year-old son as well.
Golombecki believes baseball is still a romantic sport and “Americana at it’s best.”
“It’s cheap entertainment . . . I can take the whole family to a Rox game and with tickets and concessions it only costs about $60-70. That is a great deal,” he said. “It’s great family fun!”
Golombecki has been a Rox fan since before they were the Rox. He followed the River Bats since the team’s inception, around 1997.
“I was never good at sports; I was musical,” Golombecki said.
He played tuba, among other instruments, in the high-school band, but he switched to guitar after graduating.
“I’ve been singing and playing guitar for 20 years,” he said. “I don’t make any money, but I don’t mind. I just play music and enjoy myself.”
He said he plays mostly weddings and at open-mic events. Typically, Golombecki prefers to play classic rock, oldies and some country.
“I love the Monkees, Beatles, Eric Clapton, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard,” Golombecki said, listing off his favorites.
As far as the national anthem goes, Golombecki plans to sing it the way it’s meant to be sung.
“I’m going to stick true to what it is,” he said.
Golombecki said some signers tend to overdo it, making themselves the focus instead of the meaning behind the song.
“This is about our country. . .this is about baseball,” he said.
“It’s important to give back to your community,” Golombecki said.
He feels singing the anthem is one way he can give back. Another is by volunteering with Honor Flight, which is a program that escorts World War II veterans from Central Minnesota on one-day trips to Washington, D.C. to visit war memorials and historic sites. The program allows Korean and Vietnam veterans to come, too.
Golombecki will sing the national anthem at the St. Cloud Rox baseball game, which starts at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, June 6 at Joe Faber Field in the St. Cloud Municipal Athletic Complex, 5001 Veterans Drive, St. Cloud.