Join the Club…Take the Pledge!

Good Sport ClubAs part of its mission, the St. Louis Sports Commission works to promote sportsmanship in its region. The organization implements programs that create positive environments for kids to play sports and reinforces the importance of respect, civility, selflessness and integrity at all levels.

At the forefront of the Sports Commission’s efforts around sportsmanship is the Musial Awards. Since 2005, the organization has produced this one-of-a-kind national event, which recognizes the year’s greatest moments of sportsmanship and the biggest names in sports who embody class and character. The event and its awards are named for Stan “The Man” Musial, the late St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Famer who was one of the greatest players in baseball history and the ultimate good sport.

In 2012, expanding on its efforts in St. Louis, the Sports Commission created the National Sportsmanship Foundation (NSF) to empower people across the nation to lead healthier, happier lives through the values of sportsmanship. This national movement based in St. Louis aims to inspire people to be good sports — all in hopes of creating a move civil society.

The NSF also created the Good Sport Club, which recognizes that we can all win if we make space for more play, more joy, and better sportsmanship in our lives. Today, the Good Sport Club has created a movement that is resonating in all aspects of life, from the locker room to the boardroom.

Ultimately, the Good Sport Club wants to inspire people to make their communities stronger and more resilient. We do this through modeling, recognizing and rewarding acts of sportsmanship. And not just for professional athletes, but for everyday heroes like coaches, parents, refs, teachers and, of course, kids. By practicing the values of sportsmanship, we can all become more productive citizens of society.

As we begin an exciting and inspiring Musial Awards weekend, we ask everyone reading this to click on this link and take the Good Sport Club Pledge to show your commitment to the principles of good sportsmanship. After you’ve taken the pledge, feel free to explore the Good Sport Club website and take advantage of what we have available for parents, coaches, athletes, fans and officials.

So don’t waste any time! Join the Club…Take the Pledge…and Be a Good Sport!

Is your child’s school on this list?

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Musial Moments is a fun, interactive and impactful 45-minute session that motivates students to care about sportsmanship and to be good to those around them. Since 2015, we have held more than 40 assemblies before a combined 10,000 young people in the St. Louis area and beyond. Here are the schools we’ve had the honor of visiting – some more than once. Is your child’s school on this list?

  1. Bayless High School
  2. Fort Zumwalt North High School
  3. McKinley High School
  4. Duchesne High School
  5. Great Circle
  6. St. Rose of Lima
  7. Bristol Elementary School
  8. Woerner Elementary School
  9. Forsyth School
  10. Central Elementary School (Roxana, Ill.)
  11. Halls Ferry Elementary School
  12. McCluer High School
  13. Ritenour Middle School
  14. Holman Elementary School
  15. Robinson Elementary School
  16. Lemasters Elementary School
  17. Danforth Elementary School
  18. Johnson-Wabash Elementary School
  19. Robinwood Elementary School
  20. Commons Lane Elementary School
  21. Sherwood Elementary School
  22. Carondelet Leadership Academy
  23. Henderson Elementary School
  24. Pembroke Hill School (Kansas City, Mo.)
  25. St. Alban Roe School
  26. Hazelwood Northwest Middle School

Musial Moments presentations free of charge are geared toward young people in third grade through high school. To bring Musial Moments to your school or organization, call 314-345-5130 or email salexander@stlsports.org.

10 ways you can celebrate #WorldKindnessDay in 2017

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November 13 is World Kindness Day. Here’s how you can celebrate:

  1. Call a friend. No texts or DMs. Let them hear your voice.
  2. Let someone be nice to you. Kindness is a reciprocal effort.
  3. Thank your parents…for everything.
  4. Teach a child something you do well.
  5. Use your powers for good.
  6. Reward a kid with something other than food.
  7. Help someone up. Stop them from falling if you can.
  8. Post something positive on all of your social media platforms.
  9. Encourage someone to be their very best self.
  10. Bring a friend to the Musial Awards this Saturday.

If you need help with number 10, I know a guy. Email salexander@stlsports.org for more information.

“It’s no fun rubbing it in if you’re nice…”

ABC’s hit show Black-ish tackles a variety of topics each week, but a recurring subplot on the show is the seemingly never-ending competition between Andre “Dre” Johnson, Sr. (Anthony Anderson) and his eldest son Andre “Junior” Johnson, Jr. (Marcus Scribner). Dre is basically threatened by Junior becoming a man and eventually replacing him as head of the family. Most of this is in Dre’s mind as Junior is a typical teen living from one moment to the next.

This week’s episode finds the pair playing a game of one-on-one as Grandpa Earl (Laurence Fishburne) and younger brother Jack (Miles Brown) look on. Dre doesn’t want to Junior to win, but there’s little he can do to stop the faster, stronger, and more athletic teenager. Watch how he handles his defeat:

If you’re not familiar with the show, Dre usually finds a way to manipulate Junior before he wins by faking a heart attack. Junior didn’t fall for it this time. However, he was not ready for the way Dre handled his defeat. Junior thought Dre would lose it and find some way to get back at him. That’s why Junior stands there with his chest poked out, waiting to absorb an attack from his father.

The attack never comes. Instead, Dre diffuses the situation by telling Junior how proud he is that he’s becoming a man. To which Junior responds, “It’s no fun rubbing it in if you’re nice.” Granted, Black-ish is a sitcom and Dre was manipulating his son, but his tactic was effective nonetheless.

No matter how fierce a rival your opponent is or how hard either of you compete, most animosity can be squashed by being nice. When you extend your hand out of respect after a hard-fought contest, your opponent will shake your hand or walk away confused as Junior did. Either way is better than a negative outcome you’ll both regret.

Sportsmanship is hard…

Sportsmanship is hard. It’s not soft. It takes great strength to be a person of good character. It takes great power to stand up when others sit down. Sometimes being a good sport is a great burden…kind of like a 41-year-old man strapping 150 pounds in chains to his waist and cranking out a dozen dips, in a cave, 100 feet underground.

Chains can be used to bind. They can also be used to strengthen. I choose the latter. I choose to take on the burdens of intolerance, disrespect, racism and lift others out with all the strength I can summon. Changing the world is hard. Changing yourself is harder.

As Coach Dick Vermeil would say, “Time to go to work!”

Burger King knocks anti-bullying message out of the park

Burger King released the following anti-bullying PSA last week:

Coaches and parents often take their kids to restaurants like Burger King after games and practices. It’s sad more people stood up for a beaten up hamburger than a beaten up kid. However, kudos to the few customers who did stand up for the kid who was being bullied.

It’s often said character is who you are when no one else is around. Sometimes, character is revealed when everyone is around. Literally anyone could have helped the kid in the video and only a few did.

Protecting a kid from bullying is simple. If the situation makes you look up, then you should speak up. Once you speak up, stand up. Most kids will stop whatever foolish behavior they’re engaged in when an adults speaks up and they’ll most often scatter when you stand up.

Model positive behavior for your kids. If the situation makes you look up, then stand up. Once you stand up, speak up. Let’s not let any Jr. get bullied, Whopper or otherwise.

Marshawn Lynch joins long list of celebrities who play by their own rules

A friend sent me this video on Thursday:

Marshawn Lynch is staying busy during his one-game suspension. (@beastmode)

A post shared by SportsCenter (@sportscenter) on

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch is currently serving a one-game suspension for putting his hands on a referee during a game against the Kansas City Chiefs on October 19. Suspended players aren’t allowed to practice with their teams, so Lynch visited his high school alma mater this week to practice with them.

The kids at Oakland Technical High School probably thought it was great to have Lynch on the field with them. To be a part of the group that tackled Beastmode on a run…Wow! Those players will never forget the experience.

However, there are reasons why we don’t see the other 1,500-plus NFL players doing what Lynch did at their old high schools. Some are written rules governing high school sports while others are plain common sense. Let’s examine a few.

Marshawn Lynch is a grown man. More than that, he is an NFL player, which means he’s faster and stronger than most grown men. He should not be on a field stiff-arming kids. One or more of them could have been seriously hurt and he wouldn’t have had enough sorrys.

Schools usually have no problem allowing successful alumni to come back and interact with current students. They do, on the other hand, want alums to follow established policy. You can’t just show up anytime you want and do whatever you want.

Specific to sports, only high school kids can practice or compete on high school teams. Surely, some coach somewhere has had the bright idea of getting college players or adults to come in and hit with his team. The thought process is if high school kids can stand up to adults tackling them, then they should be tougher against high school opponents.

That kind of thinking risks student safety and creates a huge legal liability for the school district. The Oakland Unified School District said Lynch broke their high school league rules by participating in the practice and Oakland Tech administrators didn’t know he would be there, either.

The bottom line is Lynch got suspended and decided he wanted to get some practice time in. He probably called Oakland Tech’s coach who was willing break the rules to accommodate a celebrity. Unfortunately, the school and the coach will likely suffer the consequences.

Lynch will return to the Raiders on Monday and be eligible to play against the Miami Dolphins on November 5.