The Sportsmanship Brigade was on-hand for the CYC open midget division boys basketball championship on Sunday afternoon between St. Joseph – Cottleville (Mo.) and Mary Queen of Peace (MQP). In case you were wondering, the midget division consists of 5th graders. Both teams showed early on why they were in the championship game. They possess great skill and the will to win was apparent. MQP, however, caught fire in the second half and pulled away for the victory. I know it’s often said as a cliche, but there were no losers here. MQP is as gracious as they are skilled and did not turn to showboating or other demeaning tactics. St. Joseph played every possession as if it were a tie game. Those kids were playing in the championship game and they behaved like champions until the final whistle.
Still, three young men took extra steps to show us all why the experience of youth sports is far more important than the trophy. The first two are MQP teammates – Nicholas Kurz and Andrew Nester. Nicholas played hard and tried to win, but he also realized he was playing against people and treated them as such. Helping players off the floor, hi-fiving teammates and pats on the back were the norm. Andrew’s spirit was infectious for the entire crowd. He encouraged his teammates throughout the contest. His “Let’s go, guys!” could be heard over the buzzer and whistles. Matthew Hanson wouldn’t be outdone. Late in the game, he committed a hard foul that sent an MQP player to the floor. To show it wasn’t malicious, he immediately turned and pulled the young man to his feet. You can play hard without having a hard heart. Brigade members rewarded all three young men in what turned out to be a fitting close to the CYC basketball season.
The Sportsmanship Brigade is a group of Sports Commission volunteers who attend youth sporting events looking for acts of good sportsmanship. Athletes, coaches, parents and fans who exhibit good sportsmanship are rewarded with a certificate of recognition and a gift card to a local business. For more on the Brigade, including scheduling and volunteering information, please visit sportsmanship.org or call 314-345-5130. Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!
|Solomon Alexander with Matthew Hanson|
|From L-R: Nicholas Kurz, Andrew Nester and Solomon Alexander|