I have always dreamed of being a superhero. Superman’s my favorite. Batman’s a close second. I’ll never be either of those guys, but I think I’ve settled into my current role quite nicely. Just call me Sportsmanship Guy. My navy blue polo-style shirt, khaki pants and backpack make me easily identifiable to the citizens of Youthtropolis (my name for the community of people involved in youth sports).
Every hero has a power source. Superman’s source is the sun. Batman’s is his utility belt. The source of Sportsmanship Guy’s power is in his backpack. Yes, it’s the backpack. The contents of which are vital to Sportsmanship Guy and his entire Sportsmanship Brigade. Inside are postcards that identify the Brigade to the citizens of Youthtropolis. It also contains certificates and numerous gift cards to be awarded to those citizens who uphold the principles of sportsmanship.
Sportsmanship Guy and his Brigade attended the first round of the CYC baseball playoffs over the weekend. Of particular interest was a seventh grade contest between Sacred Heart of Florissant and St. Margaret Mary Alacoque. This was baseball as it was meant to be played – good pitching, timely hitting, and outstanding defense. Baseball purists would have been proud of these boys.
No one yelled at the umpires or the kids. No helmets were thrown and no one got ejected. Fans of both teams cheered loudly for their boys, but did nothing to discourage the other side. Sacred Heart advanced to the second round, but both teams are winners. We rewarded both teams for their efforts. What can I say? Sportsmanship Guy is a sucker for an all-out team effort.
|Sacred Heart of Florissant|
|St. Margaret Mary Alacoque|
Just so no one thinks I’m a raving egomaniac, the kids of Sacred Heart bestowed the moniker of Sportsmanship Guy on me. I always explain to the kids who I am and why they’re getting an award every time we go out. I usually say, “You don’t know who I am, but…” About five or so kids from the Sacred Heart team stopped me mid-spiel and said, “We know who you are!” Another kid explained, “You’re the sportsmanship guy! You’ve been to our basketball and volleyball games before. Did we do something good?” Yes, they did and their parents and coaches should be proud of them.
The Sportsmanship Brigade is a group of Sports Commission volunteers who attend youth sporting events looking for acts of good sportsmanship. Athletes, coaches, parents, fans and officials 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.