United Seminoles Athletics basketball team shows great sportsmanship and great skill at SEC halftime

Good Sport Club

We had two slots available for youth teams to play at halftime of the 2018 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament last week in St. Louis. I was asked to make the selections, but I really didn’t want to make a unilateral decision. This was a big deal and I wanted it to be special for the kids.

I wanted them to somehow earn the slots and I wanted it to be fair. In February, the Sports Commission launched a contest through our Good Sport Club. The two teams that got the most sportsmanship pledges signed on their behalf would get to play at halftime during designated games of the SEC Tournament.

United Seminoles Athletics (USA) is from the North County Youth Association in St. Louis. Their 5th grade boys basketball team hustled hard and encouraged more than 150 people to sign the Good Sport Pledge – the most in our contest by a wide margin. They played an intrasquad scrimmage during halftime of the Tennessee – Mississippi State quarterfinal game last Friday night.

Check out the video of their game below. Please excuse the screaming guy in the background. He tends to get excited when he sees kids doing well.

I also received this little gem on Monday morning from USA’s business manager, whose son also plays on the team:

On the behalf of the 5th Grade USA team we would like to say thank you for the opportunity. We appreciate the time you took to ensure that everyone in our party was accommodated. The players, coaches and parents had a great time. It was a lasting experience that everyone will never forget. Please feel free to keep us in mind for any future events or opportunities that may arise. It was a pleasure coordinating this event with you and look forward to speaking with you in the future.

It’s said a job needs to reward more than money to be fulfilling for an employee. This is one of those rewards…


What would we be without labels?

Senior Pride 2018
Dance Plus Senior Traveling Pride 2017-18. Top from L-R: Brooke Reese, Arielle Adams, Kelsey Carnes, Dessa’Rae Lampkins. Bottom from L-R: De’Jai Walker, Madison Alexander

I often use dance to convey sportsmanship messages for two reasons:

  1. My daughter is a dancer and I’m duty-bound to brag on her. Don’t be so “fair” that you forget to tell your kids how special they are to you. Every kid needs to be someone’s favorite.
  2. Dancers have the unique ability to tell stories other athletes can’t. They perform accompanied by songs of joy, sadness, love, loss, protest and patriotism and no one will stop them or the show.

The following video is from last Sunday’s Talent on Parade Regional Dance Competition in St. Louis. My Madison and her teammates won first place overall in their age group for this stunning and thought-provoking performance. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to some and introduce to others the Dance Plus Senior Traveling Pride and “Labels.”


The 2018 Coach It Right! Baseball Clinic [Full Video]

March 6  is National Sportsmanship Day.  The St. Louis Sports Foundation celebrates by making available the full video of our 2018 Coach It Right! Baseball Clinic. The event took place on March 3 at St. Louis University High School and features Missouri Baseball Hall of Fame coach Steve Nicollerat giving youth coaches the tools necessary for their teams to have the best season possible.

Coach Nicollerat covers all the relevant baseball topics related to hitting, fielding and pitching, but he also highlights the issue many coaches don’t think about until there’s a problem. He discusses the need to set expectations for your players and their parents. Whether you coach baseball or not, that’s information every coach can use.

There’s also a very special section Coach Nicollerat calls his favorite part of the clinic and that’s where he explains the purpose for coaching. It’s a must-watch segment for every coach on every level of sport. So without further delay, please enjoy the Coach It Right! Baseball Clinic in its entirety in the video package below.

Also be sure to take advantage of Coach Nicollerat’s special segment on “Why We Coach” as well and don’t forget to like, share and subscribe.



Musial Moments: Shenandoah Valley Elementary


Book Musial Moments for your school or youth organization.

Reminder: The Coach It Right Baseball Clinic is March 3.

Show your commitment to sportsmanship by joining the Good Sport Club.

For more about the St. Louis Sports Foundation and all of its programs, please visit sportsmanship.org.


Riots seem to be OK to celebrate a championship, but not to protest injustice


The Philadelphia Eagles won Super Bowl 52 Sunday night with a 41-33 win over the New England Patriots. It was the team’s first victory in the big game. The players were elated and many of their fans went crazy.


While the players made confetti angels on the turf inside U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, some of their biggest supporters exhibited devilish behavior back home. Eagles fans uprooted street poles, flipped cars, broke windows, tore down the facade of an upscale hotel, looted convenience stores and set fires all in the name of a championship.

In late 2017, activists in St. Louis took to the streets to protest the acquittal of a former police officer on trial for murder. The protests lasted for several weeks. Windows were broken and property was damaged.

In 2014, Ferguson garnered national attention when protests became riots after a grand jury declined to indict a police officer in the shooting death of Michael Brown.  Dozens were arrested and injured. Looting and significant property damage took place.

Critics castigated protesters for allowing rioters to dilute their message with violence. They suggested the sound of broken windows blunts the sound of peaceful protest. Do broken windows also blunt championship celebrations?

Why is one group’s protest not viewed the same as another’s celebration?

Whatever the reason, violence is not the answer. It’s not OK to break windows, damage someone else’s property or set fires – and it doesn’t matter if you’re overjoyed or enraged.

Philadelphia isn’t alone when it comes to poor fan behavior. Other major cities have experienced unrest after winning a sports championship. Local governments usually chalk the destruction up to a few bad apples, sweep up the glass and move on.

From the upper echelon of government to grassroots organizations, calls for unity ring out from sea to shining sea. Americans are encouraged to lay aside petty differences and come together in the spirit of respect, love and understanding.

Unity isn’t a magical force, though. It cannot be achieved because someone says so or because a group of people wish it to happen. Unity does not occupy the same space as your favorite song on the radio. Playing it over and over again doesn’t make it move up the charts.

There must be a unifying message, unifying actions and people dedicated to bringing others together, not just those who want the rest of us to acquiesce and assimilate.

Citizens should gleefully celebrate their favorite team winning the title. They should also do it without violence. It is said sports bring people together. Those words need to transform into action.

What we love about our teams should manifest in us as fans. Sports teams consist of people from different backgrounds coming together to pursue something bigger than themselves.

What if we as fans, as citizens of the world, could become a championship team?


Musial Moments Photoblog: St. Charles Borromeo



Wait a Minute: The State of the Sports Union in 2018


My fellow Americans, we live in what should be the most celebrated time in sports history. Our athletes are bigger, faster, stronger and performing the most incredible feats ever achieved by humanity.

Lebron James, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, Antonio Brown, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Simone Biles, Gabby Douglas, Aly Raisman, Laurie Hernandez, Madison Kocian, and Shakyla Hill among others are redefining what athletic excellence really means.

America’s athletes reflect her greatest strength: diversity. We produce the world’s greatest athletes because our country contains the world’s best attributes. Because we are a melting pot of cultures, body structures and abilities, the same country that produced Tom Brady also produced Simone Biles.

Brady is 6-4 and of Irish descent. Biles is 4-8 and African-American. Brady has won five Super Bowls as a member of the New England Patriots. Biles won four Olympic gold medals as a member of the FInal Five USA Women’s Gymnastics Team.

Stanton and Judge have hit home runs NASA is still tracking in space. Antonio Brown, the NFL’s best wide receiver, simply can’t be covered. Some refs don’t bother throwing flags when defensive backs interfere with him because he catches the ball anyway.

Steph Curry makes the 3-point shot look like a layup. And what is there to say about LeBron James that hasn’t already been said? The most gifted athlete of our time also gives as much as he gets. Even more that the championship teams he’s been a part of and the individual awards he’s won, James says his greatest accomplishment is the school he’s building in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.

LeBron James knows his greatness lies not in his dunking ability, but using what sports have given him to help the next generation. A student in his school may one day cure cancer, AIDS, help temper the effects of climate change or end world hunger.

Remember, I said this should be the most celebrated time in sports, but it’s not. We’re too angry, jaded and bitter. If our kids don’t star on the team, we want to fight the coach. If the ref doesn’t make the calls for our team we want, we’ll fight them too.

That’s not hyperbole. Assaults against sports officials and coaches are up considerably in recent years. Some parents don’t want anyone correcting their kids. If a coach doesn’t shower their son or daughter with the praise heaped on a king or queen, the parent may pull the kid from the team.

Kids pick up on the animus we have toward other adults. If we don’t respect the coach, why should they? The kid disrespects the coach and the coach doesn’t tell the parent because there’s no support at home. It’s a vicious cycle ending in fewer people enjoying and benefitting from all the positive things sports have to offer.

I challenge every American to wait a minute before taking regrettable actions.

Before you let that four-or-eight-letter word leave your mouth during the game, consider your son or daughter sitting next to you. Before you call the ref that infamous 12-letter word, I implore you to do the same. If/when your child picks up profanity, it won’t be from their favorite rapper. It will be from you.

Is a blown call worth you getting arrested? Wait a minute and think about what you’re going to tell the judge. “Your Honor, the ref cheated us!” If you don’t calm down, I guess the prison basketball team could always use another point guard.

Wait a minute before you yell at the TV during this weekend’s big game. First, it looks crazy. Your team can’t hear you anyway. Yelling at the refs on TV also serves as a sort of dry run for how you’ll treat refs in real-life.

Wait a minute before you pull your kid from the team. If someone is truly mistreating your child, then you must get them away from the negative environment. However, if your conversation with the coach revolves around how much “shine” your kid gets compared to the others, please do us all a favor and have the most comfortable seat you can find.

Referees and coaches are not perfect. They make mistakes, but the overwhelming majority are not malicious figures who wish our kids harm. Wait a minute, take a deep breath and check your behavior.

The state of American sports is strong, but our union need a little work. Sports are meant to be celebrated and enjoyed by all. Respect each other and enjoy all that sports have to offer.

God bless each and every one of you and God bless the United States of America.