Sportsmanship Scholarship Class of 2018: Imanté Griffin

The Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship is presented annually to graduating high school seniors from the St. Louis metro area who embody outstanding sportsmanship.  Administered by the St. Louis Sports Commission Associates – the Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the scholarship recognizes individuals who exemplify honesty, integrity, civility, selflessness, kindness, compassion and class in athletic competition.  Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field.  Athletic performance (wins and other stats) does not factor in the selection – making the scholarship unique.

The Associates launched the Sportsmanship Scholarship in 2009.  The group raises funds for the program and selects its recipients.  In nine years, the Associates have awarded $92,500 in academic scholarships to 31 college-bound students.  The scholarship program is part of the Sports Commission’s efforts to promote and encourage sportsmanship in the community.

Congratulations the winners of the 2018 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship – Catherine Arnold, Imanté Griffin, Madelyn Hubbs, Connor Kingsland, and Mary LaBelle. Help us celebrate sportsmanship by nominating a deserving student who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and character in athletic competition. The submission packet and application for next year’s scholarship will be available in January 2019. For more details, call 314-345-5130 or email salexander@stlsports.org.

IMANTÉ GRIFFIN

Cardinal Ritter College Prep

Imanté Griffin is an excellent football and baseball player, but an even better person. Brandon Gregory, Cardinal Ritter’s head football coach said of his senior captain, “In all my dealings with Imanté, he has shown himself to be a young man of integrity, intelligence, and talent. He has displayed the leadership and work ethic that every coach hopes for from his top players.” Imanté’s track record of sacrifice and selflessness on the field is one to be both admired and modeled. An opposing player was suffering from muscle cramps and had forgotten his receiving gloves. Not only did Imanté give his opponent a bottle of Gatorade, he gave him his extra pair of gloves, too.

Before another game, an opposing receiver, who also happened to be a rival’s best player, needed a ride to the game. Instead of leaving his opponent stranded, Imanté gave him a ride to the game. The young man scored the game-winning touchdown for the rival school. Imanté sometimes endured criticism from teammates for his selfless behavior but Coach Gregory put things in perspective. “These [disagreements] did not stop Imanté from pulling his teammates back together. Imanté has a little brother watching him. Therefore, it is essential for him to set an example for spectators and younger players.” Imanté will continue his education at Mid-America Nazarene University.

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Sportsmanship Scholarship Class of 2018: Madelyn Hubbs

The Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship is presented annually to graduating high school seniors from the St. Louis metro area who embody outstanding sportsmanship.  Administered by the St. Louis Sports Commission Associates – the Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the scholarship recognizes individuals who exemplify honesty, integrity, civility, selflessness, kindness, compassion and class in athletic competition.  Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field.  Athletic performance (wins and other stats) does not factor in the selection – making the scholarship unique.

The Associates launched the Sportsmanship Scholarship in 2009.  The group raises funds for the program and selects its recipients.  In nine years, the Associates have awarded $92,500 in academic scholarships to 31 college-bound students.  The scholarship program is part of the Sports Commission’s efforts to promote and encourage sportsmanship in the community.

Congratulations the winners of the 2018 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship – Catherine Arnold, Imanté Griffin, Madelyn Hubbs, Connor Kingsland, and Mary LaBelle. Help us celebrate sportsmanship by nominating a deserving student who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and character in athletic competition. The submission packet and application for next year’s scholarship will be available in January 2019. For more details, call 314-345-5130 or email salexander@stlsports.org.

MADELYN HUBBS

Pattonville High School

Pattonville High School’s senior swimming and water polo captain overcomes a tremendous challenge with humility and strength each time she gets in the pool. Madelyn was born without her left arm, but this has not stopped her from giving her best in and out of the pool. A meet during her junior year presented the greatest challenge of her athletic career. Madelyn swam the butterfly in the 200-meter medley relay for her team. She saw the official raise his hand before her leg of the relay began, usually the signal for a disqualification. Unsure if the ruling affected her, Madelyn kept swimming and posted a personal best time, giving her team what would have been a third place finish. But her initial instincts proved to be correct. Madelyn had been disqualified because she could not touch both hands to the wall on her relay turn.

Anna Braswell, Pattonville’s swim coach, explained, “Due to the fact that I didn’t have the proper exemption to the rule paperwork filed with the state director for swimming, she was disqualified from her race. Madelyn handled this situation respectfully and maturely and politely asked the official and myself how to file paperwork correctly so this wouldn’t happen again.” Given the circumstances, Madelyn showed remarkable composure. Added Coach Braswell, “Madelyn is a humble athlete who continuously displays sportsmanship. She is an excellent advocate and leader for all students and especially students with disabilities.” Madelyn will continue her education at Maryville University.

Sportsmanship Scholarship Class of 2018: Connor Kingsland

The Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship is presented annually to graduating high school seniors from the St. Louis metro area who embody outstanding sportsmanship.  Administered by the St. Louis Sports Commission Associates – the Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the scholarship recognizes individuals who exemplify honesty, integrity, civility, selflessness, kindness, compassion and class in athletic competition.  Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field.  Athletic performance (wins and other stats) does not factor in the selection – making the scholarship unique.

The Associates launched the Sportsmanship Scholarship in 2009.  The group raises funds for the program and selects its recipients.  In nine years, the Associates have awarded $92,500 in academic scholarships to 31 college-bound students.  The scholarship program is part of the Sports Commission’s efforts to promote and encourage sportsmanship in the community.

Congratulations the winners of the 2018 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship – Catherine Arnold, Imanté Griffin, Madelyn Hubbs, Connor Kingsland, and Mary LaBelle. Help us celebrate sportsmanship by nominating a deserving student who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and character in athletic competition. The submission packet and application for next year’s scholarship will be available in January 2019. For more details, call 314-345-5130 or email salexander@stlsports.org.

CONNOR KINGSLAND

Lindbergh High School

Lindbergh High senior Connor Kingsland was gearing up for the state cross country meet when he made eye contact with Jared Neikirk, a runner from Cape Central whom he had competed against before. Connor went on to describe the unusual, yet life-changing interaction between him and his fellow competitor. “About half way through [the race], he passed me, fast…like it was nothing for him. With 100 meters left in the race, I was trying to give it that last kick when I saw a guy just standing in the middle of the course, almost stumbling, hardly able to move his legs. Without thinking, I ran up to him and grabbed him. I realized then it was Jared. I said quietly to him, ‘Let’s finish this race together.’ When I grabbed him, both he and I got enough strength to finish the state cross country meet.” Connor’s cross country coach, James Petersen, talked about the impact of his grand gesture. “This was a very proud moment for his parents and me as a coach, having an athlete who is considerate and supportive of others all throughout the season and even in the heat of the highest level of competition.” Connor will continue his education at Western State Colorado University.

 

Sportsmanship Scholarship Class of 2018: Mary LaBelle

The Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship is presented annually to graduating high school seniors from the St. Louis metro area who embody outstanding sportsmanship.  Administered by the St. Louis Sports Commission Associates – the Sports Commission’s young professionals group – the scholarship recognizes individuals who exemplify honesty, integrity, civility, selflessness, kindness, compassion and class in athletic competition.  Candidates are evaluated strictly on their approach, character and respect for others on the playing field.  Athletic performance (wins and other stats) does not factor in the selection – making the scholarship unique.

The Associates launched the Sportsmanship Scholarship in 2009.  The group raises funds for the program and selects its recipients.  In nine years, the Associates have awarded $92,500 in academic scholarships to 31 college-bound students.  The scholarship program is part of the Sports Commission’s efforts to promote and encourage sportsmanship in the community.

Congratulations the winners of the 2018 Carl Fricks Sportsmanship Scholarship – Catherine Arnold, Imanté Griffin, Madelyn Hubbs, Connor Kingsland, and Mary LaBelle. Help us celebrate sportsmanship by nominating a deserving student who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship and character in athletic competition. The submission packet and application for next year’s scholarship will be available in January 2019. For more details, call 314-345-5130 or email salexander@stlsports.org.

MARY LABELLE

St. Joseph’s Academy

For Mary LaBelle, sportsmanship means “acknowledging the other team’s success and talent, respecting the referees and the game, and keeping my attitude classy.” With this perspective in mind, Mary has amassed an impressive body of work during her athletic career at St. Joseph’s Academy where she is the captain of the varsity basketball team. Her reputation is one of helping up a fallen opponent, not being obnoxious during team celebrations, and not arguing with referees over questionable calls. Mary’s positive attitude extends beyond the court and to all aspects of the game.

St. Joseph’s head basketball coach Julie Matheny said, “I can recall a game at Villa Duchesne, when the game was over, Mary was the player picking up all the cups from under the bench, put the chairs back on the rack and just making sure our visitors area was clean and presentable. The AD from Villa was astounded by Mary’s attention to detail and doing the right thing. She was the captain that led by example not by words. She is the player that chases the balls down for the ref, even if they made a bad call.” Mary will continue her education at Kansas State University.

Who is The Sportsmanship Guy?

My name is Solomon Alexander and I’m The Sportsmanship Guy. My official title is Foundation Director at the St. Louis Sport Commission. This is my 11th year with the organization. Before that, I taught for 10 years at Lift For Life Academy in St. Louis City.

I have a bachelor’s degree from Rockhurst University. I have an earned master’s degree from Walden University. I grew up in St. Louis City and attended several SLPS schools before entering the Voluntary Transfer Program for high school. I graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in 1994.

I am a devoted husband to my loving wife of 17 years and father to the most awesome teenager the world has ever seen.

I work for the Sports Commission because I want to make a difference in my community. I want kids to have safe, fun, nurturing places to play their chosen sport. I want parents and coaches to have the tools necessary to make sure their kids have the best sports experience possible.

Sportsmanship is the concept I’m using to make this happen. Join me, won’t you?

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.”