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.

Parents: It’s not about you

I wrote this piece about Landon Collins six years ago. It bears a striking resemblance to what Jacob Copeland went through with his mom on Wednesday. It appears Collins made the right decision. He’s now a safety for the New York Giants and is doing well. Hopefully, the same thing happens for Jacob Copeland.

Geismar (La.) Dutchtown High School safety Landon Collins announced his college choice last week during the Under Armor High School Football All America Game. The New Orleans native had narrowed his decision to two schools – Louisiana State University (LSU) and the University of Alabama. In the video below, Collins discusses the process he went through and ultimately announces his decision.

It’s not about us as adults. This young man has done well enough on and off the field to have his choice of the two schools playing for college football’s national championship. He chose Alabama. So, what? Collins will get an education. His games will be on national television and I’m sure pro scouts already have him on their radar. However, his mother is acting as if someone just stole her bike. She even starts cheering for the school he didn’t choose.

When Dari Nowkhah of ESPN asked Collins about the LSU fan reaction back home, did you catch what he said? “…I guess she’ll still supports me.” While Nowkhah asked about fans in general, Collins’ answer was specific. He only cares that his mom supports him and it’s clear she does not. Other family members come in toward the end to hug him, but the hurt on the young man’s face is evident. Parents, it’s about what’s best for the kids. Whether they’re playing Division I football or they’re the back-up linebacker on their middle school team, we are the support system.

Never should a kid feel alone when sitting next to his mother. Our kids should always feel like they are the greatest gift we were ever given.  I’ve heard parents say they’d run through a brick wall for their son or daughter. Well, sometimes they don’t need that. Sometimes, they just need a hug.


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?