Sportsmanship

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Derek Herber (N. Attleboro, Mass.)


It was the ideal ending to a 17-year coaching career, the sort of final curtain call that coaches imagine as their tenure winds down. In the Massachusetts Division 2 boys track and field championships in New Bedford on June 1, North Attleboro High School earned one point in the 4 x 400 relay, the day's final event. Derek Herber had already announced that this would be his last season as coach, and now his team had won its second consecutive state championship, edging runner-up Central Catholic High School, 69-68. Track athlete in starting blocks of relay race

This month's Heroes blog highlights a track and field coach who, instead of capping off a 17-year career with a state championship, ended up retiring with a gesture of true sportsmanship worth its weight in gold.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Bram Miller (Falkville, Ala.)

When Falkville High School's Bram Miller received his gold medal for winning the Class 1A state high jump title on May 2, the public address announcer told everyone in Selma Memorial Stadium that the sophomore had set a state record by clearing 6 feet, 8 inches.

The state title alone was quite an accomplishment because Bram had practiced with the track team full-time for only two weeks since finishing the spring JV baseball season. Setting the state Class 1A record added luster.

When an Alabama high jumper won the state title everyone thought he had set a state record. But he knew better. What he did next made him this month's Youth Sports Hero.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Matthew Marotta (Prince George, British Columbia)

 

On Sunday, February 16, the Nanaimo (B.C.) Clippers edged the Prince George Cougars, 3-2, on a hotly disputed goal in the final moments of a hard-fought double-overtime pee wee hockey tournament game in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The victory moved the Tier I Clippers into fifth place in the 43rd annual Vernon Coca-Cola Invitational.  

When a pee wee hockey team lost in controversial fashion in overtime, the coach decided not to go through the traditional post-game handshake line to congratulate the winners. Except for one player, who shook his head when his head coach called him to leave the ice with the rest of his team.

Youth Sports Heroes (One Year Later): Jonathon Montanez and Mitchell Marcus (El Paso, Tex.)

This column has always followed a "one and done" approach. I  tell an inspiring story, and then seek a new one for the following month. I have never recycled old "heroes" columns because the media provides a steady stream of positive stories for readers who are concerned about values in youth sports.

This column has always followed a "one and done" approach. I tell an inspiring story, and then seek a new one for the following month. I have never recycled old "heroes" columns because the media provides a steady stream of positive stories for readers who are concerned about values in youth sports. But this month's column is different because it revisits the story of Jonathon Montanez and Mitchell Marcus, who were last February's heroes, because the story has not grown old and continues to capture headlines.

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Josh Zuchowski (Jupiter, Fla.)

 

Nine-year-old Josh Zuchowski and ten-year-old Reese Branzell are two of Florida's top swimmers in their age group. In fact, they've usually finished 1-2 in head-to-head matchups for the past three years, and each has a slew of trophies and medals to prove it. Josh Zuchowski and Reese Branzell

Nine-year-old Josh Zuchowski and ten-year-old Reese Branzell are two of Florida's top swimmers in their age group, usually finishing 1-2 in head-to-head matchups for the past three years, each with a slew of trophies and medals to prove it.  On December 7, with his rival Reese still in the hospital with a hip infection, Josh cleaned up at the Santa Claus Invitational, winning five gold medals and the all-around trophy as the meet's high point-getter. But it is what he did next that earned him honors as this month's Youth Sports Hero.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Acts of True Sportsmanship 1200 Miles Apart


In early July, the clock showed less than three minutes to play and coach Brian Murray’s Ellicott Hawks were down by double digits in their Mid American Youth Basketball tournament game in Pueblo, Colorado. With the outcome apparent, the Canutillo (Tex.) Select Junior Varsity put 16-year-old Adrian Martinez into the game for the first time.

Adrian practices hard, but he sees little action in games because his mother says that the coach fears that someone will injure him. She is fine with her son’s limited playing time because “just the simple fact that he sits on the bench with the rest of the team as a player and not just as a manager means a lot to him.”

Fourteen years ago, Adrian Martinez was diagnosed with autism.

Letting a basketball player score points or a wrestler register a pin runs counter to every instinct of athletes who are trained to want to win.  True sportsmen care about the score, and they do not normally let up on the opponent during the game. But true sportsmen also care about respect for the opponent’s dignity, as we find out from Doug Abrams in this month's Youth Sports Heroes.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: FC Brossard (Quebec) U14 AA Soccer Team

 

Ordinarily, teen athletes do not assume the initiative to defend the civil rights of vulnerable minority children. Amid their other activities and interests, teens usually join sports teams to play, and not to take political stands. But when they faced Granby in suburban Montreal on Saturday, June 8, the previously undefeated FC Brossard U14 AA boys soccer team took a stand that helped make life better for dozens of other boys they had never met. FC Brossard soccer team

Teens usually join sports teams to play, and not to take political stands. But when they faced Granby in suburban Montreal on Saturday, June 8, the previously undefeated FC Brossard U14 AA boys soccer team took a stand that helped make life better for dozens of other boys they had never met.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Ethan McConnell and Davan Overton (Oregon); Jonathon Montanez and Mitchell Marcus (Texas)

This month’s spotlight shines on a quartet of high school basketball players who, in two games more than 1,200 miles apart this season, figured in last-second shots that made no difference in the outcome of either game.  With the scores already lopsided, nothing suggested that the few hundred fans or anyone else would remember anything about the games for very long. After the buzzer, however, both shots quickly became YouTube sensations. 

This month’s spotlight shines on a quartet of high school basketball players who, in two games more than 1,200 miles apart this season, figured in last-second shots that made no difference in the outcome of either game. After the buzzer, however, both shots quickly became YouTube sensations.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: Ben Baltz (Valparaiso, Fla.) and Pfc. Matthew Morgan (San Diego, Calif.)

Eleven-year-old Ben Baltz was halfway through the one-mile run, the final event in the Sea Turtle Kids Triathlon at Pensacola Beach, Florida on October 7, 2012. He had already completed the first two events, the 150-yard swim and the four-mile bicycle ride. Now he anticipated crossing the finish line without fanfare.

This was Ben’s third triathlon since early summer, but an unforeseen problem would make this one different.  A bone cancer survivor, the sixth grader had had his right tibia and fibula amputated for osteosarcoma when he was six.  Now, with about a half mile to go, he fell to the track because his prosthetic right leg wobbled and broke when its screws came undone.

When Ben Baltz' prosthetic right leg broke as he was competing in the Sea Turtle Kids Triathlon at Pensacola Beach, Florida, the eleven-year-old cancer survivor was down but not out: a new friend from the nearby Marine base was there to help him finish the race.

Youth Sports Heroes: 12 for 2012

Every month in 2012 MomsTEAM contributing expert Doug Abrams has highlighted a Youth Sports Hero. As he does in December each year, he listed his top five in an article for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Can you guess which ones Doug picked as the top five? Which ones would you pick?
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