Saturday, April 21, 2012

No shortage of sportsmanship in girls lacrosse

One of the great things about the Sportsmanship Brigade is that the experience benefits the volunteers as much as the kids. We get to meet great new kids every week. On Saturday, Brigade members were in attendance for a CYC 7th and 8th grade girls lacrosse match between St. Gerard Majella and St. Michael. The action was fast and furious and both teams scored in bunches early on. Neither defense had an answer for the opposing offense. This back-and-forth lasted until the half when St. Gerard changed its defensive scheme. For those not familiar, girls and women's lacrosse have different rules when it comes to physicality. Girls do not wear helmets and pads like the boys do and are therefore not allowed to body check.

St. Gerard switched to what could be best described as a zone-type defense. While blocking a player's path to the goal may cause a foul, putting two defenders in front of her will make her change directions and take a bad shot. St. Gerard was then able to pull away late for the victory. However, St. Michael is a talented team with young ladies of exceptional character. Never did they allow the scoreboard to dictate their sportsmanship. They showed great energy and had fun throughout. Both teams represented their parishes well. Their parents and coaches should be very proud. Still, Brigade members looked for those players who paid special attention to sportsmanship and took character to heart. They found them in Maya from St. Michael and Katie from St. Gerard.

From L-R: Maya, Big Sol and Katie
The Brigade quickly noticed Katie's energy and passion for her teammates. When she entered the game, she hopped off the bench as if she were shot out of a cannon. Katie tapped all of her teammates sticks yelling, "Let's go!" She played hard and kept an almost permanent smile on her face throughout the game. Easily the heart and soul of her team, even Katie's teammates weren't surprised when she was recognized by the Brigade. Maya's recognition, on the other hand, was based on an act of humility and selflessness. A St. Gerard player made an amazing spin move and scored on Maya. This happened late in the game when St. Gerard was building its lead. Rather than stomp away in frustration or throw some sort of tantrum, Maya jogged over to her opponent and said, "That was a good shot" and rejoined her team on offense.

Maya didn't have to acknowledge what happened, but she humbled herself in the face of adversity. The Brigade was impressed with this show of sportsmanship and saw fit to recognize Maya along with Katie. This was the Brigade's first foray into lacrosse, but it won't be the last. The Sportsmanship Brigade is a group of Sports Commission volunteers who attend youth sporting events looking for acts of good sportsmanship. Athletes, coaches, parents and fans 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. Until next time...

Be a Good Sport!

-Sol